By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times
Forget that the temperature dipped to 24 the other night and erase from your mind those snow flurries you saw the other day.
It’s spring. It has been spring for almost two weeks. March 20 was the day of the vernal equinox.
Warmer weather has arrived. Outdoor garden attractions are staring to open for the season and spring events are happening all around.
Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, www.longwoodgardens.org) is inviting visitors to “step into spring.”
From April 2-May 1, guests at the colorful site can take in the sights and scents of spring at Longwood Gardens with fields of tulips, azaleas, wisteria and more during the annual Spring Blooms event.
The season of renewal and growth has started. Millions of tiny geophytes begin the season, blanketing Longwood’s vistas with sweeps of spring-has-sprung color.
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.
Beginning April 23, Longwood Gardens’ Open Air Theatre and Italian Water Garden fountains spring to life, as does the Square Fountain, Round Fountain (Flower Garden Walk), Sylvan Fountain (Peirce’s Park), and Children’s Corner fountains.
Visitors can also enjoy special exhibits at the Orchid House.
After a major restoration project, the Orchid House has reopened at Longwood Gardens.
The Orchid House, which has a history dating back more than a century, has come back to life with a brand-new glass roof and reimagined gallery-inspired space.
If you’ve been to Longwood Gardens before you’ve probably seen the historic Orchid House. But if you come to see it once it has reopened on February 26 as the first expression of “Longwood Reimagined,” it will be an experience like never before.
The Orchid House has been completely restored in the same way founder Pierre S. du Pont would have done it himself — with excellence.
The original concrete aggregate was matched so well that you’d never even know it wasn’t the original. The bronze window framing was cleaned, repaired, and replaced. The tunnels below the space were reworked and a brand-new floor poured.
The historic bronze cases, first added in 1929 and then restored in 1966 to display the orchid collection, have been returned to their original position at the north end of the house. Before they existed, there was a glass wall in their place, which has now been added to the top of the cases to create a vestibule on the north side of the house, creating the perfect transition from the Acacia Passage now, and the Waterlily Court and West Conservatory in the future.
The cases themselves have had all of their original pieces restored and are now double-sided. You’re now able to see orchids on both sides of the gates — from the main view inside the Orchid House, and from the vestibule. The same wrought iron gates that have always been there stand in the middle of the cases, yet they’ve been completely restored, and their intricate details, once hidden under layers of paint, are appreciable once more.
Brand new gravity rings now hold our orchids in place, allowing the plants to be admired as always, but with better functionality and structural integrity.
Admission to Longwood Gardens is $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and college students, $18 for active military and $13 for youth.
Guided tours are back at Winterthur (5105 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, 800-448-3883, www.winterthur.org).
For those who want intimacy from their Winterthur experience, guided tours have returned.
The “Introductory Tour” is a guided walk through the main entertaining spaces of the fourth and fifth floors. Each guide provides his or her unique perspective on the rooms, the objects, and the lifestyle of Henry Francis and Ruth Wales du Pont.
“A Closer Look” is a one-hour guided tour that allows an even deeper dive into the stories of favorite objects and spaces. Each tour provides a different experience because the rooms and objects are chosen by Winterthur’s highly experienced interpreters.
For those who prefer to move at their own speed, self-paced tours of the house continue 10 a.m.-1 p.m. every day. Guides are on hand to answer questions. Guided tours are available 1-3 p.m.
In May, the “Introductory Tour” will change to “Walking in the Footsteps of Jacqueline Kennedy” with the opening of the exhibition, “Jacqueline Kennedy and Henry Francis du Pont: From Winterthur to the White House”
The tour is a look at the spaces the First Lady explored during her visit to Winterthur while working on her historic restoration of the White House with H. F. du Pont, chair of her Fine Arts Committee. Self-paced and guided options are available.
April 1 is “Opening Day 2022” for Nemours Mansion and Gardens (850 Alapocas Drive, Wilmington, Delaware, www.nemoursmansion.org).
Visitors are invited to join Nemours Estate this weekend as it officially reopens for the 2022 season.
Nemours Estate is a masterpiece of Gilded Age design with a 77-room Mansion, 200 acres of formal French gardens and grounds, and a Chauffeur’s Garage housing vintage automobiles.
Originally constructed in 1910, Nemours Mansion is one of Delaware’s grandest buildings and includes the largest formal French garden in North America.
Tickets can be purchased at the Estate, but no reservations are needed and there is no timed entry. Last tickets are sold at 4 p.m.
March 30 marked the opening date for Chanticleer (786 Church Street, Wayne, www.chanticleergarden.org).
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. Davids area to build their country retreat. The family’s pharmaceutical firm would become part of Merck & Company in the 1920s.
The Rosengartens hired architect and former classmate Charles L. Borie to design the house, which was completed in 1913. Landscape architect Thomas Sears designed the terraces as extensions of the house. A 1924 addition converted the summer home into a year-round residence and the family moved here permanently.
Rosengarten’s humor is evident in naming his home after the estate “Chanticlere” in Thackeray’s 1855 novel “The Newcomes.”
Adolph and Christine gave their two children homes as wedding presents. They purchased a neighboring property for son Adolph, Jr. and his bride Janet Newlin in 1933. It is now the site of the Ruin. Daughter Emily’s house, located at today’s visitor entrance, was built for her in 1935. It is presently used for offices and classrooms.
Adolph, Jr., bought his sister’s portion of the estate following her death in the 1980s. He didn’t move into the main house but used it for entertaining and kept it as it was when the family lived there. The house is open for tours by reservation.
Adolph, Jr., left the entire property for the enjoyment and education of the public following his death in 1990. A nine-member Board of Directors, six of whom are Rosengarten relatives, oversees The Chanticleer Foundation. The garden opened to the public in 1993. There are 20 full-time staff, of whom two manage facilities and 14 are gardeners and groundskeepers
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. These areas change greatly from year to year. Non-hardy plants overwinter in greenhouses and basements.
The Tennis Court, Ruin, Gravel Garden, and Pond Garden focus on hardy perennials, both woody and herbaceous. The Tennis Court builds on the idea of foliar display introduced in the Teacup. The Ruin is a folly, built on the foundation of Adolph Rosengarten, Jr.’s home. It is meant to look as if the house fell into disrepair. The Gravel Garden is hot and dry, a touch of the Mediterranean in Pennsylvania. The Pond area is exuberantly floriferous.
Asian Woods and Bell’s Woodland are shady areas. The former features natives of China, Korea, and Japan; the latter, plants of eastern North America. The Serpentine celebrates the beauty of agricultural crops. The cut flower and vegetable gardens produce flowers for arrangements and food for the table.
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) will have its “Season Opening” on April 2 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
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 — one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in the United States — provides an unparalleled look into our nation’s past, while also offering a glimpse into the life of a family that helped to shape its future.
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.
Visitors can stroll the spectacular formal gardens and native woodlands during a self-guided garden tour at their leisure and enjoy sweeping views from the banks of the Delaware River. 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.
Guests are asked to wear masks inside the historic house. Tickets are $30 per person. There is no charge for children 12 and under.
Easter events are starting to pop up like daffodils and hyacinths.
“Easter Brunch at Elmwood Park Zoo” (1661 Harding Boulevard, Norristown, www.elmwoodparkzoo.org) kicks off this weekend and runs through April 17.
Participants can enjoy a delicious breakfast, participate in Easter activities, and meet one of the zoo’s beloved education animals. They can also take a picture with the Easter Bunny and then enjoy exploring the Zoo.
There are three brunch sessions each day – 10 and 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Tickets include admission to the Zoo, brunch, a photo opportunity with the Easter Bunny and more.
The Easter menu features Roast Top Round, Baked Ham, Carved Turkey, Sausage, Turkey Sausage, Red bliss Potatoes, Waffle Bar with Fried Chicken, Pasta Dish, Mac and Cheese Shells, Omelette Bar, Scrambled eggs, Quiche Danish, Cinnamon Buns, Dessert Cart, and various beverages.
Prices start at $94.95 for a table of two.
The Zoo is hosting several of its ultra-popular “Dog Days” over the next week.
The Zoo’s “Dog Days” event will be held on April 1, 3 and 6 from noon-4 p.m. each day.
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.
Easter celebrations are in full swing at Sesame Place (100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, www.sesameplace.com) with “Elmo’s Eggstravaganza Easter Celebration.” The popular annual event is happening every weekend now through April 18.
Special attractions include “Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt,” which is an interactive scavenger hunt for six giant Easter Eggs hidden throughout the park; “Furry Friends Bunny Hop Dance Party,” where kids can jump, bounce and hop along with their Sesame Street friends; and “Sesame Street Party Parade,” which is an energetic neighborhood block party on iconic Sesame Street with Elmo, Count Von Count, Bert, Ernie, Abby Cadabby, Zoe, Cookie Monster, Rosita, Big Bird, and Telly.
There is the “Easter Bunny Picture Patch” where kids can meet and take photos with the Easter Bunny. Once visitors pass through the Easter Bunny’s Art Studio, they’ll enter a delightful Carrot Patch where they will be greeted by Peter Cottontail himself.
“Dine with Easter Bunny” is also very popular — a special Easter Dine with Elmo, Abby, and the Easter Bunny. Guests can enjoy a delicious buffet meal, photo opportunities with favorite Sesame Street friends, and a special Easter story time.
Another special attraction is “Magic of Art.” Abby Cadabby is preparing for Sesame Street’s big Art Show but isn’t quite sure what to create. With help from her friends Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover and Telly she learns that art comes in all shapes and sizes! From paintings to stories and even sculptures, Abby’s friends inspire her to use her imagination to create her own magical masterpiece.
The park will be open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays now through April 3 and then daily beginning April 8.
Admission tickets start at $39.99.
If you’re looking for a fun family activity, Linvilla Orchards (137 West Knowlton Road, Media, 610-876-7116, www.linvilla.com) has something just for you – “Hayrides to Bunnyland.”
Kids who have experienced it know that there’s no place quite like Bunnyland at Linvilla Orchards.
Guests can hop aboard a hayride as it carries them through the woods to visit the Easter Bunny’s house. Once there, they will have the opportunity to meet Linvilla’s Easter Bunny.
During the visit, one of the Bunny’s friends will tell a magical story. And everyone will receive a special treat.
As an added attraction, the Easter Bunny likes to take pictures with all special guests.
This hayride lasts approximately 15-20 minutes.
Just down the road from Linvilla Orchards is a site featuring an event that is good for kids of all ages.
Newlin Grist Mill (219 South Cheyney Road, Glen Mills, 610-459-2359, www.newlingristmill.org) will celebrate “Trout Fishing Opening Day” from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on April 2.
The trout fishing season opens at 8 a.m. on April 2 for all anglers in the 18 southeastern regional counties – including Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Philadelphia, and York.
From April 2 through Labor Day, anglers may keep five trout — each at least seven inches long, per day.
Both pond and stream fishing are available starting on opening day of the Delaware County, Pennsylvania trout fishing season. Pond fishing remains open through October 31, and stream fishing is open through December 31st (conditions permitting).
On April 3, the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, www.philamuseum.org) will present “Family Festival: Days of Knights.”
The festival, which will run from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m., will allow guests to enjoy a day of revelry inspired by the museum’s arms and armor galleries.
This family-friendly event is a celebration of all things knight. Kids can make their own shields at the Art Kids Studio, sketch live models wearing armor at Gallery 347, and catch a knightly performance from Almanac Dance Circus Theatre at Great Stair Hall.
The event is free with pay-what-you-wish admission.
The focus will be on beads at a special event this weekend at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Avenue, Oaks, 610-323-3263, www.beadfest.com).
Now through April 3, the expo hall near Valley Forge National Park is hosting Spring Innovative Beads Expo — an event that is one of the largest bead and jewelry show on the East Coast.
The ambitious annual event, which is billed as a bead and jewelry extravaganza, will feature hands-on jewelry making classes, informative seminars, beading competitions and a large vendors’ area where visitors can purchase everything from beading supplies to hand-crafted jewelry.
Bead Fest will have close to 150 booths and a wide array of workshops which will be presented by experts in the bead and jewelry fields.
A number of special techniques will be demonstrated, including design, wire and beads, bead stitching, wire and metal, bead stringing and wire wrapping.
Show hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on April 1 and 2 and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on April 3.
The Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, www.chaddsford.com) will host “Reserve Tastings – Spring Sippers” on Saturdays and Sundays in April.
Visitors can welcome the warm weather and sunshine with an intimate, 60-minute classroom-style tasting in the winery’s Barrel Room.
The site’s trained staff will guide guests through a pre-selected tasting of five widely diverse and award-winning wines from across its portfolio. The selections will be paired alongside a unique offering from local artisans to enhance your tasting experience.
The staff will also discuss topics such as grape growing conditions at partner vineyards and the onsite winemaking process from production to aging and bottling.
Reserve Tastings are $35/person and offered only on select Saturdays and Sundays. There are three seatings per day – noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Advanced reservations are required and are non-refundable.
Guests under 21 years old are not permitted to attend a Reserve Tasting. Outside food is not permitted during this program.
The “Pairing Line Up” is — Greeting Wine: 2019 Sparkling White; 2021 Vidal Blanc with Birchrun Farm’s Fat Cat; 2021 Dry Rosé: Redux with prosciutto; 2020 The Red Standard with Birchrun Farm’s Equinox; and 2021 Vignoles with OsoSweet cookie.
Penns Wood Winery (124 Beaver Valley Road, Chadds Ford, http://www.pennswoodsevents.com) will present “Live Music on the Lawn” every weekend in April.
The schedule for this month features Neil McGettigan on April 1, Greg Jones on April 2, Paul Wilkinson on April 3, Jason Ager on April 9, and Ashley Sweetman Duo on April 10.
The line-up also includes Amanda & Teddy on April 16, Jerry Lee Watkins on April 23, Bill Hake on April 24, and Hailey & Nero on April 20.
The Strasburg Rail Road (Route 741, Strasburg, 717-687-7522, www.strasburgrailroad.com) is running a special train on April 1 and 2 – the “Wine & Cheese Train.”
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 6 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. We are 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.
“Rails or Sails?” – you have your choice this weekend.
This Saturday and every Saturday during the winter, the Kalmar Nyckel Shipyard (1124 East Seventh Street, Wilmington, Delaware, www.kalmarrnyckel.org) is hosting “Winter Ship Tours” of the Kalmar Nyckel.
Kalmar Nyckel deck tours are open during the winter “maintenance season” on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The $10 admission includes a self-guided tour of the Copeland Maritime Center.
Ship tours will cancel for inclement weather and safety issues due to heavy maintenance work.
The ship is a beautiful recreation of the original Kalmar Nyckel, which was built in Holland in the 1620s. Her mainmast is taller than a 10-story building, and she carries 7,600 square feet of sail area and six miles of rigging.
The original Kalmar Nyckel was a Swedish-owned, three-masted armed pinnace that sailed from Goteborg, Sweden in November of 1637 and brought the first permanent European settlers to the Delaware Valley.
In 1986 a group of citizens established the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation to design, build and launch a replica of the Kalmar Nyckel at a shipyard adjacent to the original landing site.
The new Kalmar Nyckel was constructed there and was launched on September 28, 1997. She was commissioned on May 9, 1998, and now serves as Delaware’s sea-going Ambassador of Good Will. She is a fully functional sail training vessel and has represented Delaware all over the country.
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.
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.
The installation is open from noon-10 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Sundays.
Tickets are $24 for adults, $20 for seniors, teachers, healthcare workers, students and active military, and $15 for children (ages 3-12).