Cool Things For Kids to Do at the Philadelphia Flower Show
For the first time in its 193-year history, the storied Philadelphia Flower Show is being held outside, taking over FDR Park in South Philly. This year’s event, appropriately themed HABITAT: Nature’s Masterpiece, provides a welcome change of scenery for both flora and families, making use of an existing kid-approved landscape to showcase the nation’s largest horticultural event.
Learn all the coolest sights for kids to catch at the show below, as well as all the need-to-know information about the venue, special events, and ticketing. And don’t miss more must-do’s in our Summer Day Trip Guide.
Running through Sunday, June 13, with a special Family Frolic day on Saturday, June 12, the Philadelphia Flower Show features 34 exhibitors presenting more than 75 installations over 15 acres of outdoor space, Expect to see everything from pretty potted plants to towering kangaroos made from twigs and grasses native to Australia.
The show is divided into three distinct districts — Garden, Design, and Plant — with the first dedicated to educational displays, the second to avant-garde floral artistry, and the third serving as a plant-lover’s paradise. Each district is dotted with food and shopping vendors to grab a full meal, snack, or souvenir.
COVID-19 Note: Masks are not required for guests outdoors in accordance with city guidelines, but are required for all indoor spaces. Reduced capacity is enforced through timed entry, and enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols are in place. Social distancing is encouraged.
Philadelphia Flower Show: The Garden District
There’s a lot growing on in the Garden District, with a few attractions in particular families won’t want to miss.
The Enchanted Forest trades agriculture for “ogre-culture” to charm kids and adults alike. A number of large-scale whimsical floral sculptures make the enchanted forest feel like the pages of a fairy tale.
Moss is wrapped in bright ribbon to make a magical dragon in The Enchanted Forest.
Butterflies Live invites guests to mingle with the colorful flying insects in a safety enclosure filled with pollinator plants, intended to attract them around the space. You’ll receive a Q-tip dipped in sugar water that you can use to land a butterfly on your finger. Experts are on hand to explain the insects’ life cycles, and how we can protect their habitats.
Kids can learn all about butterflies at Butterflies Live.
The goal in the interactive B-Weave! is to build a full wattle fence before the show’s end, employing your family as the construction team. Using willow bark provided on site, learn how to weave the tree branches in and out of the posts staked into the ground, then push them down on top of each other until the fence is finished.
Build a wattle fence branch by branch at B-Weave!
Philadelphia Flower Show: The Design District
Flowers have never been more fashionable than they are in the awe-inspiring Design District, where some of the best designers from around the globe flaunt their talents. Stunning visuals create an immersive and highly Instagrammable experience, where unmatched floral craftsmanship is front and center. The Design District is high on wow factor, and several installations bowl you over with their massive scale and beauty. Here are a few kid-friendly highlights.
Nature’s Resiliency represents life in the Outback after the devastating Australian wildfires. A joey, or juvenile kangaroo, is depicted taking in the new sights he’d encounter as his environment makes a comeback.
A juvenile kangaroo, or joey, stands watch over the Design District.
The Honey Hive lets kids’ imaginations take flight with bee wings. Hexagons on the opposite side are filled with fun facts about honeybees and the product they produce.
Kids can learn all about the fascinating culture of bees.
Kokedama Forest is described as "a micro-woodland that embraces the visitor with its peaceful parlance," and we certainly agree.
Embrace the tranquility of Kokedama Forest.
Philadelphia Flower Show: The Plant District
The Plant District’s main star is Hamilton Horticourt, a giant greenhouse curated especially for diehard plant enthusiasts. This district has a little less for kids to admire, but there is a bird exhibit featuring aviary art and sculpture, with fun bird facts and bird safety education billboards.
A reimagined nest in the Plant District
Family Frolic Day on June 12
If you can choose any of the remaining days to visit, make June 12 your first pick. That’s when the show will have its Family Frolic, a day catering to little ones with crafts, scavenger hunts, and two timed butterfly releases. Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty will be on hand for pictures, and performances are scheduled from the Pennsylvania Ballet and Orchestra 2001. There will also be science demonstrations from the Monell Center. Family Frolic takes place from 10am to 3pm on Saturday, June 12, and there’s no extra admission cost for the festivities.
Even without the horticultural event of the year, FDR Park is a great place to spend the day with kids, and it’s worth exploring before or after the show. Its 348 acres are carved out of tidal marshes, and host a playground, four baseball diamonds, a renowned skate park, a network of lakes, the American Swedish Historical Museum, and 126 acres of woodland. It’s an ideal complementary setting for families to enjoy alongside the Philadelphia Flower Show.
FDR Park is a great natural setting for families when the show is over.
The Philadelphia Flower show offers morning and afternoon sessions through Sunday, June 13. The morning session is from 10am to 2pm, and the afternoon session is from 2 to 7pm. Reservations should be made online in advance. Admission for adults is $45.00, and kids 5-17 are $20.00. During weekday afternoon sessions, adults ages 18-29 can pay $30. Children 4 and younger are free. Butterflies Live costs an extra $5.
All photos by the author