Adam Goldin | Philadelphia Blog

Adam Goldin covers Philadelphia news and updates.

Tag: attractions

Adam-Goldin-Beer-Philly

Celebrate Summer with These Great Philly Beer Gardens

With warm weather comes the opportunity to enjoy your favorite drinks outdoors. This is no exception in Philadelphia, where seasonal beer gardens are both popular and plentiful. Here are a few spots you should add to your list ASAP:

 

Independence Beer Garden

Located across the street from the Liberty Bell, this beer garden is one of the most popular in the area. Although the crowd of patrons may be massive, the Independence Beer Garden boasts three bars, a variety of seating areas, and even several games scattered throughout the 20,000-square-foot space. The Independence Beer Garden opened its doors on April 24 and serves 40 taps of regional and domestic craft beers, as well as a wide selection of American food.

 

PHS Pop Up Garden

Hosted by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, this urban oasis is located at 15th and South Streets, with a new location opening on 36th and Filberts Streets this summer. The 15th and South Streets establishment opened on Cinco de Mayo and features new food, drinks, and “inspirational events” designed to connect visitors with the surrounding plant life.

 

The Oval

Run by the City of Philadelphia and the Fairmount Parks Conservancy, this beer garden is located directly in front of the Art Museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. This year, the popular Oval Beer Garden is slated to return every Wednesday through Sunday of the Oval’s usual season. Unfortunately, the City of Philadelphia has yet to release this year’s official opening date or vendors.

 

Spruce Street Harbor Park

Also known as the “hammock haven on the Delaware River,” Spruce Street Harbor Park is popular amongst single beer enthusiasts and families alike. This garden features lounge seating, floating barges and, of course, over 50 hammocks for guests to relax in. The SSHP also boasts a menu of drinks and dishes made in collaboration with local restaurants and breweries. The SSHP opened on May 12 and is located at 301 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.

pexels-photo-27008

City of Brotherly Love…and Film

Philadelphia has served as the backdrop for many of Hollywood’s most memorable films. Philly’s rich history makes it the perfect set for many Hollywood movies, and most of those locations can still be visited today. Philly is often portrayed as a main character on the silver screen, adding a sense of place and realism to a film. Philly has also been known disguise itself in the place of other cities in film, often being a cheaper option and standing in for cities like New York. Here is a quick look at some of the films shot here in Philadelphia, both as a featured location in the story, as well as some times Philly went masquerading as somewhere else:

 

Rocky (1976) Quite possibly the best movie to ever come out of Philly is the classic and beloved Rocky. Interesting fun fact…back in 1976, Rocky’s onscreen apartment was owned in real life by Eleanor O’Hey. When the first movie was filmed she was given $50 for the rights to shoot outside and in her home due to the small budget. When Rocky II came around, the fee was bumped up to…wait for it…$500! The apartment still stands today and is a tourist destination for fans.

Creed (2015) Creed not only payed homage to the Rocky series in filming, it also payed homage to the city of Philadelphia itself. The movie showed primarily the run-down areas of Philly, afflicted with blight and more indicative of the 1976 Philadelphia showcased in Rocky, rather than the thriving and eclectic and (let’s face it) the mixed bag of gentrified areas butting right up against the blight and old neighborhoods that represent the Philadelphia of today.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012) The role that earned Jennifer Lawrence an Oscar and made Bradley Cooper a household name was shot in Philadelphia. Here Philly didn’t play as much as an iconic role as it did in Rocky, but the home team (talking about the Eagles) got some love in the script.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) In the follow up sequel, Shia Lebouf’s character Sam attends college at the University of Pennsylvania. For a good part of the first half of the movie, the campus is featured heavily. When the action kicks into high gear, the film takes the characters by Schuylkill River and then to Eastern State Penitentiary.

National Treasure (2004) Remember that rich history I spoke of earlier? Well in this movie, Nicholas Cage plays a character on a treasure hunt that takes him all over the world, but most especially in the city that was the birthplace of liberty. Cage was able to film in Independence Hall and handle a faux Declaration of Independence. Philly is basically a co-star in this one.

Every M. Night Shyamalan Film: A Philadelphia native, M. Night is known for basing his stories in and around the Philadelphia area, and filming all (or as much as possible) in the city. Even his most recent movie, Split, follows this trend, having filmed scenes at the King of Prussia Mall, 30th Street Station, and the Philadelphia Zoo.

 

As stated earlier, Philly has served as New York quite a few times in recent years. Movies like Limitless starring Bradley Cooper, Safe with Jason Statham, Dead Man Down with Colin Farrell, and Paranoia with Liam Hemsworth. All shot in Philly, but made to look like New York or other locales.

la-1472590116-snap-photo

Go Primeval at The Franklin Institute

Image courtesy of the Los Angeles Times!

The Franklin Institute is a standard in the hearts of Philadelphians. From walking through the “giant heart” to the consistently exceptional special exhibits, the Franklin is equally as pleasant for a 30-something’s date activity as it is for a family outing.

The new special event is no exception. With Jurassic World: The Exhibition, the Franklin Institute gets you “the closest you will ever come to living dinosaurs.” Bringing you behind the scenes of the blockbuster movie, the exhibit is multifaceted. From paleontology, to animatronics, to the ethical consequences to consider in genetic modifications, this exhibit leaves children and adults alike with plenty to think about!

During your visit you’ll be guided through The Park by a virtual Park Ranger, and encounter the world’s most sophisticated animatronic dinosaurs as well as live actors in a movie-like setting that gets you up-close and personal with dinosaurs, and places smack-dab into the world of the Jurassic movies.

Then, step into the shoes of the scientists of the movie by walking into a science lab full of interactive exhibits. Jurassic World used world-renowned paleontologist Jack Horner as a collaborator, so the experience is not just an awesome up-close-and-personal with dinos, the exhibit also explores the science of paleontology. What are fossils? Check them out in person.  How did dinosaurs behave? How do we know what they looked like or what they ate? Learn about DNA science, cloning, and potential cause-and-effect of genetic modifications, with hands-on learning stations. There is an area discussing climate, the environment during the time of the dinosaurs, and the events that caused things to change. It also explores animal science, like scientists examining scat to learn more about and identify animals, and the science of camouflage.

The museum partnered with the Creature Technology Company, the brains behind the hit exhibit Walking With Dinosaurs, to create the animals you’ll see at the Franklin Institute. Walk through the iconic park gates from the films into a lush park that feels miles away from Foucault’s Pendulum. All your favorites are there, from Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor, to a Brachiosaurus, culminating in a dramatic battle between the movie’s Indominus Rex and a Stegosaurus.

The exhibit runs from now until April 23rd, and is sure to please audiences of all ages. Check out the Franklin Institute Website for more info and prices!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Philly’s Hidden Gems: Ten Unknown Attractions

When it comes to sightseeing, visitors and locals alike focus mainly on the world-class museums and historical sites that were the foundation of the country. While you should absolutely visit those locations, here are some off-the-beaten path places to check out. Even some lifetime residents won’t know about all of these spots!

 1.  Mütter Museum

Okay, so the Mütter Museum isn’t very hidden, but it is super unique. Surgeon Thomas Dent Mütter, MD donated his lifetime collection of 1,700 objects and some money to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1858 under the promise that the college would hire a curator and maintain the collections as well as continue to expand it. Mütter’s collection was medical in nature, containing anatomical specimens, models, medical instruments, and more. Here you can find slides with sections of Albert Einstien’s brain, a collection of skulls used in the study of cranial anatomy, a plaster cast as well as the actual livers of famous conjoined-twin circus performers, Chang and Eng Bunker, and a “Mega Colon”, as well as a chest of drawers full of objects accidentally swallowed by patients and removed by a doctor.

2.  Insectarium

Not everyone knows that Philadelphia is home of the largest insect museum in the country. There’s interactive displays, live and mounted bugs, a “petting corner” and lots more to see here!

3.  Philadelphia’s Magic Garden

More a giant, immersive, outdoor art installation than a garden, this place is truly magic nonetheless. There is a museum dedicated to the artist, Isaiah Zagar, as well as the garden itself, spanning half a city block and containing multiple levels, everything you can see in the magic garden is covered in mosaic, folk art, glass bottles, sparkling mirrors, handmade pottery tiles, stories, and more.

4.  Giant Wooden Slide

There is a giant wooden slide (39’ long and 13’ wide) in East Fairmount Park. The Giant Wooden Slide was added to the Smith Playground in 1905. The Smith playground there has a playhouse and other activities for families, but the slide is unique and fun for everyone.

(And while you’re in Fairmount Park, visit the Cave of Kelpius, believed to be the 17th century home of America’s first cult of mystics to predict the imminent apocalypse. From Philadelphia, take Ridge Avenue to the beginning of the Wissahickon Bike Trail, and turn right onto the trail. Follow the trail into the woods (by foot or bike), alongside Lincoln Drive for almost a mile, then turn left. From there, just keep an eye out. It’s not easy to get to. Most people find it by accident. Fortunately, the Wissahickon is wonderful to explore, with the Toleration and Indian statues, and the Devil’s Pool.)

5.  Edgar Allen Poe Site 

He was known for living in Baltimore, but he did important work in Philadelphia. You can visit the site and learn about one of the most important figures in American literature. You will marvel at what an amazing life he had, and you can see some of the things that cast a shadow on his output as a writer. And after than, make sure you take a side trip to the Rare Book Department of the Philadelphia Free Library to meet Grip The Raven! Once Charles Dickens’ pet raven, Dickens had it professionally taxidermied and mounted when it died. This raven is the inspiration for Edgar Allen Poe’s famously intense poem.

6. The Moon Tree

Washington Square Park, and it’s Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier, are hardly a hidden gem. But most visitors don’t know they’re standing just a few yards away from a moon tree! Seeds were sent into space on the Apollo 14 Moon mission by the Forestry Service, and when they came back to Earth, the seedlings that grew were spread around the world, from the White House to Brazil to being given to the Emperor of Japan. Check out the one that landed in Philadelphia!

7.  Tiffany Glass Mural

Dream Garden, a 15′ x 49′ masterpiece mural created by the Tiffany studios, is made of over 100,000 pieces of favrile glass in more than 260 individual shades, and is a really stunning work of color and light. Displayed since 1916 in what is now the Curtis Center, it is one of the largest Tiffany glass installations in the world.

8.  Masonic Temple

The Masonic Temple is a place you need to see to believe. By turns gaudy and beautiful, made in a variety of architectural styles, this is one of the most elaborate Masonic buildings in the country both in architecture and in interior decor, the Temple also houses a museum containing items like George Washington’s Masonic apron and Ben Franklin’s Masonic sash.

9.  Rosenbach Library

The Rosenbach Branch of the Free Library is the best one in the city. You could spend hours in its shelves wondering what hidden gems you will find next. It has one of the most incredible rare book and manuscript collections in the world. From Thomas Jefferon’s inventory of his slaves, or a first edition of Dox Quixote, to notes and outlines for Dracula penned by Bram Stoker, to a hundred personal letters of George Washington, this place has an incredible cross-section of history.

10.  The Chemical Heritage Foundation

The Chemical Heritage Museum has a great museum, chronicling the history of science and technological achievements, but their First Friday events are the real gems. (I.E. events like: Writing & Reading Alchemy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, Extreme Art Makeover, Make Your Own Book Of Secrets, and Cheese, Chocolate, and Fermentation.)

Philadelphia: City of Firsts

Keith_Haring_We_Are_The_Youth

Art on the Outside: Philly’s Murals

Though Philadelphia contains one of the more renowned art museums in the world, there’s only one way to see art and the city at the same time: the street art.

From the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, to artist Isaiah Zagar mosaic-tiling every wall he can get his hands on, to world-class graffiti and street art, nearly every street in Philadelphia is bound to have a surprise in store.

MappingCourage20141015

The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program began in 1984 as an anti-graffiti program, and has created almost 4,000 murals since. From the recent color-blocking of Broad Street to Philadelphia On A Half-Tank, a mural painted on the side of an oil tank at the refinery in South Philly at Penrose Ave and 26th in 1999, there is an incredible amount of history in the program. Some works have been torn down or built over with time, but that is part of being in a living-breathing city. The majority of the murals with the project are not just for art’s sake, but also have a purpose. One of the project’s murals was painted on the side of a methadone clinic, and some over the 1,200 artists who helped to paint the mural were patients at the clinic at the time, as part of a rehabilitation program. The founder of the Mural Arts Program shared her top 10 favorite with The Guardian, and you can check them out here.

10980456_4b2c1129a1_b

One of the most unique ways to see murals in the city is to take a ride on the Market-Frankford elevated line. From 45th to 63rd streets, there are a total of 50 murals creating an experience called “Love Letters”. Some can be seen from the street, but not all, as they are meant to be seen from the train. Created by Philadelphia native Steve Powers, all 50 murals are love letters from a partner, from an ex, or from the residents to their city. Ranging from cutesy sentiment to powerful declarations, Love Letters from the El is an experience I highly recommend you make time for, even if you normally drive.

mural-248859_960_720

Isaiah Zagar’s work is instantly recognizable to long-time residents of Philly. The Magic Garden, his multi-story maze-like art piece is the most famous of his work, particularly after a long-fought battle with the city to keep it. But you won’t just find his work in the Magic Garden, you can see his handiwork all over the city in the South Street/Queens Village area, particularly in alleyways. There are so many murals that they made a map to show them all.

Mural Locator is a website dedicated to pinpointing murals on maps all over the globe, and can help you find murals that aren’t part of the Mural Arts Project or Zagar’s body of work.

No matter if you are a long-time local or a brand new tourist, if you are on a unique-yet-romantic first date or looking for something to do with the kids on a nice day, there are endless ways of touring, viewing, and getting to know the wonderful art on the streets of Philadelphia.

Philly’s Hidden Gems: The Wagner Free Institute

WagnerFreeInstituteOnce a Victorian science institute, now a living, breathing connection to the past. A museum about museums. A look into how we viewed science at the turn of the century.

In the 1840’s, William Wagner was so passionate about science he gave lectures out of his own home. He amassed an extensive collection of scientific specimens often used as reference in these lectures. At some point, the crowd of Victorians anxious to listen to William Wagner speak grew so large they couldn’t all fit into the room with him. Called the “gentleman naturalist” by his peers, Wagner decided that the popularity of his collection and lectures has grown to the point they needed their own home. He expanded into a new building he named The Wagner Free Institute of Science.

With lofty ideals about continuing lectures and a museum of science open and free to the public, the beautiful Victorian Wagner building was completed and opened in 1865. It houses the natural history collection Wagner collected in his home and allowed him to expand his specimens. There is also a commanding, beautiful lecture hall in which he could continue to lecture all the way up until his death in 1885.

Immediately after the death of William Wagner, renowned biologist and paleontologist Joseph Leidy was brought on to curate and head the research. He expanded the repertoire of the museum and organized the entire collection according to Darwin’s theory of evolution. Every taxidermy and mount, from insects to sea life, was arranged in order of simple to complex organism, rather than genus or species. This reorganization of the museum took place in 1891, and was never changed again. The museum has been upkept beautifully, but not a thing has changed in more than 120 years. From the 1865 handwritten labels of the specimens to the original cherry wood cases made for the museum’s exhibits, everything is frozen in time. A look into a place in our history when technology, scientific knowledge, and the pace of the average life was changing so rapidly, there is both an air of stillness and an air of excitement and possibility to the museum.

There is also an element of humor, seeing a platypus in a case next to a sloth, which is next to an anteater, as an example of Darwin’s theory of evolution. But they also house many “type specimens” – the first identification of a new species. The Institute was the first to discover a skull of a saber-toothed cat on an expedition to Florida. There are complete skeletons ranging from buffalo to English draft horse, as well as taxidermy, shells, minerals, fossils, and of course, a brontosaurus as well.

There are some interpretations around the exhibits explain some of the changes in science and thought from the time of the handwritten placards to today, but it would be wonderful to the the museum embrace its dual role as science museum and ode to Victorian science in a time capsule. They do have a scavenger hunt for adults or young adults that can be downloaded before your trip or picked up there that can explain more details. The have hours set aside for artists who wish to sketch ever Friday afternoon. They continue to hold lectures on the premises, and they sponsor Science on Tap, which is a monthly gathering at the bar National Mechanics in Old City, with presentations by scientists and experts followed by lively debate and conversation.

Spring Festivals and Events in Philly

cherry blossom fairmont parkIt doesn’t matter if you are looking for a uniquely romantic date night or a relaxed family fun day, there are so many great things to do in Philadelphia in spring, and as the weather starts to warm up, there is no better way to shake off the chill and the cabin fever of winter than by getting out and enjoying some of the great events that this city has to offer.

Spruce Street Harbor Park. The Delaware River Waterfront has been amping up their game every year. We are going into the third year of the SSHP, and while I know it can get crowded in peak times, it is always worth the trip. Last year they stretched the length of the park further, and tied in more with the Roller Rink just around the point past the Seaport Museum. Though the specific details haven’t been released yet, they have always tried to expand the offerings. From horseshoes and shuffleboard to napping in a hammock fried chicken sandwiches from Federal Doughnuts and ice cream from Franklin Fountain, to a sandy beer, wine, and cocktail barge on the water for the grownups, it’s a spring afternoon that just can’t be beat. Last year they opened in May.

Chinese Lantern Festival. As part of the 10th birthday part of Franklin Square, Historic Philadelphia is putting on a great spring event starting in April and running until June. The small but charming square at 6th and Race will have the usual fare of the carousel and Philly-landmark mini-golf as well as Square Burger (for that Tastykake milkshake), but there will also be huge, illuminated lanterns, including a three-story-tall pagoda and a 200 foot long Chinese dragon. There will be craftspeople with small booths and will be creating edible sugar dragons, Chinese character painting of guest’s names, and more! There are entertainers at night when the lanterns are lit, including acrobats and balancing acts. The square is free during the day, but once the sun sets, the activities entertainment will come with a ticket price.

Fairmount Park’s Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival. Fashion shows, tours of the Shofuso Japanese Garden House, a samurai competition, Taiko drumming, dancing, karaoke, live music, Sakura Under the Stars, and more events all made an appearance at last year’s festival. And, of course, the cherry blossoms themselves, which are just as magical as any of the festivities put on at this wonderful spring festival.

Starting this month and running through September, the Franklin Institute will be hosting a “Science behind Pixar” event. From the math and engineering to the modeling and sound recording, dive into the world of Pixar with over 40 hands on displays, along with video of interviews with the creators of Pixar films. Try out modeling, set design, animation, and more at this event that everyone can enjoy. Don’t forget to walk through the giant heart on your way out, in true Franklin Institute tradition!

And don’t forget to celebrate warm weather the Philly way: with a street fair. The Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival, the South Street Spring Festival, and the 9th Street Italian Market Festival all happen about the same time every year. Each brings the unique personality of its neighborhood, with food, drinks, entertainment, music, and elbow-to-elbow people out into the sunshine every year. I recommend going early in the day if you are taking kids, as the crowds get rowdy after a day of sun and imbibing. If you’re looking for something more brainy, check out the Philadelphia Science Festival, which culminates every year with a street fair science carnival.

philadelphia skyline

Philly’s Changing Skyline

Philadelphia’s iconic skyline, familiar to anyone who visits frequently or calls Philly home, is changing again. The Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, due to open in 2017, has been in progress for a while (the $1.2 billion skyscraper began construction in 2014), and will be one of the largest buildings in the country when completed.

At 59 stories of glass and stainless steel tall, it has been planned to be an extension of Comcast’s global headquarters. It will also become the headquarters for NBC 10, Telemundo, and the Four Seasons Philadelphia Hotel. It has 1.285 million rentable square feet of office space, and 230,112 square feet of hotel space. The Four Seasons, which was located in Logan Square for over 30 years, will be taking over the top two floors with a spa, fitness facilities, meeting space, event space, and a 360 degree view restaurant at the very top of the building as the cherry on the sundae.

It will be the eighth tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The architect is world-renowned  Lord Norman Foster of Foster + Partners, with interior design by Gensler. It will include a parking garage and a retail mall on the lower levels and at least three television studios. There will be an enclosed public indoor plaza build to compliment Comcast’s existing outdoor space, and will connect to the Suburban Station concourse underground, as well as widened sidewalks and roads surrounding the building which will improve access to the area for Philadelphians.

Governor Tom Corbett’s Office said the tower “will become the dedicated home for the company’s growing workforce of technologists, engineers and software architects.”

“We are thrilled to mark another historic moment in our company’s history in Pennsylvania with the development of the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center,” said Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation. “This expansion of Comcast’s vertical campus in Philadelphia will create tens of thousands of jobs and drive billions of dollars in economic development in the Commonwealth and the City. This exciting project would not be possible without the support of the Commonwealth and Governor Corbett, who is a true and committed partner in driving Pennsylvania’s growth.”

The building is estimated to generate $2.75 billion in overall economic impact in Pennsylvania and will create over 20,000 jobs by some estimates. They are also looking to make the center as much of an attraction as it is a technologically-advanced business center. “This entertainment and innovation complex elevates downtown Philadelphia’s strong reputation as a world-class destination for culture and connection,” Corbett said. “We’re investing in public spaces where visitors and Pennsylvanians alike can marvel at our world-class art, our incomparable architecture and our unique attractions. This project is not only about building a new tower on Philadelphia’s skyline, or about creating new and beautiful public spaces in Center City. This project shows that Philadelphia is taking a bite out of the ‘Big Apple’ and we are ready to compete with anyone in the world to bring jobs to Pennsylvania.”

While there is not yet word on what the restaurant on the top floor will be, the most buzz is definitely whirling around it. It will be the tallest publicly accessible point in Philadelphia by about 400 feet, with huge glass walls for a view of the entire city. For reference, the City Hall Tower Observation Deck is 500 feet above ground, and restaurant R2L is also 500 feet high, this new restaurant will clock in at 900 feet off the ground. And we also know there is no shortage of food talent in the Philadelphia area, so there is no doubt this place is going to knock some socks off.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén