Riverbend Environmental Education Center
This week, Riverbend Environmental Education Center is celebrating Earth Day in Philadelphia with a special family-friendly Open House and Tree Planting. But before that kicks off, the grand reopening and relaunch of their Aquaponics Greenhouse and the Snider Barn will be happening on Thursday for school groups. According to a release, the Snider barn is a 99-year-old Sears Roebuck Craftsmen barn that also houses the Aquaponics Greenhouse. The Greenhouse features a hands-on laboratory that showcases aquaculture (raising fish in a controlled environment) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil) in one integrated system.
The Open House will take place this Saturday, April 23, with festivities officially kicking off at 10 a.m. The day will feature a “view and greet” with the Riverbend’s Animal Ambassadors (including their snakes “Flame and Cornelius,” leopard geckos “Spot and Smiley” and more) plus, a display of interesting natural artifacts. While checking out the latter, a Riverbend educator will guide visitors through an exercise where guests describe what they “notice” and “wonder” about each artifact.
After that, guests can then head through the barn to the Aquaponics Greenhouse for a quick tour and Q&A with Riverbend staff. While heading there, Philadelphians can also sample refreshments such as the basil lemonade made with basil grown in the greenhouse, and other treats. A hike option will also be available, and guests will be shown how and where to plant a tree in celebration of Earth Day. Tools will be provided, but guests are asked to bring their own work gloves and water. Once they plant their tree, participants are also welcome to explore the trails around Riverbend on their own before departing the preserve. Registration is $25 per family to cover the costs of trees and staff time. The event is limited to 30 families.
1950 Spring Mill Road, Gladwyne, riverbendeec.org
The Zoo will be celebrating Earth Day in Philadelphia by launching a new Zoo-wide digital scavenger hunt titled NatureBlazer Adventures powered by TRAKID—and it officially starts Earth Day itself Friday, April 22. Visitors who want to participate can rent the experience through kiosks at the Zoo’s Main Gate beginning that date.
According to a release, NatureBlazers pairs a Smart Compass wristband for kids with a downloadable app for adults to create a unique journey through the Zoo. While on your quest, participants will use the compass and app to lead their group to the 10 pre-designated locations around the Zoo, learning insider secrets and hidden areas along the way. As the NatureBlazers reach each new destination, they have to answer questions enabling them to move on to the next challenge. What this new feature at the Zoo aims to do is to “make kids feel empowered to lead the adventure, explore the Zoo, visit a variety of animals and learn about what goes on behind the scenes.”
While visiting the animals, families can also check out the return of the Zoo Keys, take a swing at the Treetop Quest, check out the Meerkat Maze and more.
3400 W. Girard Ave., philadelphiazoo.org
Fairmount Park will be hosting a special activation to celebrate Earth Day in Philadelphia on Sunday, April 24. The event will take place at the park’s Horticultural Center, and will feature a few different ways to learn about nature with some hands-on activities.
Philadelphians who head out to Fairmount from 11 a.m. to noon on that date can commemorate Earth Day weekend by screenprinting the outdoors with eco-friendly plant dyes on paper. According to a release, you can print your own botanical image with luminous yellow ink made from turmeric root, and stick around to learn about soil, composting, pollinator gardens and more. The event is organized in conjunction with Penn State Extension Master Gardener Program’s Plant Sale event and is intended for families with children ages 3 and up (walk-ins are welcome.)
100 N. Horticultural Dr., fabricworkshopandmuseum.org
Mural Arts and Nat Geo
In honor of Earth Day, Mural Arts Philadelphia, National Geographic and 6ABC will be introducing a new mural from artist Eurhi Jones. ‘Overbrook Natureworks’ will be revealed this weekend at the Overbrook Environmental Education Center, a former quarry space transformed into one of the first environmental education centers in a commercial corridor. According to a release, the mural brought to the city by Nat Geo is a part of a public art project celebrating the restorative power of nature throughout Earth Month. Philadelphia was one of four cities selected to bring nature-inspired themes to urban spaces, and project partner 6ABC helped bring the mural and national campaign to life in the Greater Philadelphia community.
The theme revolves around forests and trees native to the Philadelphia area, and Jones himself was additionally inspired by photos of honeybees, ants, monarch butterflies, plus other wildlife native to the area. The mural will be revealed this weekend on Friday, April 22 from 1 to 2 p.m.
6134 Lancaster Ave., overbrookcenter.org