What To Do: Easter Weekend offers lots of activities

Brunch, zombies, point-to-point and more for your holiday fun

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

This is Easter Weekend.

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Ride the rails with the Easter Bunny this weekend on the West Chester Railroad.

But, you don’t need to be told that because every store has an abundance of Easter candy displays, markets are touting sale prices on Easter hams and department stores are hawking Easter outfits in a big way.

No-one will let you forget that this is Easter Weekend — especially the retailers.

The Easter Bunny is also there to remind you. This weekend, the Big Bunny is an omnipresent force. He’ll be making guest appearances at Easter Egg hunts everywhere. He’ll be dining with fans at special Easter Brunches and he’ll be riding special excursion trains with his loyal followers.

The West Chester Railroad (Market Street, West Chester, 610-430-2233, www.westchesterrr.net) is running a special Easter Bunny Express on April 4. Trains will depart from the Market Street Station at noon and 2 p.m. and from the Glen Mills station at 12:45 p.m.

Entertainment on the trains will be provided by banjoist Greg Wright and Friends along with the Easter Bunny, who will be giving treats to all the kids. Adult fare is $22 while children (ages 2-12) get to ride for $16 and toddlers (ages 9-23 months) are $6.

The Easter Bunny will also be in Delaware for trips on the Wilmington and Western Railroad (Greenbank Station, 2201 Newport-Gap Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-998-1930, www.wwrr.com) on April 3 and 4. On the special trains, the big bunny with the big ears will visit with all passengers and pose for pictures.

Departure times are 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. and fares are $18 for adults, $17 for seniors (ages 60 and older) and $16 for children (ages 2-12). As an added attraction, every child on the excursion trains will receive a special treat from the Easter Bunny.

The New Hope and Ivyland Railroad (32 West Bridge Street, New Hope, 215-862-2332, www.newhoperailroad.com) is running its annual Easter Bunny Express now through April 5 with departures at 11 a.m., noon, 1,2,3 and 4 p.m. each day.

The Easter Bunny is going to ride onboard the train where he will visit with each child, hand out special treats and pose for pictures. Coach tickets are $28.95 for adults, $26.95 for children (ages 2-11) and $11.95 for toddlers (under 2).

At the Strasburg Rail Road (Rt. 741 East, Strasburg, 717-687-7522, www.strasburgrailroad.com), the special Easter Bunny Train will be running April 3, 4 and 5 with departures starting at 11 a.m. each day.

The Easter Bunny will meet and greet all the kids on each train and have a special treat for all of them. Coach fares are $17 for adults, $11 for children (ages 3-11) and $3 for toddlers (under 3).

The Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad (717-944-4435, www.mhrailroad.com) will be running its Easter Bunny Express on April 3 and 4 at 1:30 p.m. each day.

Fares for the ride are $16 (ages 12 and older), $11 (ages 2-11) and $3 (under age 2 and on lap). The Easter Bunny will have a sweet treat for every child. Reservations are recommended.

On April 3 and 4, there will be a special event called “Hayrides to Bunnyland” at Linvilla Orchards (137 West Knowlton Road, Media, 610-876-7116, www.linvilla.com).

The “Hayride to Bunny’s House” features a ride in a hay-filled trailer that travels around Linvilla’s grounds and eventually arrives at the house of Linvilla’s Easter Bunny. He will pose for pictures with his guests and offer tours of his home. There will also be a storytelling session and seasonal treats for all visitors.

“Hayrides to Bunnyland” run every 15 minutes from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets, which are $8 per person, can be purchased in the Garden Center.

Linvilla Orchard’s “Fore! The Planet” is a highly interactive and playful museum exhibit created by the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. This exhibition, which is open until April 4, pairs important environmental issues with the fun of miniature golf.

It features 18 unique educational holes on a variety of topics — butterfly metamorphosis, a tropical rainforest, evolution, dinosaur extinction, food chains and more. Kids of all ages can enjoy playing miniature golf while learning about our environment on every hole.

The mini-course is open daily from 9 a.m. -5 p.m. Tickets are $6.95 (ages 11 and over) and $4.95 (ages 10 and under).

An always-popular annual Easter tradition is the Easter Parade on South Street in Philadelphia (www.southstreet.com).  This year, the 84th Annual Philadelphia Easter Promenade will be held on April 5 from 12:30-2 p.m.

The event will feature Mr. and Mrs. Peter Cottontail, the Easter Bunny and the Philadelphia Freedom band as well as contests for best-dressed children and adults and best Easter bonnet.

There will be another parade on South Street later in the day on April 5.

2015PhillyZombieCrawl-801x1024This Easter marks the 10th anniversary of the Philly Zombie Crawl. Participants are invited to join at Starr Garden (6th and Lombard Sts) around 5 p.m. to begin our annual celebration.

At 5:30 p.m., the parade/crawl will step off onto Sixth Street and crawl to South Street, where it will make a left and crawl down to Third Street. Organizers are encouraging zombies to gather as packs (four or more zombies under one unified theme qualify for a Zombie Pack) and they will award prizes to the Best Zombie Packs of the Parade. Behind the Zombie Packs will be the Zombie Hoard – zombies of all shapes and sizes.

There are several top-caliber Easter Brunches in the area including ones at Winterthur and Longwood Gardens.

easter brunch at winterthurWinterthur Museum, Garden & Library (Route 52 just south of the Pennsylvania state line, Wilmington, Delaware, 800-448-3883, http://www.winterthur.org) will host “Easter Brunch with the Bunny” on April 4 and 5 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. each day and the Easter Bunny will make several appearances both days starting at 9 a.m.

Some of the featured menu items are Frittata with Asparagus, Leek, Fontina and New Potatoes; Savory Chive and Smoked Salmon Tartlets with Dill Crème Fraiche; Carved Honey-Clove Baked Ham with Mini Rosemary Biscuits, Ginger Applesauce; Sweet Pea, Mint, and House Smoked Salmon Farfalle Salad; Mushroom Ravioli with Portobello Asiago Cream, Peas, and Asparagus; Stuffed Brioche French Toast with Nutella, Almonds, and Cinnamon Crème Brule Crust; and Roasted Asparagus Salad with Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette and Gigante Beans.

Tickets are $49.95 for adults and 29.95 for children. Reservations are required.

The Easter Buffet at Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) will be held on April 4 with seatings every half hour from 1-5 p.m. and April 5 with seatings every half hour from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The cost is $60 for adults and $32 for children (ages 5-11). Ticket price includes Gardens Admission and reservations are required.

The Main Buffet Menu includes Longwood Gardens Signature Mushroom Soup; Arugula, Strawberry, Mango, Onion & Pecan Salad; Risotto Primavera, Tomato Fennel Broth; Roasted Baby Vegetables; Tri-Color Roasted Potatoes; Roasted Salmon, Artichoke Bruschetta; Honey Roasted Leg of Lamb; Rosemary Demi-Glace; and Dijon Maple Glazed Ham.

The Brunch Selection includes French Toast Bread Pudding, Blueberry Compote; Swiss Chard, Ham & Gruyere Cheese Frittata; Bacon; Sausage Patties; Home Fries and Tropical Fruit Salad.

There will also be an Omelet Station, a Southern Grit Station,  a Kids Station, a Dessert Station, a Beverage Station and a Candy Station with a variety of candies for guests to enjoy there and take home.

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The Spring Bloom exhibit is now open at Longwood Gardens.

Longwood’s “Orchid Extravaganza” opened in January and concluded last Sunday. Now through Saturday, Longwood is hosting its own “Orchid Extravaganza Orchid Sale.”

Visitors to Longwood will be able to purchase orchids taken directly from the site’s “Orchid Extravaganza” display — while supplies last. The sale will take place in the Garden Shop and the Visitor Center

“Orchid Extravaganza” paid homage to the orchid with thousands of orchid blooms along with a variety of displays and special exhibits throughout its conservatory. The remaining beauties from the show will be on sale April 3 and 4 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Another seasonal attraction at Longwood Gardens is “Spring Blooms,” which just opened and is running through May 23.

Visitors can enjoy hundreds of lush acres featuring burgeoning gardens of daffodils, tulips, magnolias, azaleas, flowering cherries and more than 240,000 flowering bulbs. In the indoor part of “Spring Blooms”, lilies, delphiniums, hydrangeas and other spring blossoms fill the conservatory with color. Also featured are Longwood’s grand treehouses, whimsical Topiary Garden, and colorful Idea Garden.

Daily visitor programs, including gardening demonstrations, behind-the-scenes tours, and talks add to Longwood’s charms. Children will enjoy the many activities in the outdoor Children’s Area, and the imaginative fun of the Indoor Children’s Garden.

A special activity called “Meet the Trees” will be held on April 5 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Longwood is home to hundreds of trees, including nearly 60 state champion or co-champions.

This Sunday, Longwood celebrates its trees with activities and tours for the entire family. Kids 12-and-under can “gear up” with Longwood’s arborists and climb our trees. The entire family can enjoy tree walks and stories highlighting Longwood’s historic and notable trees.

Admission to Longwood Gardens is $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and $10 for students.

If you want to check out the major retrospective exhibition of artist Jamie Wyeth at the Brandywine River Museum of Art (Route 1, Chadds Ford, 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org), this weekend is your last chance.

The exhibit “Jamie Wyeth” includes more than 100 paintings depicting the landscapes of the Brandywine Valley and coastal Maine as well as family members and fellow artists. It has been running for months and will have its final day on April 5.

This museum has also just opened a new exhibit “Pointed Pens: Selected Cartoons from the Permanent Collection.” The exhibit was unveiled on March 28 and will run through August 23.

This exhibition features an attractive collection of over 30 works that were created between 1880 and 1945 and selected from the Museum’s expansive collection of American illustration.

It includes cartoons by some of America’s most famous illustrators of the late 19th century and the early 20th century. Their drawings show a variety of styles and techniques that render incisive visual opinions about topical events.

The Brandywine River Museum of Art is open daily from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (ages 65 and over), $6 for students and children (ages 6-12) and free for children (under six) and Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art members.

Over the years, the Brandywine Valley has built a reputation for being horse country – an area with horse farms and an annual calendar loaded with equestrian events. Each year, the local calendar features an array of top-flight horse shows, dressage events, Grand Prix events and point-to-point races.

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The 73rd Annual Brandywine Hills Point-To-Point Races take place on Sunday.

The 2015 season will get into gear this weekend with the 73rd Annual Brandywine Hills Point-To-Point Races, which will be held April 5 on the grounds of the Brandywine Valley Association’s 318-acre Myrick Conservation Center (1760 Unionville-Wawaset Road, Unionville, 610-793-1090, www.brandywinewatershed.org).

The Brandywine Valley Association’s popular annual early-spring event is a family-oriented event which also features an array of activities for youngsters, including crafts activities.

Gates will open at 10 a.m. and children’s activities such as “Pennies in the Hay”, “Lenape Lore Tent”, face painting and stick pony races slated to get underway at 11 a.m. The steeplechase racing event features a challenging three-mile course with 17 timber jumps.

The competition will begin at 11:30 a.m. with the Small Pony Race. The Large Pony Race will be next followed by the Lead Line Pony Race, the Radnor Hunt Foxhound Parade, the Heavyweight Race, the Novice Race, the Open Race and the Owner-Drive Foxhunter’s Race.

There will also be a vendor area featuring dealers with a wide variety of horse and racing items as well as vendors with hot and cold food items and beverages. Another special attraction this year will be a raffle with an array of impressive prizes. Tickets are $20 per car.

Toys and games come and go. Some stay popular for awhile while others fade into oblivion rather quickly. But, there are some things that stand the test of time. Comic books, trading cards and action figures all became popular years ago and all three still are very popular — not just with kids but with enthusiasts of all ages.

This weekend, fans of those items know that the main destination this weekend is the Great Philadelphia Comic Con, which is being held now through April 5 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (Station Avenue, Oaks, www.philadelphiacomiccon.com).

The event is an obvious destination for anyone who is into comic books, action figures, anime, trading cards, cosplay or pop culture in general.

The inaugural GPCC is the largest independent comic and pop culture convention in eastern Pennsylvania, and is being hosted by the same organization which has run The Great Allentown Comic Con for the past five years.

The show welcomes Austin St. John (Jason Lee Scott on the popular “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” series); Walter Jones, the first Black Ranger; David Yost, the First Blue Ranger; David Fielding (A.K.A. Zordon),  founder of the Rangers; Kerrigan Mahan, villain Gordon; and Barbara Goodson, villain Rita Repulsa.

Some of the other featured guests will be George Takei (Star Trek), Christy Carlson Romano (Kim Possible), J. Sugust Richards (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek), Seth Gilliam (The Walking Dead), Walter Koenig (Star Trek), Carol Kilbanks (Trash-O-Madness) and Brimstone.

Another special attraction will be an exclusive trading card set to be collected during the show. The cards will be available at various tables throughout the showroom, highlighting guests appearing at the show from artists to celebrities. The Philadelphia Cosplay Contest is scheduled for April 5 at 3 p.m.

Show hours are from 4-9 p.m. on April 3, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on April 4 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on April 5. Tickets are $18 on Friday, $35 on Saturday and $25 on Sunday. Three-day passes are $49.95.

The annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. has been tourist destination for decades — an eagerly-anticipated event that celebrated the arrival of spring and the beauty of the cherry tree in bloom.

For years, area residents had to travel to the nation’s capital to enjoy an event celebrating the gorgeous trees. But, all that changed a few years ago with the arrival of Philadelphia’s Cherry Blossom Festival.

Now, if you want to see hundreds of lovely trees showing off their pink blossoms, you can find what you want at the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, which is known in Japanese as Sakura Matsuri. The event gets underway on April 4 at a variety of locations around the Philadelphia area.

For centuries, Japan has been celebrating the beauty of the elegant pink cherry blossom with picnics under the trees and traditional music and dance performances. The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival offers visitors the opportunity to explore the best of Japanese culture including delicious cuisine, delicate craft displays, intriguing performances and demonstrations of traditional customs.

On April 4, there will be “Tea Ceremony Lessons” from 9-11 a.m. at the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden (Lansdowne and Horticultural Drives, West Fairmount Park).‎

“Dine Out Japan” will run from April 5-10 at several area Japanese restaurants with special three-course menus at discounted prices. Participating restaurants are Yakitori Boy, Shiroi Hana, Gyu-Kaku, Fuji Mountain and Morimoto.

The centerpiece event is Sakura Sunday, which is billed as “a celebration of all things Japanese.” It will be held on April 12 from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. at Fairmount Park’s Horticulture Center (100 North Horticulture Drive, Philadelphia). Tickets are $10 for adults with children (12 and under) admitted free.

Sakura Sunday features live music and dance performances, martial arts, cultural demonstrations, arts & crafts, karaoke, and much more. Some of the featured attractions are the Kodomo Corner, Little Akiba Anime & Cosplay Area, Subaru Sushi Samurai of the Year, Prettiest Pet in Pink Parade, Harajuku Fashion Show and Shofuso Tours.

A full schedule of the festival’s many varied events can be found at its website — http://subarucherryblossom.org.

This weekend includes First Friday and that means special events in somne of the area’s towns.

The First Friday Art Stroll (http://historickennettsquare.com) will be held in downtown Kennett Square on April 3 from 6-9 p.m. The Art Stroll is a monthly celebration of the local art scene as it is showcased in the galleries, shops and restaurants throughout town.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to stroll the tree-lined streets and browse the many businesses that stay open late. After 5 p.m., visitors can enjoy free parking anywhere in the Parking Garage and at any of the street meters.

There will also be an open house at The Growing Tree Toy Shop and refreshments will be served at The Mushroom Cap. The Flickerwood Wine Cellar and Tasting Room will feature live music with John and Charity from 7-10:30 p.m.

West Chester will also be celebrating First Friday on April 3. Shops and boutiques will open late and showing off their newest seasonal fashions and giftware. Visitors will be able to browse the in-store specials while enjoying light refreshments.  Parking is free on-street and in parking lots from 8 a.m.-midnight.

There will also be First Friday activities in Lancaster from 5-9 p.m. with an arts extravaganza that features exhibitions, performances, unique boutiques, performing groups and professional theater. For more information, visit http://www.visitlancastercity.com.

This weekend also marks the first day of Delaware County’s trout fishing season. Newlin Grist Mill (219 South Cheyney Road, Glen Mills, 610-459-2359, www.newlingristmill.org) will celebrate “Trout Fishing Opening Day” from 9 a.m.4 p.m. on April 4.

The site has stocked its three ponds with trout and is ready for the arrival of the anglers. On Saturday, anyone who has caught fish they don’t want to take with them can donate them to feed injured birds as part of a program the site shares with the Tri-State Bird Rescue.

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