What To Do: Summer winds down, but fairs and fests abound in the area

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Ukrainian Independence Folk Festival

The weekend at the end of August and Labor Day Weekend always have an amazing number of annual events with long histories. Some of this weekend’s events have impressive annual numbers – 32 for a Ukrainian festival, 44 for a Renaissance event, 28 for a summer fest and 171 (not a typo) for the Allentown Fair.

One event has particular relevance because of the horrendous history that is being made right now.

On August 27, the Ukrainian Independence Folk Festival at the Tryzub Ukrainian American Sport Center (County Line and Lower State roads, Horsham, www.tryzub.org) will celebrate its 32nd anniversary from noon-8 p.m.

The event is billed as “A resplendent outdoor summer concert marking Ukraine’s independence, the unity of her people, their struggle for freedom and dignity and Ukraine’s entry into the family of advanced democratic nations.”

The artists (dance troupes, musicians, singers and ensembles that have performed in previous years) have created a dynamic and integrated collaborative program.

Tryzub posted this message on the festival website – “The artists (dance troupes, musicians, singers and ensembles that have performed in previous years) have created a dynamic and integrated collaborative program. Recent events in Ukraine, the Euromaidan Protest and Revolution of Dignity as well as the Ukrainian peoples’ twilight struggle against unlawful, unjustified and heinous Russian armed aggression, have forged a unified Ukrainian national identity, both in Ukraine and in the Diaspora. America’s support of Ukraine’s commitment to a self-determined democratic future — to life, liberty, freedom and justice — has created permanent bonds of friendship between the two nations. This year’s festival honors these special relationships and developments and robustly salutes the zeal, valor, and dedication of the Ukrainian people.”

The festival, which is one of the most popular late-summer ethnic festivals in the area, starts at noon with children’s activities, vendor areas with Ukrainian crafts, food booths and live music.

The live entertainment at the festival includes performances by Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, violinist Innesa Tymochko Dekajlo, singer/songwriter Iryna Lonchyna, Carpathia Folk Dance Ensemble, Efsane Crimean Tatar Ensemble, Vox Ethica Ensemble, Ferko String Band and Yuliya Stupen.

There also will be vendors selling a wide variety of mouth-watering Ukrainian foods such as pyrohy (pierogies), holuptsi (stuffed cabbage) and kowbasa (kielbasa). Other items available for purchase include baked goods, picnic fare and cold beverages.

If you purchase online, print out ticket and bring it with you for entry.

Admission to the festival at the gate is $15 for adults and free for children (14 and under.)

$5 of each paid admission will be donated to Humanitarian Aid for Victims of War in Ukraine.

Allentown Fair

When it comes to festivals in North America, the Allentown Fair (17th and Chew Street, Allentown, www.allentownfairpa.org) is without a doubt one of the oldest – if not the oldest. It’s an event that has been drawing large crowds ever since ’52 – that’s 1852.

The popular Allentown Fair was first staged in October 1852 when the Lehigh County Agricultural Society held its first fair. The huge annual fair in Allentown is still one of the state’s premier late-summer attractions.

Now known as “The Great Allentown Fair”, the 2023 edition runs from August 30 until September . It will be the fair’s 171st anniversary this year.

The Allentown Fair is a fun-filled event that spans generations and appeals to people of all ages. The multi-day event at the Allentown Fairgrounds features thousands of farm, garden and home exhibits and competitions along with thrill rides, amusement games, variety acts, international food and some of the top entertainers currently on tour.

The Grandstand Stage’s 2023 schedule features Styx / REO Speedwagon – Aug. 30; Tyler Hubbard – Aug. 31; Nelly – Sept. 1; Yung Gravy – Sept. 2; Keith Urban – Sept. 3; and J & J Demolition Derby – Sept. 4.

The fair’s list of daily entertainment attractions also includes Magic on the Farm, Scott Wagstaff Puppetry and Ventriloquism, Dialed Action BMX Stunt Show, FLIPPENOUT Trampoline Show, Glenn Miller—The BIG One Man Band, The Flying Wallendas, “Robinson’s Pig Paddling Porkers,” “Squawk! The Amazing Bird Show,” Moodonna, and “4-H Barnyard Zoo.”

As always, amusement games and rides are one of the fair’s main attractions. This year, the Great Allentown Fair will again feature thrilling rides and games of skill and chance presented by Powers Great American Midways.

There will also be a wide array of agricultural competitions and exhibits each day at the fair. Tickets are $10 for adults with children under 12 admitted free.

Another popular event just outside the Philadelphia Metro area is the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire (Mount Hope Estate and Winery grounds, Route 72, Cornwall, www.parenfaire.com).

This year’s 44th annual staging of the event, which bills itself as “the most wondrous event in all the Knowne World”, is running now through October 29. The festive annual event features authentic Elizabethan food and drink, traditional crafts from the guildsmen of yore and old-time games of skill — and a cast of hundreds of colorfully costumed re-enactors.

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. This year’s Faire will take you back in time to the year 1558.

More than 70 shows are scheduled throughout each day on the Faire’s numerous stages.

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.

And there are more than 20 Royal Kitchens located around the faire with menus featuring a wide variety of food and beverage.

Single-day tickets are available at the gate for $32.95. For children (age 5-11) single-day tickets are available at the gate and online for $16.95.

One of the most popular late-summer events in southeastern Pennsylvania will take place this weekend in Lancaster County.

The 2023 New Holland Summer Fest (New Holland Community Memorial Park, 400 East Jackson Street, New Holland, http://nhsummerfest.org) will be held August 25 and 26 and will feature the “Pennsylvania State Championship BBQ Cook-Off.”

New Holland Summer Fest, which is closing in on its 30th anniversary, is a National KCBS Certified Barbecue competition. Each year, 72 teams from around the country descend upon New Holland Community Memorial Park for a weekend of competition and fun.

The Grand Champion automatically receives an entry to the American Royal Contest in Kansas City, Missouri.

The barbecue competition is a major drawing card, but the event also has all that you would expect from a country fair — food vendors, children’s activities and souvenir concession stands.

For the kids, there will be face painting, “Tag-Along,” a clown teaching how to make animal balloons and “Kid’s Q” where they can learn how to barbecue.

The family-oriented event and the Friday evening concert are free and open to the public. All proceeds from the weekend’s activities benefit Garden Spot Fire Rescue Co. and the New Holland Community Park.

Hot Wheels are rolling into Philadelphia this weekend.

On August 25 and 26, the Wells Fargo Center (3601 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, www.wellsfargocenterphilly.com) is hoisting Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live tour.

The popular family entertainment tour brings audiences the only opportunity to watch their favorite Hot Wheels Monster Trucks – Mega Wrex™, Tiger Shark™, Boneshaker™, Bigfoot® and more, plus the all-new Gunkster™ as they light up the floor in outrageous monster trucks competitions and battles.

Event performances will also feature a dazzling dance party, spectacular laser light shows and Hot Wheels toy giveaways. Plus, a special appearance from the car-eating, fire-breathing transforming robot MEGASAURUS, and the electrifying high-flyers of Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live, Freestyle Motocross.

The exciting Crash Zone Pre-Show Party will be held 2.5 hours before every performance. The unique experience provides fans access to the competition floor to see the outrageous designs and epic size of the Hot Wheels Monster Trucks. Each pass includes an autograph card plus a souvenir pass and lanyard exclusive to Crash Zone attendees.

Show times are 12:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Ticket prices start at $32 for adults and $16 for kids.

This weekend, the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Avenue, Oaks, phillyexpocenter.com) will host “Jurassic Quest.”

Billed as “North America’s largest and most realistic dinosaur event,” the attraction will run from August 25-27.

Guests are presented with the opportunity to walk through the Cretaceous, Jurassic and Triassic Periods and experience for themselves what it was like to be among dinosaurs of all kinds.

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 gone to extremes to bring the dinosaurs to life.

“Jurassic Quest” exhibits also allow future paleontologists to dig up fossils, ride their favorite life-sized dinosaur, enjoy walking dinosaur and baby dinosaur shows, and enjoy a dinosaur themed play land in addition to face painting, crafts and much more.

Ticket prices are $36 child admission with unlimited rides, $22 general admission (ages 2 and up), $19 senior, and free (under 2).

The 10th Annual Delaware Burger Battle will be held on August 26 at the Rockford Tower (2000 Lookout Drive, Wilmington, Delaware, www.deburgerbattle.com).

Every year since 2012, Delaware’s most competitive chefs have gathered their grills to battle it out for burger supremacy at the Delaware Burger Battle. In nine years, more than 30,000 burgers have been served.

The battle has welcomed more than 50 competing restaurants, 5,000 guests, thousands of beers and has raised more than $50,000 for charity.

Once you enter the arena, you’re free to go from booth-to-booth sampling burgers from all the participating restaurants. Most people can’t complete the circuit.

Tickets also include adult beverages and soft drinks.

This is a rain or shine event, as well as all ages. Free parking is available nearby, and shuttles are provided.

Tickets are $60 for adults, $30 for designated drivers and teens and $10 for children (ages 5-12).

Bento Con is coming to the Claymont Community Center (3301 Green Street, Claymont, Delaware, claymontcenter.org) on August 26.

Bento Con is a small comic book convention that will take place at the hall in Claymont from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Bento is a Japanese word that means small and compact. Many people use bento boxes to make their lunches and snacks.

Like the bento box, this event will be small, compact but full of incredibly talented people from all over the tri-state area –artists, vendors and writers that cater to fans of comic books, anime, cartoons and video games that have become part of mainstream culture.

Another eating and dining event will be held in the area this weekend – in Bucks County at Fonthill Castle (130 East Swamp Road, Doylestown, www.mercermuseum.org).

Fonthill Castle will host its seventh annual end-of summer Beer Fest on August 26 from 2-5 p.m.

The brew-oriented event will feature quality drafts from more than 35 local and regional breweries in the beautiful outdoor setting of Fonthill Castle.

Guests at Saturday’s festival will also be able to enjoy music, dine on light fare and receive a commemorative beer tasting glass.

General admission tickets, which are $75, include unlimited beer tastings.  All guests must be 21 years of age or older and have a valid ID to attend. Tickets are non-refundable. The event will be held rain or shine — unless weather conditions are hazardous.

Beer will also be an attraction at Hagley Museum and Library (Buck Road East entrance via Route 100, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-658-2400, www.hagley.org) which is hosting “Summer Nights at Hagley” on August 30 from 5-8 p.m.

Visitors to Hagley can enjoy an after-work hike or a picnic along the Brandywine’s most beautiful mile on summer Wednesday evenings from June through August.

It isa a family event featuring summer fun in a beautiful outdoor setting. Guests can bring a picnic to enjoy at Hagley’s picnic pavilion on Workers’ Hill or at a picnic table along the Brandywine.

Dogfish Head craft beer and Woodside Farm Creamery ice cream are also available for purchase. You are welcome to bring your own food to “Summer Nights at Hagley,” but outside alcohol is strictly prohibited.

Admission is $5 per person and free for Hagley members and children five and under. Please note that this event is weather-dependent.

On August 27, Hagley will present this month’s installment of “Cannon Firings.”

Guests can have a blast during their visit to Hagley by watching a demonstration of the museum’s signal cannon.

Demonstrations take place at 1, 2, and 3 p.m.

Please note that cannon firings are weather-dependent.

The “Cannon Firings” are included with admission and free for Hagley members.

Admission is $20 Adults, $16 Seniors (62+) and Students, and $10 Children 6-14.

Fort Mifflin (Fort Mifflin and Hog Island roads, Philadelphia, www.fortmifflin.us) is hosting “Pirate Day” on August 26 starting at 10 a.m.

There will be pirates on Mud Island.

Visitors can learn the early history of the Fort, and why the British chose to build a fortification on Mud Island.

Merriment and mischief, hands on activities, scavenger hunt, tours and weapons demonstrations will be featured – and possibly a pirate attack.

Guests can enjoy singing along with the Sea Dogs during their concert at 1 p.m.

If visitors want to see the Fort as the pirates might have seen it, they can take a cruise on the Schooner Northwind. Tickets available for one-hour sails will be available at the dock adjacent to the Fort. Cruise passengers must have a Pirate Day ticket.

Tickets for Pirate Day are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for children and veterans.

If you travel south as few miles from Fort Mifflin, you can switch from pirates to wildlife.

The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum (8601 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, www.fws.gov/refuge/John_Heinz) has an attractive morning event scheduled for this weekend.

On August 26, the site will host “Beginner Bird Walk with Karin Marcus.”

If visitors want to start birding in a supportive community, this is the event for them.

This beginner program will guide participants through the basics of using binoculars and common birds of the refuge.

The walks will begin in the Visitor Center, where binoculars are available for loan.

The event, which is scheduled for 11 a.m., is free with no registration needed.

The Official Historic Philadelphia Walking Tour is scheduled for August 26 and September 2 starting at the Philadelphia Visitor Center (599 Market Street, Philadelphia, www.phlvisitorcenter.com).

The Official Historic Philadelphia Walking Tour will feature a Historic Philadelphia History Maker transporting visitors back in time on a loop through America’s most historic square mile. All History Makers portray real people from America’s past and deliver an authentic experience rich with historical content and first-person narrative. The tour will last about 45 minutes.

Highlights of the tour will stop outside of President’s House, Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Congress Hall, and Franklin Court. The tour guide, portraying a real person from Philadelphia’s Colonial era, will rotate among three History Makers.

Tickets are $18 for adults and $9 for children.

On August 26, Laurel Hill Cemetery (3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, www.thelaurelhillcemetery.org) will present “Sacred Spaces and Storied Places” walking tour at 10 a.m.

In life and in death, we all have stories to tell, and what better place to hear tales of wonder than Philadelphia’s most famous home of the dead?

This tour provides an informative overview of Laurel Hill’s long history, which includes many of the marble masterpieces, stunning views, and legendary stories about Laurel Hill.

The Tour Guide will be Nicole Tell.

Tickets, which must be purchased in advance, are: $15/General Admission; $13/Seniors (65 & Up); $7.50/Youth (6-12). Youth and children must be accompanied by an adult.

Now through August 27, the Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, http://www.chaddsford.com) is presenting “Reserve Tastings — Something Sweet.”

Guests can savor some sweetness in the Barrel Room. The winery’s latest pairing experience highlights wines that are brimming with flavor and decadence.

Steuben. Concord. Niagara. These grapes are the building blocks of its popular sweet wine portfolio. Far too often, these wines, and the grapes that make them, are written off as inferior to their vitis vinifera counterparts.

Chaddsford Winery begs to differ and states that these wines are fun, distinctive, and very, very versatile. This month’s reserve tasting is designed to celebrate the unique characteristics of the wide-ranging sweet wines with salty, floral, and decadent dessert pairings.

The trained staff will guide visitors through a pre-selected tasting of five widely diverse wines from across the winery’s portfolio alongside artisan cheeses and other accoutrements. During this intimate and educational 60-minute experience, they will discuss topics such as grape growing conditions at partner vineyards and the onsite winemaking process from production to aging and bottling.

The “Pairing Line Up” is Greeting Wine: 2022 Sparkling White; Good Vibes Only with Manchego Wine Chips; Sunset Blush with Noblette and Strawberry Lavender Jam; Sangria with Cocina Dorada chips and salsa; and Niagara with Niagara-Pear infused gelato from Gemelli Gelato

Chaddsford Winery is also hosting “Wine Down” on Thursdays and Fridays now through September 2 from 5-8 p.m. each night.

“Wine Down” will feature live music on Thursday evening and Quizzo trivia games on Fridays.

In addition to wine available by the glass, there will be food items provided by Common Good Pizza.

The schedule for live music is — August 24, Chris Peace; and August 31, Caroline Quinn.

Penns Woods Winery (124 Beaver Valley Road, Chadds Ford, http://www.pennswoodswinery.com) is presenting a summer music series.

The winery will open at 11 a.m. each day and have matinee performances of live music.

There will be music by Jason Ager from 2-5 p.m. on August 27 and Allison Landon from 2-5 p.m. on August 27.

The Brandywine Valley has quite a few museums and tourist sites that provide residents and tourists ideal opportunities to spend leisure time — and you can maximize your effort if you take advantage of the 2023 Brandywine Treasure Trail Passport.

The cost is $49 for an individual pass and $99 for a family pass (for up to five family members).

The Brandywine Treasure Trail Passport is good for one-time admission to Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley’s top attractions now through October 31.

A family pass, which includes one-day admission to each of 12 sites, can bring a savings of over $200 for the holders — especially since many of the participating institutions have regular admission fees in double figures.

The list of locations covered by the Brandywine Treasure Trail Passport includes Longwood Gardens, Delaware Museum of Nature and Science, Brandywine River Museum, Delaware Art Museum, Delaware History Museum, Hagley Museum and Library, Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts, Nemours Mansion & Gardens, Read House and Garden, Mt. Cuba Center, Rockwood Museum and Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library.

For more information, call (800) 489-6664 or visit www.visitwilmingtonde.com/bmga/.

Nemours Estate (1600 Rockland Road, Wilmington, Delaware, nemoursestate.org) has come alive with its magnificent gardens.

Originally constructed in 1910, Nemours Mansion is one of Delaware’s grandest buildings and includes the largest formal French garden in North America.

Nemours Estate comprises an exquisite, 77-room Mansion, the largest formal French gardens in North America, a Chauffeur’s Garage housing a collection of vintage automobiles, and 200 acres of scenic woodlands, meadows and lawns.

Nemours was the estate of Alfred I. duPont. Alfred Irénée du Pont was an American industrialist, financier, philanthropist and a member of the influential Du Pont family.

He named the estate Nemours, after the French town that his great-great-grandfather represented in the French Estates General. While looking to the past and his ancestors for inspiration, duPont also ensured that his new home was thoroughly modern by incorporating the latest technology and many of his own inventions.

The Gardens are one of the estate’s prime attractions.

The two elk at the top of the Vista are the work of French sculptor Prosper Lecourtier (1855–1924), a specialist in animal figures. Lined with Japanese cryptomeria, pink flowering horse chestnuts and pin oaks, the Long Walk extends from the Mansion to the Reflecting Pool.

The 157 jets at the center of the one-acre pool shoot water 12 feet into the air; when they are turned off, the entire “Long Walk” is reflected in the pool. The pool, five and a half feet deep in its deepest section, holds 800,000 gallons of water and takes three days to fill. The Art Nouveau-style, classical mythology-based “Four Seasons” around the pool are by French-born American sculptor Henri Crenier (1873–1948).

The entrance is located on the campus of Nemours Children’s Health, follow signs for Nemours Estate.

Admission to Nemours is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $10 for children.

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (5105 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, 800-448-3883, www.winterthur.org) is hosting “Terrific Tuesdays” – a special activity that is running every Tuesday through the end of August.

Visitors will be able to meet the families who lived, worked, and played at Winterthur.

They can engage in crafts, games, and demonstrations inspired by families who called this place home.

There will also be sessions introducing history, art, conservation, and storytelling to kids ages 3–10 and the adults they bring along.

The event, which costs $5, runs from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Winterthur is always a special place to enjoy both history and nature.

There seems to be no end to what’s in bloom — and in almost every corner of the garden.

The garden is a result of the artistic vision of its creator, Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969) and is surrounded by nearly 1,000 acres of meadows, farmland, and waterways.

The views in every direction are important to the whole. The paths are an integral part of the overall design, curving rather than straight, following the contours of the land, passing around trees, and drawing walkers into the garden.

Visitors can explore the garden on foot, or on a narrated tram ride (March-December).
Admission to Winterthur is $22 for adults, $20 for seniors and students and $8 for children.

Historic Odessa (Main Street, Odessa, Delaware, 302-378-4119, www.historicodessa.org) is both a scenic and an historic site in Delaware.

Odessa is one of Delaware’s most historic sites.

Known in the 18th-century as Cantwell’s Bridge, Odessa played a vital role in commercial life along the Delaware River as a busy grain shipping port.

Today, visitors can stroll along tree-lined streets and admire examples of 18th- and 19th-century architecture in one of the best-preserved towns in Delaware. They can also tour a remarkable collection of antiques and Americana preserved in period room settings and quaint exhibits.

Historic Odessa is open to the public from March through December, Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 1-4 p.m.  The site is also open Monday by reservation. General Admission: Adults, $10; Groups, Seniors, Students, $8; and Children under six are free.

Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, www.longwoodgardens.org) is inviting visitors to enjoy the beauty of nature in summer – especially with the “Festival of Fountains,” which will run until September 24.

As the season unfolds, flowering trees delightfully punctuate the landscape, radiant tulips stretch toward the sun, and the delicious fragrance of wisteria floats along the breeze.

Visitors can also enjoy special exhibits at the Orchid House.

Dancing fountains, performances under the stars, and beautiful gardens make the Festival of Fountains at Longwood Gardens magical. The spectacular celebration of music, light, water, and nature includes distinctive garden experiences indoors and out.

Iconic Illuminated Fountain Performances dance, soar, and delight in the Main Fountain Garden Thursday–Saturday evenings. New Illuminated Fountain Performances for 2023 include “Put Me In, Coach,” featuring a variety of sports-related tunes; “Rachmaninov: Power and Passion”; “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift; “Starman” by David Bowie; “To Infinity and Beyond” highlighting beloved songs from animated movie favorites; and “Where the Heart Is” a showcase of coming-home hits by the likes of Bon Jovi and Ed Sheeran. Illuminated Fountain Performances are free with Gardens admission.

Before the fountain performances, guests can sit under the stars and enjoy live music and refreshing brews and pub fare in Longwood’s Beer Garden. Guests can enjoy a variety of selections from Victory Brewing Company, including the Longwood Seasons series brewed with ingredients grown at Longwood.

Regional artists perform live instrumental music, including Hawaiian-Inspired Steel Guitar from Slowey & The Boats, Jazz Age Blues from Drew Nugent & The Midnight Society, Traditional Cuban Son by Conjunto Philadelphia.

There will be two more “Festive Friday” events this year – “I’m a Believer” on September 15 and “Bailando” on October 13.

Admission to Longwood Gardens is $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and college students, $18 for active military and $13 for youth.

Chanticleer (786 Church Street, Wayne, www.chanticleergarden.org), which just opened its 2023 season, is one of them.

The Chanticleer estate dates from the early 20th-century, when land along the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad was developed for summer homes to escape the heat of Philadelphia. Adolph Rosengarten, Sr., and his wife Christine chose the Wayne-St. David’s area to build their country retreat. The family’s pharmaceutical firm eventually became part of Merck & Company in the 1920s.

The garden has evolved greatly since the death of the owner in 1990. As the home of the Rosengartens, Chanticleer was beautiful and green with impressive trees and lawns. Most of the floral and garden development you see today has occurred since 1990 — designed by Chanticleer staff and consultants.
There are seven horticulturists, each responsible for the design, planting, and maintenance of an area. The areas are continually evolving, each with its own feel, yet joined together as one complete unit.

The Teacup Garden and Chanticleer Terraces feature seasonal plants and bold-textured tropical and subtropical plants.
The Tennis Court, Ruin, Gravel Garden, and Pond Garden focus on hardy perennials, both woody and herbaceous.
Asian Woods and Bell’s Woodland are shady areas. The Serpentine celebrates the beauty of agricultural crops.

Admission to Chanticleer is $12 for adults and free for pre-teen children (12 years and under).

Andalusia Historic House, Gardens and Arboretum (1237 State Road, Andalusia, www.andalusia house.org) opened its gates for the 2023 season at the beginning of April.

Located on a wooded promontory overlooking the Delaware River, Andalusia has been a stately presence on this stretch of water, just north of Philadelphia, for more than 200 years. The ancestral home of the Biddle family, Andalusia is also a natural paradise of native woodlands and spectacular gardens that have evolved over time.

Placed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks in 1966, the Big House is one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in the United States.

Its surrounding gardens delight the senses all through the year, from the tumbling, brightly colored leaves of fall to the floral extravaganza of spring and the abundance and scent of summer.

Self-Guided Garden Tours will be available Mondays through Wednesdays from April 4-November 2 (excluding holidays) at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. Picnics are allowed on the grounds (with have a “carry-in, carry-out” policy).

Access to the Big House is not included with this tour, which is $20 per person. There is no charge for children 12 and under.

Big House Tours with Garden Access will be available Mondays through Wednesdays from April 4-November 2 (excluding holidays) at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. Tickets are $30 per person. There is no charge for children 12 and under.

Stoneleigh: A Natural Garden (1829 East County Line Road, Villanova, stoneleighgarden.org/garden/home/) will present a “Home and Garden Tour” on August 26 from 10:30 a.m.-noon.

Formerly a Main Line country estate, Stoneleigh: A Natural Garden opened to the public in 2018.

Dazzling displays of native plants, ancient trees, landscape designs by the Olmsted Brothers, and myriad habitats are highlighted on this guided exploration of Stoneleigh. The spectacular Tudor Revival Main House—which is usually only open for special events—is also included in the tour.

This tour will highlight the transition from beloved family home to public garden through a guided exploration of breathtaking historical landscapes, majestic trees, and the more than 2,000 varieties of native plants.

Guests can learn how the staff created gardens that are beautiful, biodiverse, and beneficial to wildlife.

Tickets for the tour are $15.

The West Chester Railroad (www.westchesterrr.net) is running its “Summer Picnic Specials” every Sunday now through September 18. There will be one excursion each day at noon.

Passengers can enjoy a 90-minute round trip train ride from West Chester to Glen Mills and return on a warm summer afternoon. Riders are invited to pack a lunch to have during excursion’s stop at the Glen Mills train station picnic grove.

Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for children (2-12) and free for children (under two).

The Northern Central Railway (2 West Main Street, New Freedom, www.northerncentralrailway.com) is running special excursions on August 26 called “The Great Southern Train Raid.”

It’s 1863 and the NCRR train is headed for Washington, DC. Rumor is that there’s gold on board. This could mean a train raid.

The Northern Central Railway invites everyone to ride the William H. Simpson No. 17, our replica steam locomotive, through the rolling hills of New Freedom. This will be an exciting weekend filled with adventure and suspense.

This excursion features the Union and Confederate armies skirmishing for control of the train . . . and the gold. (Caution: riders will experience the sights and sounds of gunfire during the ride).

Excursions will depart at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Tickets are $29.99 for adults and $19.99 for children (ages 3-12).

Now through September 3, “Please Touch Museum (4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, www.pleasetouchmuseum.org) is hosting “Big League Fun.”

“Big League Fun” allows visitors to explore the exciting world of Major League Baseball in a new traveling exhibit.”

An event that appeals to all ages, “Big League Fun” focuses on the science and math involved in baseball, and includes training simulations, sports trivia, and more.

According to the museum’s website, “In this exhibit, visitors can:

Create their own play-by-plays using real game clips and sound effects in the Announcer’s Booth

Test their pitching, swinging, and catching skills and get tips

Review tips for proper pitching, take the mound, and pitch into the strike zone — or be the umpire and make the call!

Customize their own baseball cards with favorite team logo. Dress up as the team player and snap a pic!

Interview players, coaches and fans using a real camera and green screen technology

… and more!”

The popular downtown Philadelphia Museum is open every day except Tuesday.

General admission is $22.

On August 26, Heckler Plains Farmstead (237 Landis Road, Harleysville, www.lowersalfordtownship.org) will be the site of the 2023 Hecklerfest.

The popular annual event will start at 10 a.m. and run until 3 p.m.

Visitors will have the opportunity to spend a day in the 1800s at the Historic Heckler Plains Farmstead.

They will be able churn butter, have pie from the State’s oldest working outdoor bake oven, check out the spring house, tour the barn from the 1700s and shop local crafters.
Members of the J.S. Hancock Society will be on hand to re-create life on the farm in the 1800s and members of the Lower Salford Historical Society will be present to provide information on the history of Lower Salford Township.

A Montgomery County Park with a special event this weekend is Pottsgrove Manor (100 West King Street, Pottstown, 610-326-4014, http://montcopa.org/index.aspx?nid=930).

Every Saturday in August, Pottsgrove Manor is presenting “Open House Days.”

Visitors can see something new every Saturday as Pottsgrove Manor highlights items from the collection and welcomes Living History activities throughout the day. They will be able to discover the ins-and-outs of 18th century items with the curator and learn about the trades and skills of the past with living history interpreters.

Visitors can also find historic summer delights being created in the reproduction kitchen from period receipts.

Pottsgrove Manor’s staff and living history volunteers will demonstrate 18th-century trades, crafts, and pastimes. Many of the audience-friendly events are interactive. This event also features free admission.

Hope Lodge (553 South Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, 215-343-0965, http://www.ushistory.org/hope/) will be presenting a “Guided Mansion Tours” on August 20.

Hope Lodge was built between 1743 and 1748 by Samuel Morris, a prosperous Quaker entrepreneur. Morris acted as a farmer, shipowner, miller, iron master, shop owner, and owner of the mill now known as Mather Mill. Hope Lodge is an excellent example of early Georgian architecture, and it is possible that Edmund Woolley, architect of Independence Hall, offered advice in building. Samuel Morris owned the estate until his death in 1770.

The site opens at 12:30 p.m. with self-guided tours starting at 1 and 2:30 p.m. The closes at 4 p.m.

Tour admission is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors (age 65+) and for youth ages 6-17, and fee for children under 5. Hope Lodge is a Blue Star Museum which means that active-duty military personnel, including National Guard and Reserve and their families, are admitted free for regular tours from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

A popular venue where you can get close to nature is Tyler Arboretum (515 Painter Road, Media, 610-566-9134, www.tylerarboretum.org).

The arboretum’s schedule for this weekend features the “Saturday Wildflower Walk,” on August 26 from 3-5 p.m. and the “POP-UP: Tasting Station in Lucille’s Garden” from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on August 20.

At the “Saturday Wildflower Walk,” wildflower expert Dick Cloud will lead an informative two-hour hike that will take visitors through meadows, woods, and occasionally streamside. These walks are for those who have a love of plants, their role in ecology, or for those who want to learn more.

At the “POP-UP: Tasting Station in Lucille’s Garden,” which is scheduled for August 27 at 11 a.m., visitors will be able to sample the seasonal bounty from Tyler’s edible garden. No registration is necessary and it’s free with admission.

Admission to Tyler Arboretum is $18 for adults (ages 18-64) and $10 for children (ages 3-17) and Military with valid ID.

Sesame Place (100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, www.sesameplace.com), a family-friendly amusement park in Langhorne, is hosting “Summer Fun Fest” now through September. Guests will be able to rock out with Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Cookie Monster and Count von Count.

There’s nothing like summer at Sesame Place. It’s a great time to cool off with refreshing (and splashy) water attractions for all ages, from Big Bird’s Rambling River to The Count’s Splash Castle. Find more fun in the sun with family rides like Captain Cookie’s High C’s Adventure and Oscar’s Wacky Taxi Roller Coaster.
Summer is perfect for meeting your favorite furry friends and taking bright, beautiful pictures with them. There also are exciting shows, special events, parades, dance parties, character dining experiences, and other surprises lined up to give you even more ways to connect.

It’s Sesame Place’s birthday and the park is throwing a party full of furry fun now through August 6.

Visitors can celebrate with a special interactive Birthday Bash Dance Party, find all the party balloons in a fun, whimsical scavenger hunt, and take photos with their Sesame Street friends dressed in their birthday attire.

Special activities include “Birthday Character Meet & Greets,” “Furry Friends Birthday Bash Dance Party” and “Elmo’s Party Balloon Scavenger Hunt.”

Ticket prices for Sesame Place start at $52.99.

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.

Schuylkill Banks Riverboat Tour (www.schuylkillbanks.org/events/riverboat-tours-1) presents “Secrets of the Schuylkill” now through October.

The boat ride is a one-hour family-friendly tour of Philly’s second biggest river featuring sights such as Bartram’s Garden and Fairmount Water Works.

Riders can discover the Hidden River on a fun and educational riverboat tour while seeing spectacular views of Philadelphia.

They can also learn about the past, present, and future of the tidal Schuylkill River and its impact on Philadelphia on a one-hour Secrets of the Schuylkill tour which costs $25 for adults and $15 for children (age 12 and under).

Tours depart from the Walnut Street Dock, under the Walnut Street Bridge, east bank of the Schuylkill River.

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.

Tickets are $35.

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 $20.

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 $20.

Several tourist rail lines will be running special excursions this weekend.

Philadelphia Zoo (3400 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, www.phillyzoo.org) is welcoming visitors to a brand-new experience with the debut of Lemur Island.

Visitors are invited to get up close and personal as they enter Lemur Island with its family of ring-tailed and mongoose lemurs.

Ring-tailed lemurs are named for their long black and white ringed tail, which always ends in a black tip. They spend much of their time on the ground and this species is the only living semi-terrestrial lemur.
Mongoose lemurs love nectar, which makes them important pollinators in their native forest. Their fur is heavy and wooly and they are sexually dichromatic. Males have gray to brown backs, pale faces, red cheeks and beards.

This brand-new walk-through experience takes guests inside their exhibit located outside of PECO Primate Reserve — no fences, moats or barriers of any kind. This experience brings participants right next to these endangered species – allowing guests to grow a greater appreciation of what makes these animals so amazing, and why they need our protection. The lemurs can walk around you — and you can watch them up close with no barriers.

Also, new for the summer, all aboard for SEPTA PZ Express Train in the brand-new Watering Hole, the Zoo’s beer garden that has now greatly expanded in a much larger new location. The Train is offering daily rides in a brand-new exhibit and track – perfect for visiting families.

Admission to the Philadelphia Zoo is Adults (ages 12+), $25; Children (ages 2-11), $20; Children (under 2), Free.

The Elmwood Park Zoo (1661 Harding Boulevard, Norristown, www.elmwoodparkzoo.org) is hosting “Breakfast with the Giraffes” on August 26 and 27.

Guests can enjoy a delicious, socially distanced outdoor breakfast buffet, right next to the zoo’s three towering giraffes. After participants have cleared their plates, they will be invited to an exclusive giraffe feeding.

The breakfast event will get underway at 8:30 a.m.

A “Zoo Snooze” overnight campout will start at 6 p.m. on August 26 and run until 9:30 a.m. on July 10.

The “Campout” includes — Dinner (includes pizza, salad, and potato chips), Breakfast (includes pastries and fresh fruit), Flashlight tour of the zoo, Campfire & activities, educational show the next morning and Zoo admission the next day.

Tickets are $54.95.

The Zoo is also hosting its “Dog Days” on August 25, 27 and 30.

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.

“Night Adventures” is also scheduled for August 26.

Adventurous visitors can zip the zoo in the dark with Treetop Adventures’ “Night Adventure.” They will be able to experience all the thrills of the zip line and ropes courses with the added challenge of darkness.

Adventurers will navigate through the trees, equipped with a headlamp. Young adventurers can also experience the nighttime fun on the Zoo’s Cub Climb course.

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.

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.

Ticket prices are $55, adults; $48, ages 12-17; $38, ages 7-11.

“TreeTrails Adventures Trevose” (301 West Bristol Pike, Trevose, treetrails.com/trevose-pa) is an adventure park full of fun challenges for outdoor adventurers of all ages that is open now and will run through November 26.

Participants can experience the rush of TreeTrails Adventures as they swing through the trees of the new adventure park. They will be able to discover the excitement of climbing and zip lining above the forest floor with r family, friends, co-workers, or teammates.

The park, which is based at Phoenix Sport Club in Bucks County, offers two ways to experience climbing – TreeTrails Adventure Park and KidTrails Park. Young explorers can enjoy miniaturized courses in the adjacent KidTrails Park.

General Park Admission prices are: Main Park Adult Tickets (Ages 12+), $59 and Main Park Youth Tickets (Ages 7–11), $51.

Wilmington and Western Railroad (Greenbank Station, 2201 Newport-Gap Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, www.wwrr.com) is running its “Yorklyn Limited” on Saturdays in August with departures at 12:30 p.m.

Riders can take a leisurely 1.5-hour round-trip ride up the Red Clay Valley to the Mt. Cuba Picnic Grove, where they can de-train to enjoy a half-hour layover along the banks of the Red Clay Creek to have a picnic or simply admire the natural surroundings.

For those who don’t want to get off the train at Mt. Cuba, they can remain onboard and travel further up the line through the communities of Ashland and Yorklyn. On the return trip, there will be a brief stop at Mt. Cuba to pick up the picnic passengers.

The “Yorklyn Limited” excursion is the re-branded name of the “Mt. Cuba Meteor” excursion.

These trips are powered by one of Wilmington and Western Railroad’s historic first-generation diesel locomotives.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $17 for seniors and $16 for children (ages 2-12).

The New Hope Railroad (32 Bridge Street, New Hope, www.newhoperailroad.com) is running its “Grapevine Express,” which features “Wine & Cheese Tasting” on Saturdays and Sundays in August at 5 p.m. each night.

Riders are invited to take part in a romantic “Wine and Cheese Excursion” and enjoy fine gourmet cheese, artisan crackers, meats, fruit, and our featured local wines. Additional Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic beverages are also available onboard.

Wine and cheese will be served to passengers as they travel along the same railroad line passengers did when it was built in 1891 connecting New Hope with Philadelphia. The journey travels through the beautiful hills and valleys of Bucks County, along once vital waterways and streams and across numerous trestle bridges.

The excursions will take place aboard one of the railroads lavishly appointed early 1900’s first-class parlor cars.

Tickets are $102.58 (Ages 21 and older only).

The Strasburg Railroad (Route 741, Strasburg, www.strasburgrailroad.com) is running its “Wine & Cheese Train” on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in August at 5 p.m. on Thursdays and 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Passengers can enjoy the luxurious, climate-controlled first-class accommodations and a tasting of select wine, cheese, and crackers as they travel in style down the tracks from Strasburg to Paradise and back. The train departs at 7 p.m. and the total trip time is 45 minutes.

“Wine & Cheese Train” boarding is 30 minutes before the scheduled departure. Riders must be 21 or older and have their photo ID ready when they board.

Featured wines are carefully selected from Waltz Vineyards, and cheeses are paired accordingly. Beer and select non-alcoholic beverages are also available for purchase upon request. Riders can purchase a souvenir wine glass on board the train if desired. Glasses are $7 each.

In accordance with Pennsylvania law, alcohol is only served during the train ride. The rail line is not permitted to serve alcoholic beverages while the train is berthed in the station.

This popular train is available on select Friday and Saturday evenings throughout the season. Tickets are $50.

The Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad (Reading Outer Station, Reading, www.rbmnrr-passenger.com) is running “All Day Train Excursions” every Saturday and Sunday in August and September.

Passengers can take a train excursion through Pennsylvania’s beautiful landscape to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. They can board the train at the Reading Outer Station, Port Clinton Station, or Tamaqua Station.

During the trip, riders will see rolling farmland, beautiful mountains, glistening lakes, and small towns along the railroad’s main line. The train will also travel through tunnels and over bridges — a highlight being the Hometown High Bridge.

Once the excursion arrives in Jim Thorpe, riders have more than 3.5 hours to explore the many shops, restaurants, and attractions before boarding the train for your return trip.

While in Jim Thorpe, they can also ride one of the rail line’s 70-minute Lehigh Gorge trains at a discounted rate.

Tickets for the all-day excursion are $39 from the Reading Outer Station and Port Clinton Station and $24 from the Tamaqua Station.

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