PHILADELPHIA >> America the Beautiful will take center stage at the Philadelphia Horticultural Society’s 2016 Philadelphia Flower Show, celebrating the centennial of the National Park Service with this year’s theme, “Explore America.”
“It’s going to be an amazing show,” PHS Chief of Shows and Events Sam Lemheney said in a phone interview. “The diversity we’re going to showcase, which, from a horticulture standpoint, is perfect for our show — everything from the Everglades to Hawaii’s Volcano National Park to redwood forests to Acadia to the Cape Cod National Seashore to Arches, and you’ve got everything in between. ... Using the national parks as inspiration is going to be pretty spectacular.”
The Philadelphia Flower Show, “the nation’s largest and longest-running horticultural event,” will be held March 5 to 13 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and, along with the park-inspired exhibits, will feature a Big Timber Lodge entrance way, an educational pavilion highlighting the National Parks and a week of events to celebrate horticulture and the National Park Service, according to a release from the PHS.
“The National Park Service and PHS share a commitment to introduce new generations to the beauty of nature, to be good stewards of our environment, to honor the contributions of individuals to our history, and to build vibrant communities,” Independence National Historical Park Superintendent Cynthia MacLeod said in the release.
Guests will enter through the Big Timber Lodge, built in the style of lodges from some famous parks such as Yosemite and Yellowstone but with a projection screen overhead showing scenes from the national parks including sunsets and stars moving across the night sky, Lemheney said.
Inside the Big Timber Lodge will be Native American-inspired artwork, a 12-foot waterfall, a life-sized American buffalo statue by Emily White and floral totems, according to a PHS release on the 2016 entryway.
Farther in, the Find Your Park Pavilion will provide a chance for guests to learn more about America’s national park system with educational materials and programs throughout the show, according to Lemheney.
Attendees can follow three trails throughout the show, which will take them to exhibits focusing on the beauty, history and culture of the National Park Service’s sites, according to the press release. “Explorers” can use the show map to find stops along each trail, with exhibit signs marking the significance of each park.
There will be five presentations each day with park rangers from around the country speaking about their parks, Lemheney said. A number will be appearing via webcam, speaking to a live presenter on stage, giving the ranger the opportunity to show some unique facet of that park in real time during the Flower Show.
Among the other new features is Base Camp in the Grand Hall where there will be food and drink, shopping and experiences, such as a climbing wall focused around outdoor living, according to Lemheney.
The Railway Garden, sponsored by Amtrack and Bachmann Trains, is making a debut as well with model trains travelling past the most famous sites of America’s national parks.
Some past favorites will be returning as well, Lemheney said. Fido Friday, a day for guests to bring along their dogs, will be back after proving a big hit in the show last year, as will the Wedding Wednesday bridal expo.
Throughout the week, the show will feature events geared toward children specifically, including the Flower Show Jamboree and Junior Ranger Day, hoping to build on the big response the show received from families last year when the Flower Show partnered with Disney, Lemheney said.
“[It’s] exciting because you want young kids to get involved with horticulture and get excited about horticulture, so with the national parks theme, there will be a lot of activities for families,” Lemheney said.
Ticket information and more on the 2016 PHS Flower Show can be found at theflowershow.com.