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10 Reasons To Visit Philadelphia This Summer

City Slicker

It’s officially summer. That means vacation time. If you’re into art, science, history, festivals, the great outdoors, well then, Philadelphia is where you should be this warm-weather season. Here are 10 reasons to put America’s birthplace on your must-do list this summer:


PhiladelphiaSkyline_B_Smaller.jpgPhoto by B. Krist for VISIT PHILADELPHIA™


Openings, Exhibits & Expansions:

1. Look up in the sky. It’s a lion, a tiger and more majestic cats at the Philadelphia Zoo. They’re roaming through Big Cat Crossing, the newest pathway in Zoo360, a first-in-the-world overhead animal trail and exploration system. Reaching heights of up to 17 feet, the steel mesh trail allows the large felines more freedom to roam while giving you a safe and unusual perspective to observe at ground level.


2. You can now visit Genny and Button’s new pad at the Adventure Aquarium. Hippo Haven, a colorful landscape of light and sound, depicts the vibrant change of seasons on the African River. Located a short ferry ride from Philadelphia, Adventure Aquarium is the only aquarium in the world to exhibit hippos underwater. adventureaquarium.comAdventAquarTunnel.jpg
Photo by G. Widman for VISIT PHILADELPHIA™


3.Turns out the gray matter in the brain isn’t really gray. That’s just one of the many secrets you’ll uncover in Your Brain, the interactive centerpiece exhibition at The Franklin Institute’s new Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion, which opened on June 14. Giant climb-through neurons, brain teasers and other interactive activities for you and the kids reveal the inner working of what goes on inside one’s noggin. In addition to this permanent exhibit, two temporary exhibits—Circus! Science Under the Big Top (June 14-September 1) and 101 Inventions That Changed the World (June 14-October 26)—will keep you entertained with a can’t-miss combo of information and hands-on fun.


4. After upsetting the apple cart with his rule-breaking impressionist style, Paul Cézanne transformed the traditional still life into an artistic adventure. In The World Is An Apple: The Still Lifes of Paul Cézanne, a new exhibition at the Barnes Foundation, 21 still-life paintings follow Cézanne’s career from his earliest efforts to his eventual mastery of the genre. Dozens of the artist’s other works that are part of the museum’s permanent collection are also on display. June 22-September 22. barnesfoundation.orgBarnesFoundation_R.Kennedy__22.jpg

Photo by R. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA™


5. Who needs a trip to the islands when the Delaware River Waterfront has a whole new resort area right in Philly this summer? At the pop-up Spruce Street Harbor Park, open from June 27 through August 31, you can enjoy festivals, concerts and movies on the Great Plaza; relax in one of the giant hammocks in the Hammock Lounge; cool off under the Mist Walk; lounge under an umbrella at the Urban Beach; and indulge in their favorite summer foods and beverages at The Oasis, a series of floating barges accented with a lily pad garden and hang-out area.


Annual Events: 

6. There’s only one place to be for the Fourth of July, and that’s Philadelphia. Celebrating the nation’s birthday, Wawa Welcome America! is a multi-day party with free events for all ages throughout the city—including concerts, a parade and fireworks. June 28-July 4.



Photo by J. Smith for VISIT PHILADELPHIA™


7. The Philadelphia QFest celebrates all genres of film that pertain to or were created by members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. July 10-21.


8. The masses—you included—can storm the castle during Eastern State Penitentiary’s Bastille Day re-enactment. Emceed by Edith Piaf, Philly’s version of this historic event includes performances by cabaret troupes, dancing baguettes, Napoleon, Joan of Arc and Marie Antoinette throwing more than 3,000 Tastykakes out to the crowd assembled outside the nation’s first “modern” prison. July 12. 


9. The 53rd annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, Philadelphia’s answer to Woodstock, attracts musicians, storytellers and craftspeople for a weekend of song and merriment at Old Pool Farm in Schwenksville. August 15-17.


10. Kennett Square’s annual Mushroom Festival puts the fun in fungi during a weekend of music, food, parades, farm tours and other activities in the “Mushroom Capital of the World.” September 6-7. mushroomfestival.orgSouthSt Bridge_2-JFusco.jpg
Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA™

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