What To Do: With warmer weather, time to get outdoors

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Paoli Battlefield Park

It seems as if warm spring weather has finally arrived. That means it’s a great time to visit attractions such as horticultural sites, zoos and historic sites – and a great time to do some walking.

A special “Paoli Battlefield Walking Tour” (pbpfinc.org) will be held on April 10 and repeated on May 8.

Participants are invited to walk the hallowed ground of the Paoli Battlefield in Malvern this Saturday (weather permitting) where they will be able to learn what happened there on the night of September 20,1777 – what the events were that led to this battle being called the “Paoli Massacre”.

Local historians will serve as tour guides to provide answers to visitors’ questions as they participate in the walking tour of the battlefield.

The tours run from 1:30-3:30 p.m. and will start at the Malvern Arts Building, which is located across from the street from the Malvern Borough Building at 146 Channing Avenue.

Tour participants will not be allowed inside the Malvern Arts building, church buildings or the Malvern Borough because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Those taking the tour are advised to wear appropriate footwear for walking around the battlefield and the trails in the woods.

Tour tickets are $20.

Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center

The “Peak Bloom” dates for Philadelphia’s lovely cherry blossoms have arrived and Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center (Horticultural and Lansdowne drives, Philadelphia, japanphilly.org) is one of the best places to enjoy this visual spectacle.

Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center is a traditional Japanese house and garden located in West Fairmount Park.

A hidden gem in Philly’s sprawling Fairmount Park, Shofuso is ready to receive visitors safely, all while enjoying the beauty of the blooms to come. The site will be open for visitation Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. through December 12.

A new attraction this year is the just-completed Pebble Beach alongside the central pond. Based on newly discovered 1957 drawings made by Shofuso’s original garden designer Tansai Sano, Shofuso brought to life a traditional Su-hama Pebble Beach on the garden’s boat-landing shoreline.

This archetypal Japanese Garden motif invokes the spirit of the pebble strewn shorelines of Kyoto’s Kamo River and the rocky coasts of Japan by incorporating elegantly designed stretches of pebbled beach along a garden pond’s lowest contours.

Adult admission is $12; senior citizens, students with ID and children ages 5-17 admission is $8; ACCESS card holders’ admission is $2; and JASGP members, active-duty military with ID and children under 5 are admitted free.

One of the best ways to celebrate the arrival of spring is a visit to Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) to check out “Spring Blooms,” which is running now through May 2.

Longwood Gardens

Thousands of blooming spring bulbs create a lush tapestry of color, fragrance, and warmth across the Gardens’ 1,100 acres throughout April.

Indoors, Longwood’s Main Conservatory is bursting with spectacular color as jasmine, anemones, lilies, and hydrangeas take center stage.

During peak bloom, expected in mid-April, weather permitting, Longwood’s historic 600-foot-long Flower Garden Walk boasts more than 200,000 tulips and other seasonal blooms in a patchwork of color.

In the Idea Garden, a combination of pink, peach, and yellow tulips are complimented by a ribbon of blue flowering bulbs providing a harmonious vista.

In the Ornamental Kitchen Garden, frost-tolerant spring vegetables—peas, broccoli, kale, arugula, cabbage, spinach, carrots, radishes, scallions, cilantro, and lettuce—begin to take form.

Guests will also want to soak in Longwood’s inviting and expansive Meadow Garden as Carolina silverbells, Eastern redbuds, flowering dogwoods, and sweet azaleas spring into beauty. Grand treehouses, whimsical topiaries, and tranquil forests add to the beauty of spring.

In addition to the glorious spring color, Longwood fountains also begin to jet back to life.

In mid-April, the Italian Water Garden and Open Air Theatre fountains delight guests, while Main Fountain Garden daytime and evening performances return May 6.

As always, admission by “Timed Ticket” — tickets issued for specific dates and times. Timed ticketing limits the number of people in the Gardens at any given time and allows guests to enjoy minimal lines and a better viewing experience.

You may enter the Gardens up to 30 minutes prior and 30 minutes after your designated time. Make every effort to arrive at your designated reservation time. Earlier or later arrivals may not be accommodated.

Admission to Longwood Gardens is $25 for adults, $22 for seniors (ages 62 and older) and college students, $18 for active military and veterans and $13 for youth (ages 5-18).

Another great option for walking outdoors and enjoying flowers in bloom is Tyler Arboretum (515 Painter Road, Media, 610-566-9134, www.tylerarboretum.org).

“Weekday Bird Walks: Limited Edition” are scheduled for every Wednesday in April from 8-10 a.m. Participants can join Sue Lucas and Sara Boucas-Neto on morning bird walks at Tyler.

With acres of unbroken forest interior and extensive meadows, Tyler is recognized by the Pennsylvania Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area. Participants are asked to bring their own binoculars and be prepared to walk on all types of surfaces. Walks are rain or shine. Tickets are $15 and include admission to Tyler for the day.

“Weekday Wildflower Walks, Limited Edition” are also scheduled for every Wednesday in April from 11:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m. each day.

Participants will join wildflower experts Dick Cloud and Richard Brenner and discover the multitude of wildflowers that are in flower, fruit and perhaps a stage in-between. These walks are for those who have a love of plants, their role in ecology, or for those who want to learn more.

Instructions are to wear comfortable hiking shoes, bring a camera and/or a wildflower guide and enjoy a botanical-filled walk.

Tickets are $15 and include admission to Tyler for the day.

“Dog Days” at Elmwood Park Zoo

Elmwood Park Zoo (1661 Harding Boulevard, Norristown, www.elmwoodparkzoo.org) is putting out the welcome mat for its canine friends and hosting “Dog Days” on April 9, 21 and 23 from 1-5 p.m.

The Zoo posted this message:

Families often consider their pets as members, and many enjoy sharing adventures with their dogs! As animal lovers, we acknowledge that a love of wildlife often goes hand-in-hand with pet ownership. We are excited to encourage a deeper appreciation for all animals by inviting owners to bring their dogs to visit the zoo on select days.

All guests visiting the zoo with a furry friend must complete an online waiver and submit required documents before visiting the zoo. You must upload a copy of your most recent veterinary visit, including proof of vaccine and heartworm test here. All items will be required for you to attend Dog Days.

Pricing is $10.95 per dog with each additional dog at $9.95. Regular zoo admission is required for all humans.

This weekend, the zoo will have another special event – an “Oscar Meyer Weinermobile Visit.”

The road-worthy 27-foot-long hot dog on wheels will visit the zoo on April 11 from 12:30-5 p.m.

Philadelphia Zoo

Another new zoo attraction can be found at the Philadelphia Zoo (3400 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, https://philadelphiazoo.org/) – “BIG TIME: Life in an Endangerous Age.”

Running from March 29-September 30, “BIG TIME: Life in an Endangerous Age” is an immersive, multi-sensory experience featuring 24 enormous animatronic creatures who take visitors on a prehistoric journey starting 66 million years ago.

“BIG TIME: Life in an Endangerous Age” is just one of many, many exciting animal attractions at the legendary zoo.

Animals are on the move like never before at Philadelphia Zoo with Zoo360, a first-in-the-world system of see-through trails passing through treetops, crossing over pathways and connecting habitats, giving animals like amazing big cats, majestic primates and marvelous meerkats the opportunities to travel and explore.

“America’s First Zoo” will provide guest with the opportunity to observe young western lowland gorillas, baby sloth bear cub, giraffes, hippos, white rhino, zebras, Amur tigers and more.

Visitors can explore the Zoo’s 42-acre Victorian garden and enjoy award-winning exhibits like Big Cat Falls and the PECO Primate Reserve.

Philadelphia Zoo is the second highest ticketed attraction in Philadelphia and one of the region’s foremost conservation organizations. It is home to nearly 1,300 animals – many of which are rare and endangered.

Zoo admission is $24 for adults (12 and over), $19 for children (ages 2-11) and free for children (under two). “BIG TIME” requires an additional admission fee which is $6 for adults and children (age two and older) and free for children (under two).

Winterthur Museum

At Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (Route 52, Wilmington, Delaware, www.winterthur.org), which has 25 miles of walking trails, visitors will be able to enjoy the tapestry of color in the garden at a variety of locations.

Guests can follow the white arrows to discover the “must see” areas in April and May. The path changes weekly, along with the blooms.

This week’s highlights include the soft yellows in the Winterhazel Walk and the lavender Korean rhododendrons above a carpet of hellebores.

Nearby, the pink Korean rhododendrons flower under cherries, and the magnolias in the Sundial Garden are starting to bloom.

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.

Winterthur’s 1,000 acres encompass rolling hills, streams, meadows, and forests. Founder Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969) developed an appreciation of nature as a boy that served as the basis for his life’s work in the garden.

He selected the choicest plants from around the world to enhance the natural setting, arranging them in lyrical color combinations and carefully orchestrating a succession of bloom from late January to November. Du Pont translated his love of the land into a unified work of art that embodies a romantic vision of nature’s beauty.

Admission to Winterthur is $20 for adults. $18 for seniors and students (with valid ID), $6 for children (ages 2-11) and free for infants (under 2).

There also options for special walks where participants might be joined by fellow walkers who are unseen but can be felt.

Grim Philly’s “Dark Philly History Tour” (www.grimphilly.com) will be held every evening throughout the summer.

Participants can walk with tour guides from the grounds of America’s first White House, Congress, and Liberty Bell to homes and sites of Hamilton, Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and more than 10 other Founding-Fathers. The surprising dirt of espionage, murder, sexual license and blackmail highlight the secrets of 1776 with a ghost story or two along the way. This tour is highly researched. And your guide is a historian.

Grim Philly will also be presenting “Serial Killers & Cemetery Tour” every Saturday at 2 p.m.

Participants will have the opportunity to experience unconventional sightseeing off the beaten path. They can enjoy Betsy Ross House, Christ Church, Elfreth’s Alley, and Benjamin Franklin’s Grave, together with tales of serial slayings and psychopathic killers like the Corpse Collector, Frankfort Slasher, and H.H. Holmes.

Ghost Tour of Philadelphia (215-413-1997, www.ghosttour.com), Ghost Tour of Lancaster (717-687-6687, www.ghosttour.com) and Ghost Tour of Strasburg (717-687-6687, www.ghosttour.com) operate throughout the winter and offer an eerily entertaining evening of true ghost stories and real haunted houses.

The Ghost Tour of Philadelphia, which is based on the book, “Ghost Stories of Philadelphia, PA.,” is a candlelight walking tour along the back streets and secret gardens of Independence Park, Society Hill, and Old City, where ghostly spirits, haunted houses, and eerie graveyards abound.

Participants can discover the ghost lore of America’s most historic and most haunted city with stories from the founding of William Penn’s colony to present-day hauntings.

The activity is open year-round – weekends, December-February; every night, March-November. Tickets are $24.

The Ghost Tour of Lancaster and the Ghost Tour of Strasburg are based on the book, “Ghost Stories of Lancaster, PA.”

Participants in the Ghost Tour of Lancaster explore the long-forgotten mysteries of one of America’s oldest cities, with haunting tales of otherworldly vigils, fatal curses, and star-crossed lovers. The tour provides the opportunity to experience 300 years of haunted history from the Red Rose City’s thorny past. Tickets are $18.

The Ghost Tour of Strasburg is a candlelight walking tour of the quaint and historic town of Strasburg in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Visitors will experience an entertaining evening with a costumed tour guide spinning tales of haunted mansions, eerie graveyards, and spirits that roam the night … in a town lost in time. Tickets are $18.

If you’re looking to do some walking indoors, consider Wonderspaces.

Wonderspaces at the Fashion District (27 North 11th Street, Philadelphia, philadelphia.wonderspaces.com) is an experiential, interactive arts venue.

Building on the success of annual pop-up shows in San Diego, and its first permanent location in Scottsdale, Arizona, Wonderspaces opened a 24,000 square foot gallery space in Philly a year ago.


Wonderspaces features 14 art installations that all play with the idea of perspective.  The artwork ranges from award-winning virtual reality short film about a dinner party-turned-alien abduction, to a room where visitors digitally paint the walls with the movement of their bodies.

New artworks rotate in every few months, creating an ever-evolving, year-round show.

Tickets are for entry at a specific date and time. Visitors are welcome to stay as long as they please during operating hours. The average time spent experiencing the show is 90 minutes.

A few installations contain flashing lights, images, and patterns that may trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy. All visitors must sign a waiver prior to being admitted into the space. Adult supervision is required for visitors under 16.

If you haven’t had your fill of Easter activities yet, there are two activities still going on That might pique your interest.

Supermarkets and pharmacies selling Easter candy at greatly reduced prices is one of them.

The other is “Elmo’s Eggstravaganza Easter Celebration” at Sesame Place (100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, www.sesameplace.com).

The amusement park’s “Easter Celebration” opened on March 27 and is running through April 18.

Guests can safely visit Sesame Place for a good time with rides, shows, surprise mini parades and special Easter fun with everyone’s favorite furry friends.
Visitors to the park can get physically distant photos with the Easter Bunny in his Bunny Picture Patch, take a spin on their favorite rides, and participate in an interactive Easter Egg Scavenger hunt

They can also dance, sing, and hop along with their Sesame Street friends at the “Furry Friends Bunny Hop Dance Party.” A physically distanced, interactive dance party located near Oscar’s Wacky Taxi.

Ticket prices start at $49.99.

The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (Station Avenue, Oaks, www.phillyexpocenter.com) is hosting the East Coast Reptile Super Expo featuring hundreds of live snakes and reptiles on April 10.

A wide array of reptiles will be on display as part of the popular exhibition. One of the show’s main attractions is a sales exhibit area featuring a large number of vendors with live reptiles, amphibians and arachnids as well as food items, supplies, books, cages, and related accessories.

The roster of very diverse vendors includes AZO Reptiles, Rose’s Reptiles, Blake’s Exotic Reptiles, Reptile Kingdom, DHA Pythons, Gecko Haven, Hunger Reptiles, Jungle Emporium, Blackheart Reptiles, Delaware Turtle, Just Lizards and Outback Reptiles.

The list also includes RKZ Rodents. Monstar Reptiles, Turtle to Turtle, Delaware Valley Herpetarium, Newville Dragons, PM Herps, Jay Jacoby Serpent Propagation, Black Jungle Terrarium Supply, VSCV Ventures LLC, Dachiu Dragons, Tom Rogan Reptiles, Native Exotics.

Other featured vendors will be Heath’s Frog Farm, Corralus Creations, Rogue Reptiles LLC, Jason R Bartolett Captive Bred Reptiles, Fowler Reptiles, Dragon Fortress, Turtle Towns, Garden State Tortoise LLC, Reptile Addicts, MCO Reptiles. A.M. Snakes, Charm City Glam Charms, Dragontown Reptiles and J&R Constrictors.

The East Coast Reptile Super Expo, which is always a well-attended event, will run from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. this Saturday. Tickets are $10 with children (under five) admitted free.

On April 10, it’s time for “Vietnam War Living History Day.”

The event, which will run from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., is being hosted by Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial (62 Battleship Place, Camden, New Jersey, www.battleshipnewjersey.org) to commemorate the anniversary of the re-commissioning of the USS New Jersey into the Vietnam War on April 6, 1968.

Guests touring the Battleship on April 10 can experience Vietnam War artifacts and re-enactors in addition to a tour of the World’s Greatest Battleship. The Museum will even be playing 60s music over the pier’s speakers.

Tour tickets are $24.95 for adults and $19.95 for children (ages 5-11), veterans and seniors (62 and older).

Every Saturday and Sunday through May 23, the Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-388-6221, http://www.chaddsford.com) will present “Taste of Spring — Reserve Tastings.”

Visitors are invited to join the winery staff for an intimate and educational 60-minute experience in the newly renovated Barrel Room, and be one of the first to taste the highly-anticipated ’20 Sparkling Rosé before it is released to the public.

Chaddsford’s trained staff will guide guests through a pre-selected tasting of five diverse and award-winning wines from across the winerys’s portfolio. The selections will be paired with seasonal local cheeses and other accoutrements.

Also featured will be discussions about topics such as grape growing conditions at the winery’s partner vineyards and the onsite winemaking process from production to aging and bottling.

“Reserve Tastings” are $35 per person. There will be three seatings per day – noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Advanced reservations are required and are non-refundable.

Chester County’s roster of top-flight wineries has just been reduced by one.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions and other factors, many restaurants, small businesses, and entertainment venues have closed permanently.

Black Walnut Winery (3000 Lincoln Highway, Sadsburyville, 610-857-5566, www.blackwalnutwinery.com) has joined the ranks of “Another one bites the dust.”

The winery’s website posted the following message:

Thank you for everything!
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the closure of the Black Walnut Winery in Sadsburyville effective March 29, 2021. Please note that we will continue to sell wine by the bottle and the glass and offer wine tastings (by reservation) in the cellar of the building on Saturdays and Sundays from noon-6 p.m. now through June 2021, so please join us for “Weekends in the Wine Cellar” on Saturdays and Sundays in April, May and June.

Access to Black Walnut Winery after March 28 will be via the access drive/through the double barn doors into the cellar. We will have yard signs posted to help guide you to the cellar.

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