Franklin Square Reopens for the Season
What’s in store this spring and beyond with Franklin Square’s “Four Seasons of Fun.”
Happy spring! Franklin Square is back from its long winter’s nap, with lots of family fun and events in store for the warm months ahead.
The park is currently open from 10 am – 5 pm daily through March 24, when the operating hours lengthen to 7 pm (and SquareBurger opens for the season, Cake Shakes and all). You already know Franklin Square for its Philly-themed mini golf, beautiful Parx Liberty carousel, and fantastic playground, but they’ve got even more planned this year. Here’s what you can look forward to as the days get longer and your kids’ school year wanes.
Easter at Franklin Square
March 31, 11 am — 1 pm
New for 2018 is the Hop-A-Long Trail, which puts a new investigative twist on a traditional Easter egg hunt. Kids age 10 and under will start at the Great Lawn where they will get a map, ”carrot cards” and an Easter Egg box, which they will use to navigate Franklin Square in search of giant spring tulips. At each stop, kids will receive Easter eggs in exchange for their cards. And at the end of the trail, they’ll find the Easter bunny!
May 1 — June 30
The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival returns to Franklin Square May 1 through June 30, and tickets are already on sale. Franklin Square will once again glow with 1,500 individual works of art consisting of giant sculptures wrapped in colorful silk and filled with thousands of LED lights.
The fan-favorite dragon and pandas will of course be back, but this year look for new additions, like a Fairy Tree and a walk-through Great White Shark tunnel!
There will also be an interactive lantern display where visitors can pedal to change the installation’s colors. In addition to the lantern displays, there will also be cultural performances, from acrobatics to the art of face-changing.
Guests will also enjoy the nightly Dragon Beer Garden and Asian cuisine.
If you have a budding artist in your family, be sure to enter the Student Design Contest by April 2. Children ages 8-14 can to submit a drawing of an eagle (to celebrate the Eagles’ Super Bowl win), and the winning designs will be transformed into lanterns that will be displayed throughout the festival—kids will get to keep their lanterns after the festival ends!
As in previous years, the Once Upon a Nation storytelling bench will return to Franklin Square as one of the 13 story locations in Philadelphia’s Historic District, beginning Memorial Day weekend and lasting throughout the summer. Your kids can visit all 13 to hear of our nation’s history in the places where they actually happened from trained storytellers in period costume, collecting a star from every storyteller on their journey. When they have filled their flag with all 13 stars, they will get a free ride on Franklin Square’s Parx Liberty Carousel.
In addition to the storytelling bench, Franklin Square will welcome librarian Margaret Bernardi of the Independence Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia to the Pavilion on Mondays from 10 — 11 am from Memorial Day to Labor Day for Storytime in the Square.
Finally, as one of its upgrades for the season, Franklin Square will be getting a Little Free Library, for guests to borrow or give a book to share in the community. This adorable two-foot-tall booth will be located near the ticketing building as a permanent fixture of the square.
Summer in the Square
There is so much more than storytelling arriving to Franklin Square this summer, from movies to music to family fun days. The park will host a Summer Sounds at the Square concert series and beer garden with free weekly nighttime performances spanning the genres from July 28 through September 1.
To kick off the series, the square will host a day in partnership with the Philly POPS on July 21, during which soloists will perform in four locations throughout the park at noon and at dusk. The noon performances are geared toward a family audience, while the dusk performances will have a more romantic theme.
Family Sports Days on July 23 and August 19 will celebrate Philadelphia sports and challenge physical skills on a variety of inflatable sports-themed attractions. The July event will have a Phillies baseball theme, while the August 19 event will celebrate the upcoming season of Eagles football.
Then, on July 27 and August 24, come for free movie screenings on the Great Lawn. And for the furry members of your family, Dog Days on July 15 and August 12 will feature free pet portraits, sprinklers and shallow pools for cooling off, and puppy play dates with fetching balls and toys.
Fall and Winter
Franklin Square will close out the year with all the usual celebrations we’ve come to enjoy. In the fall, there will once again be the Pumpkin Patch and Trick or Treat Trail (last year, 700 free pumpkins were given away!), as well as Spooky Mini Golf.
Then the holiday season will bring the Electrical Spectacle holiday light show, the Holiday Festival with weekend programming, visits with Santa, storytimes with Mrs. Claus, and finally the popular Kids’ New Year’s Eve Countdown with a 6 pm Square Drop and a view of the waterfront fireworks.
Stay posted for more announcements and events as they happen. We can’t wait for all the fun — and for the springtime weather to finally arrive! We know where we’ll be celebrating!
Franklin Square is at 200 N. Sixth St., Philadelphia.
Photographs by Jeff Fusco, courtesy of Historic Philadelphia.