FIRST SIGNS OF SPRING
Valley Forge & Montgomery County
Although winter 2016 wasn't the harshest or the coldest, it still seemed long, especially during one of the snowiest weekends in recent memory.
Now that milder temps and sunny afternoons are becoming the norm, we can't help look forward to full-on spring in Montgomery County.
Here are our Best Spring Things in Montco, those simple signs that the boots, sweaters and gloves can reliably be mothballed for another year:
GIRAFFES RETURN TO ELMWOOD PARK ZOO
1661 Harding Blvd
Norristown, PA 19401
Dhoruba will be back - friendly as ever and eager to munch the lettuce leaves offered by his fans - by the end of May. The zoo is also welcoming Hartmann's Mountain Zebras, indigenous to Angola and western Namibia.
ZIPLINING AT SPRING MOUNTAIN ADVENTURES
757 Spring Mount Rd
Spring Mount, PA 19478
Replacing the skiers on the mountain's chair lifts are springtime adventurers, eager to tackle the rigorous canopy tour. In an interesting twist to a traditional date night, couples can sign up for full-out quest that takes place under the stars.
The open-air seating at a number of Montgomery County restaurants has awakened from winter's slumber and is ready again for lunches, happy hours, dinners or late-night cocktails.
TROLLEY TOURS AT VALLEY FORGE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
1400 N. Outer Line Dr
King of Prussia, PA 19406
History at Valley Forge is engaging in any season, but it truly pops against a background of blooming wildflowers and pink-white dogwoods. Tours are weekends only from March 26 to June 12, after which they are offered daily. Tickets are available at The Encampment Store.
PONTOON BOAT RIDES AT GREEN LANE PARK
2144 Snyder Road
Green Lane, PA 18054
Each spring, local waterways are stocked with brown trout, making those warm, sunny afternoons ripe for a few hours with a rod and reel. At Green Lane Park, April sees the return of the weekend pontoon boat excursions - for touring, not fishing. A bigger vessel (seating for 25) is new for 2016.
SPRING RESTAURANT WEEKS
Skippack Restaurant Week | May 22 - 26
With some of the best eating around at unbeatable price points, the celebrations of local culinary skills that pop up in April and May are a sure sign that winter is definitely in the rear-view mirror. Two of the most notable are Main Line Restaurant Week (April 25 to May 1) and Skippack Restaurant Week (May 22-26).
CANOE TOURS AT JOHN JAMES AUDUBON CENTER AT MILL GROVE
1201 Pawlings Rd
Audubon, PA 19403
The first of these excursions paddles into the Perky in mid-May, opening up a world of natural beauty that can go unnoticed when biking the Perkiomen Trail or driving nearby Egypt Road.
FLOWER DISPLAY AT OTT'S EXOTIC GREENHOUSE
901 Gravel Pike
Schwenksville, PA 19473
Ott's reputation may rest more with fall mums, but each spring, its crew carpet the landmark hillside with lush blooms: tulips, daffodils, hydrangea, azaleas, lilies, geraniums, hyacinth, pansies, roses, lilies and decorative kale and cabbage.
WHARTON ESHERICK STUDIO
1520 Horse Shoe Trl
Malvern, PA 19355
The home of a little-known American designer is both an architectural marvel and a testimony to his creativity and whimsy. The property buttons up each winter, but by the time spring breezes rustle the nearby trees, the doors swing wide to welcome visitors.
DESTINATION MONTCO GOLF
"Winter rules" are over at Montgomery County's 54 golf courses. It's time to get back to the traditional challenges of golf, so no more lifting to improve your lie. Our four-star links have been groomed and seeded and are looking beautiful.
ICE CREAM FROM CHESTER SPRINGS CREAMERY AT MILKY WAY FARM
521 E. Uwchlan Ave
Chester Springs, PA 19425
Once the Matthews family (owner-operators) get to churning again after their winter hiatus, ice cream lovers will once again line up in droves for a slick lick.
SHOPPING FOR SUMMER FASHION
Grab those summery beachy fashions at King of Prussia Mall and Philadelphia Premium Outlets. It's time to replenish those designer shorts, tops, bathing suits and flip flops. Debut your new look at Valley Beach, the poolside club at the Valley Forge Casino Resort, which opens May 20.
SESAME PLACE REOPENS
100 Sesame Place
Langhorne, PA 19047
Ernie, Bert, Big Bird and the entire 123 Sesame Street crowd return to Sesame Place in nearby Langhorne. Only a grouch wouldn't be excited for the April 30 launch of Sesame Place's 2016 season.