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Releases: Expanded View

Nov 3 2008

Regional Attractions Open Up The Skies To Amateur Space Explorers In Town For The Only-In-Philly Galileo Exhibit

Philly’s More Fun During The International Year of Astronomy

Visitors in Philadelphia for Galileo, The Medici and The Age of Astronomy, appearing only at The Franklin Institute Science Museum only in 2009 (April 4 through September 7), will find the region loaded with places that provide a greater knowledge of the stars. Not only can visitors enjoy Galileo-inspired lectures and family-friendly workshops at The Franklin, they can also check out the region’s many space marvels, including planetariums, star-gazing parties and other after-dark activities during the International Year of Astronomy. Here’s a look:

About Space At The Franklin:

  • The extensively renovated Joel N. Bloom Observatory on the rooftop of The Franklin is open to visitors daily (weather permitting) during museum hours. But on the second Thursday of each month, Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts guides visitors through Night Skies in the Observatory. Participants experience one of the world’s only examples of a cutting-edge Zeiss refractor, which allows them to view objects in the sky with uncanny digital accuracy, as well as objects normally too faint to observe.
  • Several space shows are in permanent rotation for display on the 60-foot, four-story dome ceiling at The Franklin’s Fels Planetarium, celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2008. And every second Wednesday, the Rittenhouse Astronomical Society hosts free public lessons about space at 7:30 p.m.
  • On permanent view at The Franklin, Space Command includes 30 hands-on activities that explore the history, uniforms, technology and equipment of space exploration. Budding astronauts can locate their homes using a satellite home-tracking device or embark on a mission to find a lost space probe.
  • On April 23 during The Franklin Institute Awards, The Franklin Institute will present the 2009 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science and its $250,000 prize to a leading astronomy researcher. The grand black-tie gala will conclude a week-long celebration of science, featuring lectures, symposia and other educational opportunities for audiences ranging from school children to scholars.

Outside In: Planetarium Power:

  • Every second Friday night during the school year, the West Chester University Department of Geology & Astronomy hosts a free show open to the public inside its planetarium at Schmucker Science Center. Each hour-long show includes an overview of what is visible in the current night sky and a special focus on an aspect of astronomy. Reservations required. Church Street between University & Rosedale Avenues, West Chester, (610) 436-2788,
  • On most weekends, the Julia Fowler Planetarium at Eastern University plays space-centric planetarium shows for the public on its new digital full-dome projector, one of only 30 such installations in the world. Past shows have included Astronaut, Star of Bethlehem and Emmy-nominated children’s-program-turned-science-show The Zula Patrol: Under the Weather. 1300 Eagle Road, St. Davids, (610) 341-1390,

Observing the Night Sky:

  • The Advanced Technology Center Observatory and Observational Deck at Montgomery County Community College hosts free community nights once a month from March through November. On certain nights, professors bring out some special treats—a Coronado 40 mm Solar Telescope and other Coronado Personal Solar Telescopes to allow as many hands-on experiences as possible. 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, (215) 641-6300,
  • If the sky is clear on the second Tuesday of each month, Swarthmore College opens Sproul Observatory to the general public for an hour beginning at 8:00 p.m. (9:00 DST). 500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, (610) 957-6335,
  • Members of the public can take advantage of Villanova University’s observatory from 7:00-9:00 p.m. (8:00-10:00 p.m. DST) every Monday through Thursday when classes are in session. The observatory boasts a weather station and image-processing facilities, and visitors can use the 12-inch Meade telescope. Mendel Hall, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, (610) 519-4820,

Partying With the Stars:

  • On one Saturday night per month from March through November, the public can join the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomical Society for a “star party.” Gazers use the society’s telescopes and binoculars to catch a glimpse of distant constellations, galaxies and planets. The free star parties are held at Valley Forge National Historical Park’s model airplane field, and they run from sunset until 11:00 p.m.
  • The Chester County Astronomical Society hosts free monthly observing sessions in the Myrick Conservation Center. The sessions, which are planned around the new moon, are open to the public, with telescopes and binoculars available for loan. 1760 Unionville-Wawaset Road, West Chester,
  • Every August during the weekend closest to the new moon, the Chesmont Astronomical Society hosts StarFest, a free public star party in Warwick Park. Guests can get their hands on more than 70 telescopes, listen to guest speakers, win door prizes and see a meteorite display. During the society’s monthly parties at French Creek State Park, observers watch a sunset transform into a star-laced sky and view planets and star clusters through telescopes and live-view star cameras. 675 Park Road, Downingtown,
  • The Bucks-Mont Astronomical Association hosts free StarWatches for members of the public between March and November. Web site lists dates and locations.
  • Located in the north central part of the state, Cherry Springs State Park is home to Pennsylvania’s first official Dark Sky Park and the flagship park for the National Public Observatory’s Stars-N-Parks Program. Their star-gazing weekends feature guest lectures, public star gazing and astronomy equipment vendors. Dates for 2009 will be determined based upon the astrological calendar for the year. PA 44, Potter County, (814) 435-5010,

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases business and promotes the region’s vitality.

For more information about travel to Philadelphia, visit or, where you can build itineraries; search event calendars; see photos and videos; view interactive maps; sign up for newsletters; listen to HearPhilly, an online radio station about what to see and do in the region; book hotel reservations and more. Or, call the Independence Visitor Center, located in Historic Philadelphia, at (800) 537-7676.

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Related Releases

Sep 28 2015

Festivals, Events & Exhibitions For LGBT Travelers To Philadelphia This Fall & Winter

OutFest And A New Cabaret Series Make Autumn Awesome For Gay And Lesbian Travelers To Philadelphia

A welcoming and diverse destination that celebrates its LGBT pride every day, Philadelphia offers a range of cultural and social events perfect for gay and lesbian travelers this fall. Highlights: OutFest, the world’s largest National Coming Out Day festival; The RRazz Room at the Prince Theater, a series featuring renowned cabaret talent; and Opera on the Mall’s presentation of La Traviata. As the temperatures cool down, the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus and the storied Mummers Parade usher in the holiday season and the New Year.

LGBT Festivals & Celebrations:

  • Philadelphia’s official LGBT community center, the William Way LGBT
Sep 28 2015

15 Reasons To Come Back To Philadelphia After The Pope

Post-Pope: Cheesesteak Festival, Alice In Wonderland & One Liberty Observation Deck

After Pope Francis thrilled visitors in Philadelphia, the city is still brimming with energy and excitement. Now it’s the jam-packed, something-for-everybody event calendar that has people buzzing.

The unfortunate few who have never tried a cheesesteak can join locals as they nibble and nosh their way through the first-ever Cheesesteak Festival. The opening of the new One Liberty Observation Deck will inspire the photographer in everyone who views the city from 57 floors high. The returns of the exciting Army-Navy Game and the spectacular Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts bring in the sports and art crowds. Another reason to

Sep 28 2015

T.G.I.O. (Thank Goodness It's October) In Philadelphia

20+ Big Festivals, Exhibit Openings And Frightful Celebrations Make For Five Awesome Weekends

October in Philadelphia delivers a feast of festivals that focus on art, design, autumn and family fun.

The aesthetically inclined can indulge in The Philadelphia Collection, DesignPhiladelphia and two weekends of Philadelphia Open Studio Tours. Wizards and muggles will rub elbows at the magical Harry Potter Festival, while scream queens and kings can get their scare on at Eastern State Penitentiary’s lauded Terror Behind the Walls and Laurel Hill Cemetery’s True Tales from the Tomb. Even the city’s beloved culinary invention gets its very own salute in the first-ever Philadelphia Cheesesteak Festival.

Here are the highlights of five October weekends

Sep 17 2015

Philadelphia's Food Scene Catches Francis Fever

Local Chefs And Brewers Create Pope-Inspired Specialty Items

The crowds who gather in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families and the much-anticipated visit by Pope Francis will find sustenance more delectable than loaves and fishes. Inspired by this once-in-a-generation event, many of the city’s restaurateurs, brewers and purveyors are offering specially created dishes and items to honor the Holy Father, his Argentinian heritage and his Italian roots. Pilgrims can savor the humorously named Pope-Hat Pasta, nibble on cross-shaped Philly soft pretzels and wash them down with a pint of refreshing YOPO (You Only Pope Once) ale.

Here are some spots serving up victuals in the Vatican spirit:

Sep 11 2015

Best Way To Experience Pope Francis' Visit To Philadelphia? Stay In A Hotel.

Fun & Inspiring Events, Variety Of Hotel Rates & Plenty Of Resources To Help Plan

With Pope Francis’ visit and the Francis Festival just two weeks away (September 26 and 27), Philadelphia is ready to welcome locals and visitors to enjoy this once-in-a-generation event. To experience it in the most comfortable and convenient way possible, city officials and hospitality leaders are encouraging everyone to book a long weekend stay in a Center City hotel. As an added benefit and to encourage return visitation, those checking into city hotels on Friday or Saturday will receive two free tickets to the One Liberty Observation Deck, opening in November. Hotels are bookable at

(Note: The city

Sep 1 2015

Look Toward Heaven: Pope Billboards Build Excitement For Papal Visit

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® Uses With Love Campaign To Welcome World Meeting of Families And The Pope

Four area billboards featuring larger-than-life images of Pope Francis welcome the pope and pilgrims to Philadelphia for World Meeting of Families (WMOF) and the papal visit. The creative ads are part of VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s With Love, Philadelphia XOXO® campaign.

“This is an uplifting time for Philadelphia, and we want to celebrate that in our campaign,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA. “People will be telling their children about Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia for years to come; this is an historic event, and it deserves to be showcased.”

Billboard Lines & Locations:

My Phillyosophy: Great cities

Aug 27 2015

Destination Resource Guide For Media

World Meeting Of Families & Pope’s Visit In Philadelphia, September 21-27

For a downloadable and printable PDF of this guide, click here.


Dear Media Friend,

Welcome to the City of Brotherly Love for the World Meeting of Families!

During the week ahead, we know you have many stories to file, and we hope this primarily Center City-focused guide will assist you in covering and enjoying the destination itself. We also hope you will take some time to explore our beloved region on your own. In this small but information-packed guide, we give you the scoop on:

  • Our city’s founding and layout
  • Must-do suggestions for families and first-timers

En Español

Aug 18 2015

Hispanic Heritage Month In Philadelphia Brings A Feast Of Fiestas

Exhibits, Festivals & Parades Highlight The Month In Hispanic Happenings

Visitors don’t have to dig deep to find lots to do during Hispanic Heritage Month festivities (September 15-October 15). Festivities are on tap for the groundbreaking of El Corazon Cultural Center, Taller Puertorriqueño’s long-awaited community arts center. Plus, revelers can catch the party spirit at Penn’s Landing’s Mexican Independence Day Festival and the Puerto Rican Day Parade on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. For event updates, follow @PhillyTeAma on Twitter for all of Philly’s Hispanic Heritage Month happenings.

Parties, Parades & Festivals:

  • It’s all Mexico, all day—food, music, dancing and crafts—during the annual Mexican Independence Day Festival at Penn’s Landing.
Jun 18 2015

Philadelphia Rocks The Fourth With 48 Hours Of Fun

National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration Adds Rainbow Colors To Red, White & Blue Festivities

As the calendar zooms towards Independence Day, Philadelphia, where the nation was born 239 years ago, revs up for a full week of flag-waving, heart-swelling, hand-clapping, patriotic fun. The annual Wawa Welcome America! celebration lasts for an entire week, and come Friday, July 3, the revelry really picks up with 48 hours of fun. That means patriotic ceremonies, parades, concerts, fireworks and festivities that mark the 50th anniversary of a protest demonstration that laid the groundwork for LGBT civil rights. Here’s a look at what’s happening on July 3 and 4:

July 3:

  1. Visitors are free to celebrate
Jun 11 2015

#Visitphilly Photo Spots Pop Up All Over Philly This Summer

Fun Structures Encourage People To Snap & Share Philly Photos On Social Media

XOXO marks the spot this summer in Philadelphia thanks to seven fun #visitphilly Photo Spots located at highly trafficked and iconic areas throughout the city. From June 11 through September 30, 2015, locals and the millions of visitors in town for summer vacations and special events are encouraged to snap photos with these structures, tag them #visitphilly and share them on social media. These instructions will appear at each structure and on ground graphics found at other great photo opportunities around town such as the Rocky statue. An initiative of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, the summer-long promotion ties into the organization’s