Flurries To Flowers Signs Of Spring

Published: February 17, 2010

Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau Shares
Area's Top 10 Spring Events

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa.- Punxsutawney Phil just predicted six more weeks of winter, but it's not too early to begin planning for warmer weather. These 10 events in Valley Forge and Montgomery County in suburban Philadelphia are certain antidotes for spring fever.

A sure sign of the season is the Habits of Rabbits program at the Upper Schuylkill Valley Park in Upper Providence Township where, on March 19, at 1 p.m., children 3 to 6 will learn hands-on how these adorable creatures survive in the wild. Pre-registration is required with a $1 material fee.

Robins rule in spring at John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, in Audubon. The 175-acre sanctuary is home to 175 different species of birds, including the American Kestrel, Indigo Bunting, Wood Thrush and Eastern Phoebe, all of which can be seen as early as April. Sanctuary grounds are open on Tuesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. until dusk.

Opening day of Pennsylvania's trout fishing season is April 3, this year. It's also when you'll find fishermen flocking to Deep Creek Lake in Green Lane Park and Valley Forge National Historical Park's Valley Creek. All you need is a Pennsylvania license, rod and reel...and patience.

Azaleas, "the royalty of the garden," accent Elkins Estate and Seva Retreat in Cheltenham Township every April. The breathtaking 42-acre estate, designed by Horace Trumbauer in 1895, was once the country sanctuary of Philadelphia entrepreneur William Elkins. Tuesday evening tours are available by calling 215-782-8520.

Also at Valley Forge National Historical Park, Dogwood trees, planted in honor of General Washington, blossom the last two weeks of April and first two weeks of May. Blankets of pink and white cover Mount Joy; Artillery Park; the area adjacent to Washington Memorial Chapel; and along Inner Line Drive. Showy purple Redbud trees also bloom in late April along Valley Creek and outside the Visitor Center.

Sculptors carve, build and shape art into the landscape at the Abington Art Center in Jenkintown each spring. This April and May, local artist Jay Walker wields a chainsaw to transform an eight-foot-wide tree trunk into who knows what. Find out when the new installations are revealed in early June. Free guided tours of the sculpture park are offered every Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. beginning June 6.

Dancing around the maypole to live Colonial music is just one way to celebrate the season at Pottstown's Pottsgrove Manor. The Annual Colonial May Fair on May 1, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., includes 18th century crafters and artisans plying their trades. Admission is free with a suggested donation of $2 per person.

Beginning Mother's Day, May 9, children can jump in the leaf pile, dig in a sand pit and crawl through an arrowwood and willow tunnel at the new all-natural playscape on Pond Overlook Trail at Briarbush Nature Center in Abington. The free playscape is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Visitors get reacquainted with history at The Civil War Reunion at Pennypacker Mills in Schwenksville every June. Infantry and artillery drills, demonstrations of life in the 1860s and a battle reenactment highlight the June 5 and 6 weekend. Parking and admission are free on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a suggested donation of $2 per person. Evening lantern tours are available at 7 p.m. on Saturday and require pre-registration. Cost is $5 per person.

It's always wet, and often wild, during the annual weeklong, early June, Schuylkill River Sojourn from Montgomery County to Philadelphia. The 112-mile guided canoe and kayak trip down the Schuylkill, from June 5 through 11, features calm water, a few rapids, plenty of laughs, songs at campsites, and celebrations in river towns along the way. Prospective participants can register for as many days as they wish at sojourn@schuylkillriver.org.

The Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau, Ltd. is a nonprofit, membership-based sales and marketing organization that aggressively promotes the Valley Forge area and Montgomery County as a convention site and leisure visitor destination by encouraging patronage of its 500-plus member hotels, restaurants, attractions and services. The Bureau's Web site, at www.valleyforge.org, serves visitors, meeting planners, tour operators and residents.

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