Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

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. rittenhouseastronomicalsociety.org
  • 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, wcupa.edu
  • 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, eastern.edu

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, mc3.edu
  • 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, swarthmore.edu
  • 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, villanova.edu/artsci/astronomy

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. dvaa.org
  • 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, ccas.us
  • 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, chesmontastro.org
  • The Bucks-Mont Astronomical Association hosts free StarWatches for members of the public between March and November. Web site lists dates and locations. bma2.org
  • 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, dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/cherrysprings.aspx

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 gophila.com or uwishunu.com, 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.

Contact(s):
  • E-mail
Tagged: Events

Related Releases

Oct 31 2014

How To Celebrate The Holidays In Philadelphia

New Attractions, A Festive Phlash Route & Tax-Free Shopping, For Starters

There’s plenty to do in Philadelphia from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day—both traditional favorites such as the Macy’s Christmas Light Show and fun new additions like the skating rink at City Hall’s Dilworth Park. Add in great new shops and tax-free shopping, a new nighttime shuttle service to popular holiday attractions and the in-demand Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package (car stays free) for a holiday experience that’s sure to leave lasting memories.

Here’s how to do the holidays in Philadelphia and The Countryside®:

What To Do: New & Classic Musts:
Philadelphia is adding plenty of sparkle to this year’s

...
Oct 27 2014

Mummers 101: The Scoop On Philly's New Year's Day Tradition

New Route, New Direction, New Judging, Same Awesome Time

New Year’s Day is about celebrating, and there’s no better place to fete than at Philadelphia’s Mummers Parade, a 115-year-old tradition in which 10,000 men, women and children dressed in colorfully lavish costumes twirl, sashay, pirouette and strut down one of the city’s main streets. This year, the Mummers are making some changes to the nation’s oldest folk parade. That means a shorter route, marching in a different direction (north to south), judging at the start of the parade instead of at the end and performances that run the length of the route and not just in certain locations. Parade

...
Oct 20 2014

The Towns Of The Philadelphia Countryside Celebrate The Holiday Season In Style

Light Displays, Decorated Gardens & Family Activities Help Make Seasonal Memories

The Towns of the Philadelphia Countryside sparkle with seasonal events and activities—from the glittering lights at Longwood Gardens to North Pole-themed rides on the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad. Add in elegantly decorated historic houses, winter festivals and seasonal performances for a memory-filled holiday season.

Find top holiday events, a holiday lights roundup, New Year’s Eve and Day guides and more at visitphilly.com/holidays.

Lovely Lights & Dazzling Displays:

  • While holiday shopping at Peddler’s Village, visitors can check out the Annual Gingerbread House Competition and Display. Participants compete in a variety of categories, including traditional and authentic reproduction of
...
Oct 16 2014

Backgrounder: Eco-friendly Philadelphia

Obsession For The Environment Takes Over The City Of Brotherly Love

Philadelphia’s Bike Share program, to begin in spring 2015, is just the latest news in the city’s eco-friendly efforts. Long a pioneer in the environmental movement, Philadelphia is attracting increasing global attention for efforts to become a leader in urban sustainability. Attractions, organizations and the city itself hold prestigious designations, including a major award from the Environmental Protection Agency. Not to be outdone, the region’s service amenities and modes of transportation are also advancing the green revolution.

Here’s a look at Philadelphia’s green cred:

Eco-Events:

  • The Clean Air Council’s 5K Run for Clean Air is Philadelphia’s largest Earth Day
...
Sep 25 2014

Philadelphia Marks 2015 With New Exhibits, Anniversaries & More

Tall Ships, World Meeting Of Families, Alice In Wonderland & Other Events Dot The Calendar

With 2015 comes plenty of reasons for visitors to plan a trip to Philadelphia. In fact, only-in-Philly projects, exhibitions, anniversaries and celebrations will give first-time visitors incentives to make that return trip and return visitors reasons to come back yet again.

So what’s on the calendar? The Tall Ships Challenge Philadelphia Camden 2015, showing off a dozen historic ships on the Delaware River Waterfront; Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting, featuring more than 80 works by a who’s who of painters at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and a special exhibition at The Rosenbach of the Free

...
Sep 18 2014

Philadelphia's Literary Legacy Makes For A Novel Visit

Visitors Can Get Their Read On At Authors’ Homes, Independent Book Stores & During The 150th Anniversary Celebration Of Alice In Wonderland

Literary roots run deep in Philadelphia, a city that has inspired countless authors and continues to nurture their legacies. Throughout the region, lovers of literature can connect with such classic authors as Poe, Whitman and Michener in the places where they lived, worked and created some of their most celebrated works. And with so many libraries, book collections and indie bookstores, literature lovers can delve deeper into the collected works of these and other favorite authors.

Of special note, 2015 marks the 150th anniversary since Alice first fell down the rabbit hole. To mark the sesquicentennial of Lewis Carroll’s

...
Sep 10 2014

What's Impressive About Philadelphia's Impressionism Collections?

A Major Paul Durand-Ruel Exhibit At The Philadelphia Museum of Art In 2015, Plus Works By Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Cassatt & Others Around Town

In summer 2015, after stints at the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris and the National Gallery in London, an even larger version of the Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting exhibition will make its way to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for its only U.S. showing. On display from June through September 2015, this groundbreaking exhibit will showcase more than 80 impressionist works by some of the genre’s most significant artists: Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas and Alfred Sisley, all supported by the Parisian art dealer Durand-Ruel. While Discovering the Impressionists is

...
Aug 27 2014

Holidays In Philadelphia: New Celebrations & Can't-Miss Classics

Winterfest Returns For The Whole Season And The Famous Mummers Take A New Route

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—especially in Philly, where iconic traditions and new festivities add sparkle to the season. Highlights: Last year’s blockbuster attraction, Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, returns to Penn’s Landing for an extended run; a new alfresco ice skating rink enters the scene at Dilworth Park; and the famous Mummers Parade tries out a new, spectator-friendly route. Of course, the calendar is packed with favorites such as Macy’s Christmas Light Show and New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront.

Find top holiday events, a holiday lights roundup, New Year’s Eve and Day guides and more at

...
Aug 27 2014

2015 Annual Events In Philadelphia

So Much To Do For Any Kind Of Trip, Any Kind Of Interest

Festivals, athletic events, art shows, parades and cultural events keeps art lovers, garden enthusiasts, film connoisseurs, music aficionados and sports fans keep coming back to Philadelphia year after year. Here’s what’s going on in the region in 2015:

January:

  • Thousands of decorative strutters kick off the New Year by marching along Broad Street in the festive daylong Mummers Parade. One of the five Mummers divisions, the Fancy Brigades put on two elaborate Broadway-style performances for ticket holders at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. January 1. phillymummers.com

February:

  • The region gets revved for the Philadelphia Auto Show. The Pennsylvania Convention
...
Aug 14 2014

Halloween Hauntings In Philadelphia

High-Tech Haunted Houses, Cemetery Tours & Creepy Cruises Are More Treat Than Trick

While rumors persist year-round of real ghosts and goblins inhabiting some of Philadelphia’s most historic sites, it’s during Halloween season when other-worldly creatures emerge from all corners of the region to make it a happily haunted time of year. Families with wee ones get gentle thrills at the Philadelphia Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo and Morris Arboretum’s Scarecrow Walk. And for serious thrill-seekers, several of the area’s haunted houses (think Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary) have earned acclaim for their Hollywood-quality special effects, animatronics, pyrotechnics and teams of horrifically talented professional actors.

Here are some spots that

...