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Philadelphia Flower Show

Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2015

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The largest and longest running indoor flower show in the world


The History

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society was found in 1827.  The historic horticultural society was established “for the promotion of this interesting and highly influential branch of Science.” The fledging society would hold meetings at a number of historic Philadelphia institutions including a former location of The Franklin Institute (the building which now houses the Philadelphia History Museum) the American Philosophical Society, and the Athenaeum. Two years later in 1829 the PHS held the first ever PHS Philadelphia Flower Show. The inaugural event was housed at a former Masonic Hall on Chestnut Street and showcased a variety of exotic and native plants. Among those to be introduced at the event included a plant native to Central America known as Euphorbia pulcherrima.  Today the Euphorbia pulcherrima is much better known as the poinsettia and the plant with its bright red leaves is a ubiquitous presence in America during the holiday season.
A Display from the 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show - Photo Credit: Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
As the years passed the Philadelphia Flower Show continued to grow in size.  In 1966 the now over century old event was held in the Philadelphia Convention Hall and Civic Center for the first time.  The Philadelphia Convention Hall and Civic Center was a large multipurpose complex located next to the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in West Philadelphia.  The complex was the home of political conventions, speeches from Martin Luther King Jr., Pope John Paul II, and Nelson Mandela, concerts from the Rolling Stones and The Beatles and was even once the home of the Philadelphia Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers, the local professional basketball teams.  The move to the Philadelphia Convention Hall and Civic Center allowed the Philadelphia Flower Show to grow even further in size, now over 10,000 people could view the flower show at once.
In 1996 the Philadelphia Flower Show moved once again to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, its current home.  The Philadelphia Flower show is now recognized as both the oldest and largest indoor flower show in the world.  Every year nearly 300,000 people visit the Philadelphia Flower Show.

What to See

Every year, the Philadelphia Flower Show has a new theme; in 2015 the theme will be “Celebrating the Movies.”  Visitors will enter the show through a 29-foot high Art Deco theater marquee made of flowers and over 200 lights.  Meant to invoke the grand movie palaces of 1920s Philadelphia, guests will get to walk to the entrance on a red carpet.  
Once inside, guests will be able to see a number of cinema related floral displays.  The films of Disney and Pixar in particular will be highlighted, including displays that are inspired from the “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Pixar’s Cars,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Mulan,” and “Into the Woods.”  These whimsical displays will use thousands and thousands of flowers to achieve their artistic vision.
A Display from the 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show - Photo Credit: Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
Aside from the many floral displays there are also a number of interesting events planned for the 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show. On March 1st the Flower Show will host the “Run into Spring 5K,” an outdoor race on closed streets through Center City Philadelphia.  Also on March 1st, there will be an LGBT Party which is billed as “a fabulous evening of cocktails and entertainment.” Girls Night Out will feature exclusive shopping, food and wine tastings, health and beauty offerings, and product demonstrations.  There are also events catered to college students and another event called “Fido Friday” that will allows guest to bring their dogs to the Flower Show for the first time.
Two of the most popular events are “Wedding Wednesday” and “Cinderella Sunday.”  Wedding Wednesday is an entire day dedicated to all things bridal.  Brides and bridal parties can gather to get advice from experts in bridal fashion design, music, catering, and photography.  Free samples of champagne and food will also be available to all guests.  On “Cinderella Sunday” the focus is shifted to a much younger audience. Children of all ages are welcome at the event which will include Disney “royalty.” These Princesses and Princes will be able to take pictures with Cinderella herself and a Princess Party will take place in the Garden Tea Room.

Insider Information

If you work up an appetite walking through the Philadelphia Flower Show, you will have plenty of options.  The Philadelphia Flower Show is home to a number of interesting pop-up restaurant concepts including an old fashioned malt shop, a western saloon, a speakeasy, and a tea room.  So whether your appetite calls for cheeseburger, a fried oyster po-boy, or a petite sandwich, you’ll be able to satisfy it without having to even leave the premises.
A Display from the 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show - Photo Credit: Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
Adults in attendance will also find plenty opportunities to enjoy a drink.  Fine Wine & Good Spirits will host wine and spirit tastings and celebrity appearances and bottle signings.  The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society will also be introduces a new beverage called the “PHS Horticulture Cider.”  This light, dry, champagne-style cider was produced in a partnership with the PHS and Wyndridge Farm of York County Pennsylvania.  The Cider will be sold primarily in the PHS Pop Up Garden in the Grand Hall of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  Best of all, all of the money spent at the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show goes toward supporting the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s nonprofit programs which work to make a greener, healthier Philadelphia.
There are also plenty of dining options in the surrounding area for those who wish to explore beyond the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  Both Chinatown and Reading Terminal Market are in the immediate vicinity of the Pennsylvania Convention Center and offer some of Philadelphia’s best culinary offerings.

How to Get There

One of the most popular ways to attend the Philadelphia Flower Show is on a chartered bus.  Groups from all over the country arrive in Philadelphia by bus to see the city’s famous flower show, and for those groups we have some really good news.  The Constitutional Bus Tour offers tours that can start and end right at the Philadelphia Flower Show!  You don’t even have to leave your bus!  One of our trained guides will board your bus and direct you all over the city on a comprehensive tour that features of all of the major historic sites in Philadelphia as well as other favorites such as City Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art! In fact, we are offering a special discount for any senior citizen groups wishing to take a bus tour during the 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show. 
While The Constitutional's public tours don't start until April, we would be happy to set up a private tour for your group no matter how small or large the group is. Another option for touring the historic sites is The Constitutional Audio Tour. Contact us today to set up a tour and learn some history before or after you enjoy the beautiful Philadelphia Flower Show. 
Even those not on a chartered bus will find the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center is very easy to reach.  There are multiple parking garages located right on site for those who wish to drive.  Due to the large number of guests however, organizers encourage taking public transit.  As the Pennsylvania Convention Center is connected directly to Jefferson Station (Formerly Market East Station,) taking public transit is a breeze.  Regional Rail Trains and the Market Frankford Subway all offer service to the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show.  Those coming from out of town can also utilize Amtrak.  The Flower Show even offers a discount for those who travel to Philadelphia on Amtrak.


Saturday, February 28, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sunday, March 1, 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
Monday- Friday, March 2-6, 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Saturday, March 7, 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sunday, March 8, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
(Note: Hours are for the 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show and are subject to change.)

Additional Information

100 N. 20th Street 5th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103
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