What To Do: Philadelphia attractions begin to reopen

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times 

The Museum of the American Revolution

It’s 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic has been wiping out events on a regular basis and forcing attractions to remain closed.

Slowly, things are starting to come back to life. Philadelphia is a good example of this resurgence.

On September 9, Independence National Historical Park (https://www.nps.gov/inde) reopened access to the buildings listed below —

Independence Visitor Center (Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. — 150-person capacity);

Independence Hall (Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. — By tour only, first-come, first-served (no tickets necessary), nine person capacity, entrance through security screening);

Liberty Bell Center (Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. –20-person capacity, entrance through security screening);

Old City Hall (store only — Open Wednesday through Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. – three-person capacity);

Portrait Gallery in the Second Bank of the U.S. (Open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. – 20-person capacity);

Free Quaker Meeting House (Open as staffing permits, ask at the Independence Visitor Center – nine-person capacity);

Merchants’ Exchange Building (Open Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. – five-person capacity).

Outdoor spaces continue to be available daily (Independence Mall, Washington Square, Rose Garden, Magnolia Garden, 18th Century Garden).

The Museum of the American Revolution (101 S. 3rd St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, www.amrevmuseum.org) officially reopened to the public at the beginning of September.

Visitors can rediscover the Revolution with the Museum’s immersive galleries, powerful film experiences, and original artifacts.

To ensure the safest and most enjoyable experience, the Museum has implemented new health and safety measures, including reduced capacity, advance online ticket purchasing, and enhanced sanitizing and cleaning protocols.

On its website, the Museum posted the following COVID-19 message –

We have deep cleaned our facilities and expanded our health and safety protocols according to recommendations from our local leaders and health officials. Booking tickets online or by phone in advance is recommended.

Capacity is limited to allow for social distancing. To manage capacity, tickets are limited and sold on a timed basis. For guaranteed entry, we recommend that you purchase your admission tickets in advance online or by phone.

The Museum shop is open during the Museum’s operating hours, with reduced capacity. Cross Keys Café is now open, with operating hours of 10 a.m.-4 p.m. from Thursday-Sunday and holiday Mondays. The Museum’s Revolution Place discovery center and Battlefield Theater will remain closed to the public until further notice.

A one-way flow of traffic will be required in the galleries and some other areas. Interactive touchscreen displays in the galleries will remain available with additional cleaning throughout the day and nearby sanitation stations.

Admission to the museum is $21 for adults, $18 for seniors and $13 for youth.

Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center

Back in June, the Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center, Lansdowne and Horticultural drives, Philadelphia, https://japanphilly.org/shofuso/) reopened for 2020 and became one of the first gardens to open in Philadelphia.

Visitors can enjoy the scenic grounds and view the site’s historic house from the outside.

Designed by architect Junzo Yoshimura, Shofuso was built in Japan in 1953 using traditional techniques and materials. It was shipped to New York and exhibited in the courtyard of the Museum of Modern Art in New York before moving to West Fairmount Park in 1958. In 2007, international artist Hiroshi Senju, inspired by the garden’s waterfall, donated 20 contemporary murals to Shofuso, which are permanently displayed inside the house. This historic site and museum features a hill and pond garden with a tiered waterfall, island, and koi fish, a tea garden featuring a traditional tea house, and a courtyard garden leading to a bathhouse.

Shofuso is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. from Wednesday through Friday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Visitor capacity will be limited. All visitors age three and over must wear a mask. There will be hand sanitizing stations throughout the grounds. At the entrance, six-foot markers will allow people to wait in line safely.

Tickets are first come, first served; Adults: $12; senior 65+, $8; children 5 – 17, $8.

Another attraction in Fairmount Park that provides outdoor recreation is Treetop Quest Philly.

Treetop Quest Philly (51 Chamounix Drive, Philadelphia, www.treetopquest.com) is an aerial adventure park that will challenge you physically and mentally as you maneuver from tree to tree through obstacles and zip-lines. Once you’re equipped, they will teach you how to operate your equipment and you’ll be able to swing through each course as many times as you want for 2.5 hours.

Each participant is outfitted with a harness and gloves. Each course has a continuous belay system — a lifeline that is impossible to detach without a staff member. The activity is self-guided, and the staff is ready to assist when needed.

Reservations are required until further notice. Online reservations must be made at least 10 hours in advance, and the online waiver must be completed in advance of your visit.

All guests are required to wear a facemask while on the ground at the park. If you do not have a mask, they will be available for purchase at check-in.

Gloves are required for our activity. During this time, we encourage participants to bring their own gloves to use while up in the trees, gardening gloves are perfect for this activity.

We require social distancing while on the ground and in the trees at this time. All participants on the ground are required to stay six feet apart. We will only be allowing 1 participant per platform and 1 per obstacle until further notice.

Ticket prices are $52, adults; $45, ages 12-17; $35, ages 7-11; and $20; ages 4-6.

The Betsy Ross House

The Betsy Ross House (239 Arch Street, Philadelphia, http://historicphiladelphia.org/betsy-ross-house/what-to-see/) has reopened to the public.
The well-known and loved story of Betsy Ross sewing the first “Stars & Stripes” is tightly woven into the colorful fabric of America’s rich history. The Betsy Ross House, the birthplace of the American flag, is alive with the sights and sounds of the 18th century.

Visitors can tour the house and then stay a while longer to learn more about Betsy and her exciting life and times through the site’s interactive, historical programming.

The Betsy Ross House is located in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood in the heart of the Historic District and steps away from Independence National Park.

Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. 

The nearly 300-year-old narrow, winding stairs of the Betsy Ross House are not accessible to strollers, wheelchairs, walkers, or motorized scooters. For guests with mobility issues, the Museum offers a “first-floor tour”, which includes some walking and two steps up/down. The courtyard, including Betsy Ross’s grave and a seasonal medicinal herb garden, the museum store, and exhibition gallery are all accessible.

Admission for the self-guided tours is $5 for adults and $4 for children, seniors, military and students. 

Franklin Square

Franklin Square (Sixth and Race streets, Philadelphia, http://www.historicphiladelphia.org/) has reopened.

Franklin Square’s 180-year-old, historic centerpiece has been renovated and updated into a dynamic state-of-the-art Fountain Show featuring spectacular dancing water effects and colored lights choreographed to music.

In celebration of Franklin Square’s reopening, visitors can enjoy free Fountain Show performances every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour from noon until 9 p.m.

Philly Mini Golf, the Parx Liberty Carousel, both playgrounds, and SquareBurger have reopened for your enjoyment from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. daily (SquareBurger closes at 8 p.m.). The Franklin Square Fountain Show is running every 30 minutes from noon-9 p.m. daily through September 7.

Contact-less entry is available for those who purchase their Philly Mini Golf and Parx Liberty Carousel tickets in advance.

Franklin Square is following thorough health and safety protocols to keep its staff and visitors safe. Masks are required on all attractions, and social distancing signage is located throughout the park.

The Independence Seaport Museum

The Independence Seaport Museum (211 S. Columbus Boulevard Philadelphia, 215-413-8655, www.phillyseaport.org) is open again and has a variety of special events on its schedule.

On September 15, it will offer “Kayak Excursion to Petty’s Island” from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

This 10-mile kayaking excursion is for the experienced paddler, and nature lover. The trek will lead to Petty’s Island, a 292-acre island in the middle of the Delaware River. Cost is $75 per person and you must be 18 years of age to participate.

“Boatin’ in the Basin” will be offered on September 9 from 4-5 p.m. and 6-7 p.m.

Participants will be able to boat around the Penn’s Landing basin in a swan, dragon, flamingo, or duck – an activity that is billed as “the perfect socially distant outdoor recreational activity for you and your household. “

“Boatin’ in the Basin” requires pre-purchased tickets, no walk-up tickets will be available. Pricing is per boat and all rentals will be for one hour.

Spirit of Philadelphia

Spirit of Philadelphia (401 South Delaware Avenue, Philadelphia, www.hornblower.com) has resumed cruising along the Delaware River.

Departing from its berth at Penn’s Landing, the attractive ship, which is run by Hornblower Cruises and Events, is offering outdoor lunch and dining experiences while motoring up and down the river.

The cruises provide patrons with the opportunity to experience the vibrant energy and rich history of Philadelphia from a unique perspective — from the water. Guests can soak in the atmosphere of revitalized Penn’s Landing, sail past cityscapes, view historic ships, and more on Sprit of Philadelphia’s unforgettable cruises.

Tickets start at $52.90.

Spruce Street Harbor Park

Visitors to Delaware Avenue in the Penn’s Landing area will be able to light up the night at Spruce Street Harbor Park with “Bright Lights, Our City,” a brand-new light installation programmed on the iconic lights at the park.

Created by FKB Studio, the fun experience allows visitors to create their own light display by placing their hands on the Univest logos on a specially designed, branded kiosk. For the safety of our guests, a hand sanitizing station will be close by for visitors to use afterward.

As individuals interact with the kiosk, light patterns and color palettes will change, creating a living tapestry throughout the Park. The installation will be available nightly, and visitors will be able to enjoy it throughout the summer and fall.

Visitors will be required to wear masks unless they are eating or drinking. Food and beverage lines will be limited to 10 persons at a time. Bathrooms are open to the public and sanitized hourly.

Sanitizing stations will be available throughout the park. There will be no hammocks. Special signage and ground graphics will be posted to help visitors practice physical distancing.

Fort Mifflin

Fort Mifflin (Fort Mifflin and Hog Island roads, Philadelphia, 215-685-4167, www.fortmifflin.us) has re-opened – but also with some restrictions.

Fort Mifflin’s outdoor space is open Wednesdays through Sundays, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., weather permitting. Visitors can explore 40 acres of history and nature including a beach along the Delaware River and a nature trail through the High Battery.

Fort Mifflin, which was originally called Fort Island Battery, was commissioned in 1771. It was also known as Mud Island Fort because it sits on Mud Island (also known as Deep Water Island) on the Delaware River near the Philadelphia International Airport. During the American Revolutionary War, the British Army bombarded and captured the fort as part of their conquest of Philadelphia in autumn 1777.

During the siege, 400 American soldiers held off more than 2,000 British troops and over 250 ships that had been responsible for launching an endless barrage of cannonballs into the fort. After five days of holding off the British, the American troops evacuated the fort after having successfully denied the British Navy free use of the Delaware River.

Admission fees for Fort Mifflin are: Adults – $8; Seniors – $6; Children (6 to 12) and Veterans – $4; Children 5 years and younger – Free.

Morris Arboretum (100 East Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, www.morrisarboretum.org) is a 92-acre Victorian arboretum in Northwest Philly. It has resumed welcoming visitors back to enjoy its scenic gardens.

Guests can enjoy thousands of rare and lovely wooded plants, including many of Philadelphia’s oldest, rarest and most magnificent trees. To prevent overcrowding, advance tickets are required.

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania began in 1887 as Compton, the summer home of John and Lydia Morris, brother and sister. The I.P. Morris Company, an iron-manufacturing firm founded by their father and later run by John Morris, was a source of family wealth.

The land the Morrises purchased in Chestnut Hill was barren, with poor soil that drained too quickly; but with diligent care they surrounded their home with a landscape and plant collection devoted to beauty and knowledge. Two Lines a sculpture by George Rickey marks the former mansion site. The Widener Visitor Center was formerly the carriage house.

Plants that are in bloom right now are Clematis ‘Etoile Violette’ (Etoile Violette clematis), Rhododendron austrinum, (Florida azalea), Aquilegia canadensis (American columbine), Rosa ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ (Souvenir de la Malmaison), Allium giganteum
(giant allium), Asimina triloba (common pawpaw), and Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel).

Morris Arboretum is now open seven days a week. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors (65-plus), $10 for youth (3-17) and free for children (3 and under).

Other arboretum attractions around the area are Tyler Arboretum (515 Painter Road, Media, https://tylerarboretum.org/), Jenkins Arboretum (631 Berwyn Baptist Road, Devon, www.jenkinsarboretum.org), Andalusia Historic House, Gardens and Arboretum (1237 State Rd, Andalusia, https://andalusiapa.org/), Wissahickon Valley Park (various entry points including 120 W. Northwestern Avenue, https://fow.org/), and Awbury Arboretum (The Francis Cope House, One Awbury Road, Philadelphia, awbury.org).

Back in February, the Wells Fargo Center (3601 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, https://www.wellsfargocenterphilly.com) hosted the “Jurassic World Live Tour.”

Now, the prehistoric animals are returning to Philadelphia – returning to the Wells Fargo Center…almost.

Jurassic Quest’s Philadelphia event was originally scheduled to be held in the parking lot at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks. Then, the promoters opted for a change.

As a result, “Jurassic Quest Drive-Thru” has been relocated to the parking lot of the Wells Fargo Center. The “Drive-Thru” is being held now through September 20.

Jurassic Quest is North America’s largest and most realistic Dinosaur event. Jurassic Quest is the only interactive dinosaur event that has true to life-size animatronic dinosaurs. In collaboration with leading paleontologists, each dinosaur has been painstakingly replicated in every detail. Whether their prehistoric counterpart had skin that was scaly, had feathers or fur, Jurassic Quest has spared no expense in bringing the dinosaurs to life.

The new JQ Drive-Thru version of the show features more than 70 life-like dinosaurs including the very popular T. rex, Spinosaurus and Triceratops. Jurassic Quest’s herd of animatronic dinos are displayed in realistic scenes that allow guests to experience them roaring and moving from their own vehicles as they drive their way through the tour.

Baby dinosaurs greet guests and bring big smiles to explorers of all ages. During the Drive-Thru experience, guests are guided by an engaging and informative digital audio tour featuring show entertainers and dino wranglers that lasts about an hour. Guests stay in their cars throughout the tour with limited contact, if any, with staff who wear masks, social distance, and follow all state and local guidelines regarding health and safety.

To further ensure the safety of patrons and staff, all equipment and workstations undergo regular sanitization throughout the show. All attendees receive a free, safari-style family photo in their vehicles set against a dinosaur backdrop as a memento of their experience.

Ticket prices start at $49 per vehicle.

If you love beer, you should check out the “Biergarten” at Cannstatter Volksfest Verein (5130 Academy Road, Philadelphia, www.cannstatter.org).

The German traditional event will be open every Friday (until the end of October) and Saturday night (until the end of August). Cannstatter has the largest outdoor Biergarten in Northeast Philadelphia and is open every Friday and Saturday from 5-10 p.m.

Tasty German food and drink will be available for purchase and live German music will be featured each night. Weather permitting, this is an outside event. Pets and outside food and drinks are prohibited and there is no cover charge.

There will be live entertainment from 7:30-9:30 p.m. in Cannstatter’s picnic grove featuring some of the best local bands and musicians.

Food and drink offerings are “The Famous CVV Wings – Hot, Mild and Naked,” Chicken Tenders, Hamburger/Cheeseburger/Veggie-burger, Bratwurst, Hot Sausage, Mozzarella Sticks, Onion Rings, French Fries, Cheese Fries, German Pretzels and other weekly specials.

There will be a large selection of German and domestic beers on tap as well as mixed drinks, wine and bottled beer.

The line-up of live music acts for this month is Glenn McCollum on September 11, No Irish Need Apply on September 12, TF Squared on September 18 and Blu Dogz on September 25.

The Elizabethan era survived the Bubonic Plague (also known as “Black Death”) so why should the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire (Mount Hope Estate and Winery grounds, Route 72, Cornwall, 717-665-7021, www.parenfaire.com) be intimidated by a pandemic.

This year’s 40th annual staging of the event, which bills itself as “the most wondrous event in all the Knowne World”, is being staged – COVID-19 pandemic or not. It is running now through November 1.

The 2020 Faire, which features “Admission By Advance Tickets Only,” posted this message –

Capacity restrictions will be in place and all event tickets will be by reservation only in advance through the Online Box Office and will be date specific. No tickets will be sold on site the day of the event. No exceptions.

The Faire’s “Safety Care Measures” are the standard – wear masks, maintain social distancing, wash your hands every 20 minutes, use disposable food utensils, and no smoking in the audience areas.

Every summer, the Faire, which takes place at Mount Hope Estate and Winery’s authentic 35-acre recreation of a 16th-century village in Olde England, features a new story from a different year of England’s past.

Without a doubt, the most popular attraction is the Jousting Arena. Visitors to the Faire flock to Bosworth Field whenever it’s time for the Ultimate Joust. Peasants lead cheers for their favorite knights while musicians pound out a heart-thumping beat. The Master of the List announces the combatants and soon an encounter of royal proportions ensues.

The Faire offers a wide variety of activities for visitors, including listening to bagpipe music, checking out handsome Lords in their colorful silks, watching a jester’s acrobatics, learning how to juggle, being the recipient of a gypsy woman’s flirtations and watching the march of Beefeater Guards.

Guildsmen’s Way is the area that features a large variety of merchants and artisans, including jewelers, candle makers, potters, herbalists, leather smiths, clothiers, and pewter makers — all offering for sale and demonstrating their ancient wares.

The Faire also featured themed weekends. This weekend’s theme is “Grand Opening.”

Visitors are invited to join the Shirefolk and their beloved Majesty, Queen Elizabeth Regina Glorianna, as they swing wide the Castle Gates and kick off the 40th glorious season of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.

This weekend’s theme is “Pyrate Invasion,” which is scheduled for September 12 and 13 from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. both days.

Featured events for “Pyrate Invasion” are “Nipperkins Costume Exhibition,” “Pyrate School for Nipperkins,” “Adult Costume Competition,” and “Treasure Quest Game.”

Tickets are $29.95 General Admission; $15.95 Children (5-11); Children 4 and Under Free, No Ticket Required.

This weekend, it’s time once again for the Annual “Scarecrows in the Village” at Peddler’s Village (Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska, 215-794-4000, www.peddlersvillage.com). The festival, which is celebrating its 41st anniversary this year, will run now through October 31.

Every September, Peddler’s Village hosts a famous scarecrow display that brings visitors from around the world. For seven fun-filled weeks, scores of scarecrows grace the winding pathways of the sweeping, autumn-tinted Village property. Some are inspired by famous characters, some are humorous, some are meant to be scary – but all of them are carefully handmade and contributed by Philly-area residents and organizations.

from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on September 14 and 15.

Visitors can also stroll around the Village to see the Scarecrow Competition and Display, which showcases more than 100 creative and colorful scarecrows. The Scarecrows are on outdoor display through the end of October.

September 12 is the opening day for “Pumpkinland” (Linvilla Orchards, 137 West Knowlton Road, Media, 610-876-7116, www.linvilla.com). “Pumpkinland,” which runs through November 8, features fairy tale characters from nursery rhymes along with a huge scarecrow and a really tall storybook.

Other activities include train rides, a straw bale maze, hayrides, pick-your-own apples and pony rides. Another attraction, which starts in late September, is “Hayride to the Witch’s House.” Admission is free, and hayrides are $6 per person. There will also be “Harvest Hayrides” and “Autumn Moon Hayrides” starting later in September.

The Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation (3900 North Sandy Flash Drive, Newtown Square, www.colonialplantation.org) is welcoming visitors again.

The Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation is an authentic living history site with the purpose of enhancing understanding of 1760-90 farm life in Southeastern Pennsylvania by providing high quality, research based experiences to the public.
The 112 acres of the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation provide the context of early American history, the setting where the impact of King George’s taxes was felt, the American melting pot began to simmer, and American ingenuity took root. The Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation represents an average Pennsylvania farm, rather than interpreting any specific individuals.

The Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation will be open all Saturdays September through November, as well as September 27 for its annual Civil War Camp.

Masks must be worn at all times both indoors and outdoors (no gaiters or bandanas please; only close-fitting cloth or disposable masks permitted.)
Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for children.

If you’re looking for things to do, Delaware is a good place to look.

Hagley Museum and Library (Buck Road East entrance via Route 100, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-658-2400, www.hagley.org) is open to the public and has a special event scheduled for this weekend.

On September 12, the site will host “Summer Saturday at Hagley” from noon-4 p.m. The event will include fishing on the Brandywine. Activities are included in admission.

Visitors to Hagley will be able to see the beauty of Hagley’s Powder Yard along the Brandywine (outside areas only), explore Hagley’s Powder Yard Trail Experience (outside areas only) and see the grounds of the Eleutherian Mills Residence and the E. I. du Pont Garden (outside areas only).

The Library is not currently open to the public nor is Caffé Hagley. The Hagley Museum Store is open as are the restrooms at the Visitor Center and Millwright Shop.

The following COVID-19 message is posted on the museum’s website —

The well-being of our guests and employees is our top priority. To that end, we are doing the following:

Limiting daily capacity and hours of entry to Hagley.

Ensuring employees are informed and following CDC & OSHA guidelines for working during COVID-19.

Requiring personal protection equipment for our employees in guest areas.

Providing hand sanitizer stations at convenient locations for guest and employee use.

Monitoring guest areas to encourage social distancing and reduce group gatherings in accordance with government mandates.

Tickets purchased online are $8 for adults and $4 for children 6 (and older). Tickets purchased in person at Hagley are $9 for adults and $5 for children.

The Historic Odessa Foundation (www.historicodessa.org) is presenting the photography exhibit, “A Wealth of Nature: Photographs by Jane Mruk,” now through November 1 in the Foundation’s Visitors Center gallery (201 Main Street, Odessa).

Since the age of eight, when her passion for photography was ignited, professional photographer Jane Mruk, has honed her art and developed a distinctive eye for noticing and capturing the beauty in nature.

The exhibit will include approximately 40 of her photographs. Ranging in size and subject matter, the photographs will focus on local scenes of the historic town of Odessa, where she has resided for the past 15 years. Also featured will be nature studies of Delaware’s flora and fauna.

A graduate of the Antonelli Institute of Graphic Design & Photography (now part of Harcum College), Mruk spent her early professional career as a graphic designer. After moving to Odessa, she established her own graphic design and photography business. She also is a frequent contributor to Outdoor Delaware magazine.

The Odessa gallery will concentrate on 18th- and 19th-century furniture, paintings and associated accessories, with an emphasis on Delaware material.

The Historic Houses of Odessa were operated by Winterthur from 1958-2003. The Historic Odessa Foundation opened to the public in December of 2005.

Today, Odessa is a National Registered Historic District and is also home to a National Historic Landmark and two National Parks Service Network to Freedom Sites. The Historic Odessa Foundation is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the past through tours, focuses on exhibitions, and living-history programs for children and adults.

The Delaware Museum of Natural History (4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, www.delmnh.org) has re-opened and will be welcoming visitors on Saturdays and Sundays. 

Tickets may be reserved in advance for one-hour timeslots — 10-11 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 1:30-2:30 p.m., 3-4 p.m.

The museum’s website posted the following COVID-19 information –

Walk-ins are permitted if space allows. The Museum is closed in between sessions for cleaning.  Masks are required for all indoor areas as per guidance by the State of Delaware. Outside, masks are required when and where distancing is not possible. 

What to expect:

Indoors, please wear a mask or face covering per guidance from the State of Delaware. Our staff will have masks on too.

Please maintain a six-foot physical distance from anyone not in your own household.

Please stay home if you are ill or have any COVID-19 symptoms.

There is a one-way path around the Museum’s galleries.

The Nature Nook, the special exhibit hall, and the Canteen remain closed during this time.

The Museum Store is open to visitors. Or, shop online with curbside and shipping available.

Plexiglass is installed at the guest experience desk to limit contact.

We will disinfect heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces in between the one-hour sessions.

Paper handouts have been limited. Instead, please visit our website for a gallery map, outdoor map, and event information.

Admission is $9 (ages 3-59), $8 (ages 60 and older), and $3 (ages 1-2).

The Delaware Art Museum (2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware, www.delart.org) opened to the general public back in July.

To keep guests safe, Plexiglas shields will be installed at the front desk and in the Museum Store and all transactions will be cashless, so visitors are encouraged to remember their credit cards. Guests will also be required to wear face masks and practice social distancing. The Thronson Café will be closed until further notice. Maps and brochures will only be available electronically for the time being.

For more than 100 years, the Museum has served as a primary arts and cultural institution in Delaware. It is alive with experiences, discoveries, and activities to connect people with art and with each other. Originally created in 1912 to honor the renowned illustrator and Wilmington-native, Howard Pyle, the Museum’s collection has grown to over 12,000 works of art in its building and sculpture garden.

Also recognized for British Pre-Raphaelite art, the Museum is home to the largest and most important Pre-Raphaelite collection outside of the United Kingdom and a growing collection of significant contemporary art. Embracing all disciplines, the Museum’s Performance Series ranges from concerts by Pyxis Piano Quartet, resident ensemble of over ten years, to cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary artists committed to social justice and pushing the boundaries of artistic practice.

The Museum will return to its regular operating hours, which are as follows: Monday and Tuesday: closed; Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Thursday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

In a continuing effort to connect people to the arts during COVID-19, the Delaware Art Museum has partnered with DelArt Cinema to offer biweekly drive-in movies on the Museum’s grounds in the Copeland Sculpture Garden. Film buffs can enjoy socially distant, crowd-pleasing classics in genres ranging from noir to spy to comedy to vintage horror.

The movies, which take place every other Thursday (with subsequent Friday evenings dedicated to rain dates), are scheduled through October 29, weather permitting. Admission is $19 per person and includes food and beverage, with a discount extended to Museum members; admission by advanced purchase only.

The Museum has extended its two spring exhibitions through the remainder of the year, including “Layered Abstraction: Margo Allman and Helen Mason” (on view until January 17, 2021) and “Julio daCunha: Modernizing Myths” (on view until November 1, 2020).

Another attraction that is drawing visitors to Delaware is Delaware Park Racetrack (777 Delaware Park Blvd.
Wilmington, Delaware, www.delawarepark.com) which recently re-opened for the year. The 83rd season of live racing at Delaware Park came to life with spectators and enhanced safety protocols, including enforced social distancing.

The racetrack posted the following protocols — Live racing attendance will be limited to a combined total of 3,000 patrons, both inside and outside; Initial access to the Clubhouse will be limited to the Paddock entrance; All patrons will have their temperature taken prior to being granted access to the Clubhouse; Guests flagged by temperature reading of 99.5° or higher (as established by Delaware Health & Social Services), or flagged by the health screening questionnaire will be prohibited from entering; Guests demonstrating symptoms will be asked to immediately vacate the property; Patrons entering the Clubhouse will be given a wristband that will need to be worn at all times; All patrons must possess a face mask when entering the property, bandanas will not be acceptable.

Patrons will not be allowed to congregate in any areas, except those patrons from the same household; Hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the Clubhouse and outdoor seating areas; Outdoor seating will be available on the Apron and in the Grove area, including the tent.

The schedule for the 2020 Delaware Park racing season is: Now through October 17 — live racing daily on Saturday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Winterthur (5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur, Delaware, http://www.winterthur.org/) has opened its gates to the public and reservations are required.

Outdoor areas and the first-floor galleries are open. The Winterthur Store is open. Some in-person programs are available including guided garden walks and garden tram tours.

Guided Garden Walks are being held at 11 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month. 

These outdoor walking tours are led by staff members who share their insight and expertise about the history and horticulture of the Winterthur Garden and estate.

To ensure a safe experience and comply with reopening regulations mandated by the state of Delaware, tour capacity will be limited, and advance registration is required. Visitors and staff must wear face coverings and maintain a social distance of six feet apart during the walk.

The Winterthur Garden Tram Tours (seasonal and weather permitting) will take place on Fridays and Sundays in September with departures at 10 and 11 a.m. and noon. 

This 25-minute narrated open-air tram tour explores the beauty and history of the 60-acre naturalistic garden. Tram Tours depart from the Visitor Center and are included with admission.

To ensure a safe experience and comply with reopening regulations mandated by the state of Delaware, tram tour capacity will be limited, and advance registration is required. Each tour time is limited to eight people at one time. All participants will wear appropriate masks and maintain a social distance of six feet from all other participants and the tour guide.

Almost 60 years ago, collector and horticulturist Henry Francis du Pont (1880–1969) opened his childhood home, Winterthur, to the public. Today, Winterthur is the premier museum of American decorative arts, with an unparalleled collection of nearly 90,000 objects made or used in America between about 1640 and 1860. The collection is displayed in the magnificent 175-room house, much as it was when the du Pont family lived here, as well as in permanent and changing exhibition galleries.

Winterthur is set amidst a 1,000-acre preserve of rolling meadows and woodlands. Designed by du Pont, its 60-acre naturalistic garden is among America’s best, with magnificent specimen plantings and massed displays of color. Graduate programs and a preeminent research library make Winterthur an important center for the study of American art and culture.

Just up the road a few miles (and just across the state line) from Winterthur, you’ll find The Brandywine River Museum of Art (1 Hoffman’s Mill Road, Chadds Ford, www.brandywine.org)

The Museum re-opened in July and implemented a variety of new procedures including face mask requirements, timed ticketing and capacity limits. Advance reservations are highly recommended.

Special exhibitions will include “Votes for Women: A Visual History,” and “Witness to History: Selma Photography of Stephen Somerstein.”

“Votes for Women: A Visual History” includes drawings, illustrations, and posters from museums, historical societies, and private collections that visualize the complex political messages conveyed by suffragists. Also included are historic photographs of marches and rallies, including the 1913 Women’s Suffrage Procession in Washington D.C. Examples of the costumes, clothing, sashes and other emblems of women’s activism worn by suffragists enliven the presentation, drawing comparisons between the representations and realities of women’s struggle to win the vote.

Presenting an inclusive historical narrative, the exhibition recognizes the efforts of women of color and their community networks, which have been largely overlooked, giving the false impression that women of color were absent from the struggle for voting rights. As a way to recognize these marginalized communities, the Brandywine commissioned a diverse group of women artists to create a mural of illustrated portraits featuring some of the women whose role in winning voting rights has been historically minimized because of their race or ethnicity.

“Witness to History: Selma Photography of Stephen Somerstein” presents 55 of the photographs taken by Somerstein on March 25, 1965, accompanied by his commentary of the day’s events. It is guest curated by Farrah Spott and on view at the Brandywine River Museum of Art as a companion to the exhibition.

The historic 1965 Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, civil rights march concerned one issue—the right to vote. Two thousand marchers set out on March 21 along Route 80, known as the “Jefferson Davis Highway.” After two failed attempts to complete the march, President Johnson dispatched federal and state troops to guard the demonstrators along the way to the state capitol, 54 miles away. By the time the marchers reached Montgomery, their number had grown to 25,000.

Hearing of the events, 24-year-old student photographer Stephen Somerstein jumped on a bus in New York city and headed to Alabama. He arrived on March 25, in time for the final march to the state capitol. With five cameras around his neck and only 15 rolls of film, Somerstein seemed to be everywhere at once documenting this pivotal moment in the civil rights movement. He captured photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other prominent activists such as Rosa Parks, James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin, John Lewis, and Joan Baez. Somerstein also took poignant portraits of his fellow demonstrators, as well as the anonymous bystanders who had gathered along route to observe the civil action in progress.

Virtual lectures, gallery talks, performances, family programs and a summer art camp for kids will continue to be offered online for the foreseeable future as part of the “Brandywine at Home” initiative.

There will also be a special tribute to Betsy James Wyeth, who passed away in April 2020 — a memorial display of 20 Andrew Wyeth works featuring his wife. All works are from the Andrew and Betsy Wyeth Collection, including quite a few that have never been exhibited before.

Admission to the museum is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors (65+) and $6 for students with ID and children ages 6-18.

Another popular attraction around the area is the tourist railroad. Fortunately for rail fans, there are several in or near Chester County.

The West Chester Railroad (Market Street Station, West Chester, 610-430-2233, www.westchesterrr.net) is running its special “Summer Picnic Special” trains every Sunday now through September 22.

The round-trip train ride travels to the village of Glen Mills and back and lasts for 90 minutes. During the brief layover in Glen Mills, riders can explore the historic Pennsylvania Railroad station and have a snack in the railroad’s picnic grove along the Chester Creek.

Riders can order a boxed lunch when they purchase their tickets online. Sandwich choices are ham and cheese hoagies, turkey and cheese hoagies, and PB&J. All lunches, which are made fresh, come with chips, fruit, drink and cookies.

Additionally, the lunches are packed in a special reusable lunch bag emblazoned with the WCRR logo. Tickets for the train rides are $15 for adults, $13 for children ages 2-12 and free for kids under two.

The Wilmington & Western Railroad (2201 Newport Gap Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, www.wwrr.com) is back up and running with the Mount Cuba Meteor excursion.

You can take a leisurely 1.5-hour round-trip ride up the Red Clay Valley to the Mt. Cuba Picnic Grove, where you’ll enjoy a 30-minute layover to have a picnic or simply admire the natural surroundings. The Mt. Cuba Meteor excursion is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon outside with family or friends.

This event is powered by one of the railroad’s historic first-generation diesel locomotives.

The New Hope & Ivyland Railroad (32 West Bridge St, New Hope, 215- 862-2332, www.newhoperailroad.com) officially re-opened on September 4.

Riders can enjoy a traditional American railroad experience on a heritage train, departing from the 1891 Witch’s Hat Train Station in New Hope, Pennsylvania. On the “Traditional Excursion,” passengers will take part in a 45-minute, round-trip train ride through scenic Bucks County on the “New Hope Branch” route, which was originally part of the North-East Pennsylvania Railroad, later the Reading Railroad.

Passengers will ride aboard beautifully restored vintage (early 1900’s) passenger coaches while a narrator will provide them with interesting historical facts and stories of significant cultural locations along the route. The train will travel to Lahaska, Pennsylvania where it will then change direction and return to New Hope.

A variety of seating options are available on the “Tradition Excursions” — “First Class Bar Car,” “Antique Seat Coach” or “Open Air Car.”

Coach tickets are $23.99 for adults, $21.99 for children (ages 2-11) and $4.99 for toddlers.

The Strasburg Railroad (Route 741, Strasburg, 717-687-7522, www.strasburgrailroad.com) is  running its regular trains beginning August 28 and hosting its  “Day Out With Thomas” event on select dates in September and October.

There is a mutual love affair between kids and Thomas the Tank Engine which is especially evident when Thomas gets up-close and personal with his fans during his visits to the Strasburg Railroad.

Every year, the steam locomotive named Thomas makes several visits to Lancaster County where he entertains enthusiastic children and their parents.

For more than 50 years, Thomas the Tank Engine and his Island of Sodor friends have been favorites of preschoolers and their parents. Based on “The Railway Series” (classic stories authored by a father who loved trains and wanted a shared experience with his son), “Thomas & Friends” has evolved into a rite of passage that inspires imagination.

Fans will be able to get personal with Thomas the Tank Engine, a full-sized operating steam locomotive who will be talking for the first time ever. And, they will also be able to ride a train pulled by Thomas and meet the locomotive’s buddy Percy.

The tourist rail line’s regular excursion train rides are 45-minutes in length (4.5 miles east and 4.5 miles returning west on the same track).

Tickets are $15.50 for adults and $8.50 for children (ages 2-11).

Choo Choo Barn – Traintown U.S.A. (226 Gap Rd, Route 741 East, Strasburg, https://www.choochoobarn.com/)

Experience one of America’s largest, most engaging custom model train displays. Choo Choo Barn features more than 1,700 square feet of special model train displays with more than 150 hand-built animated figures and vehicles, and 22 operating trains.

The layout represents many Lancaster sights and sounds, such as an authentic Amish barn raising, Dutch Wonderland and the Strasburg Railroad.

During peak periods, the staff may need to limit the number of families inside the layout. This may require you to wait outside until enough space clears. Our sidewalk is covered in the event of rain. During peak periods, the site may limit the number of trips around the layout to one.

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