Franklin Square Reopens for the Season
What’s in store this spring and beyond with Franklin Square’s “Four Seasons of Light."
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, and in April 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
April 20, 11 am — 1 pm
The Hop-A-Long Trail puts an 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.
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 2,000 individual works of art consisting of giant sculptures wrapped in colorful silk and filled with thousands of LED lights.
The fan-favorite dragons and pandas will of course be back, but this year look for new additions, like a gigantic walk-through dragon tunnel, a 200-foot long Phoenix (see rendering above), and mythological creatures created from small glass jars of colored water. This year will also feature interactive installations like light-up swings and a fortune-telling wheel:
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.
The Chinese Lantern Festival requires tickets during its nighttime display, but as you probably know, access to Franklin Square and the lanterns is free during the day. So, this year, the park has added a fun new activity. During the day, there will be a free Scavenger Hunt of the festival– and the prize is a free ride on the carousel!
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 June 18–August 26 for Storytime in the Square.
Summer in the Square
There is so much more than storytelling arriving to Franklin Square this summer. Most excitingly, a complete upgrade of the iconic Franklin Square fountain, with new fountain shows featuring lights and water jets that are synchronized to “dance” to the music. Here is a little preview:
The new fountain will debut on July 31 (the anniversary of Franklin Square’s redesign), and to celebrate the Square will have an August full of free dance parties, theme nights, pop-up beer gardens, movie nights, games, and more!
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 on October 19 and the Trick or Treat Trail on October 26, as well as Spooky Mini Golf all through October.
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. The Franklin Square Holiday Festival will begin in mid-November and run through December 31.
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.
Lead photograph by Jeff Fusco, courtesy of Historic Philadelphia.