ParkTours

The Parks Alliance’s ParkTours program features hikes and walks to magical and often unseen places in Philadelphia’s parks and surrounding countryside.  These evening, half-day and full-day adventures convey the history, power and value of our open space and the need to preserve and protect it. Parks Alliance founder and Board President Bob Thomas and local arborist Ken LeRoy have been designing and leading intriguing ParkTours for many years. Let us know if you would like to lead a park tour or if you are interested in having a tour visit your park.

Photos from upcoming tour sites

Upcoming Tours

Click on a tour name / date for more information and to register. Registration is required and can be done online (preferred) or by calling the Parks Alliance. Ticketing is electronic.

 

 

Saturday, January 21, 2017, 8:00am to 2pm(Half-Day Tour) / Raindate: Summer 2017

Historic Sites & Parks in Philadelphia via the #15 Trolley

Meeting place: at Bob Thomas’ for a hikers’ breakfast: please confirm address when registering.—Terrain and Difficulty: Sidewalks and paved park trails, mostly flat with one excellent view.  Easy – travel between sites is by trolley.  Wear good walking shoes, and bring food, snacks and water. Pre-registration required (limit of 12 participants). 

The historic #15 Trolley has served Girard Avenue across the entire city since 1859, and now uses trolleys almost 70 years old.  Join Bob Thomas for a guided ride on this historic line from West Philadelphia to the Delaware River, stopping along the way at an extraordinary mix of historic sites and parks old and new. The trip fee includes the Parks Alliance’s full hiker’s breakfast but not lunch. Following the tour, we’ll conclude with an optional lunch at a local ethnic restaurant near the Delaware River, discussing the current developments in trails, parks and preservation in the parts of the city explored on this tour.. Transportation will be via SEPTA streetcar; participants are responsible for their own fares.

 

Saturday, February 18, 2017, 8am to 6pm(All-Day Tour) / Raindate: Fall 2017

Historic Whitesbog and Cranberries in the Pine Barrens

Meeting place: at Bob Thomas’ for a hikers’ breakfast: please confirm address when registering.—Terrain and Difficulty: Flat sand roads, trails, and village streets. Moderate. About 5 miles along roads in the village and cranberry bogs. Wear good walking shoes, and bring a picnic lunch to eat along the way. Pre-registration required (limit of 12 participants).

Join Bob Thomas for a winter’s visit to the Pine Barrens, and historic Whitesbog Village and its 3000 acres of cranberry bogs and forest.  We’ll have a picnic lunch out amongst the bogs or in the village, and conclude the day’s adventure over a warm dinner with a discussion of the history of the domestic blueberry that began at Whitesbog.   Trip fee includes the Parks Alliance’s full hiker’s breakfast, with a chance to review the leader’s library of books and maps about the area, and the guided driving and hiking tour of key sections of Whitesbog, but not lunch nor dinner. Transportation will be via car pools—participants are expected to share expenses. 

 

Saturday, March 18, 2017, 8am to 1pm (Half-Day Tour) / Raindate: Fall 2017

Abandoned Fairmount Park

Meeting place: at Bob Thomas’ for an “archeologist’s” breakfast: Please confirm address when registering.—Terrain and Difficulty: little-use park paths, old roads and back streets.  Moderate difficulty in overgrown areas. Wear good walking shoes, and bring water snacks to eat along the way. Pre-registration required (limit of 12 participants).

Fairmount Park is so large that there are several hidden parts almost never seen.   Join Bob Thomas for the Alliance’s first exploration of parts of the park awaiting revitalization of their once fine landscapes and historic sites. We’ll travel both on foot and by carpool, learning about the old and potentially new uses of these neglected resources.  Trip fee includes the Parks Alliance’s full “archeologist’s” breakfast but not lunch. Participants are expected to share in the car-pooling expenses. Following the tour, we’ll conclude with an optional lunch near Boat House Row, discussing important past successes in restoring many elements of the Park, and the model they represent for our future enjoyment of now forgotten resources. 

 

Saturday, April 8, 2017, 8:00am to 6:00pm(All-Day Tour) / Raindate: Fall 2017

The Great Schuylkill to Susquehanna Passage

Meeting place: at Bob Thomas’ for a hikers’ breakfast: please confirm address when registering.—Terrain and Difficulty: Flat rail trails and quiet country roads. Moderate. About 5 miles split up in several locations. Wear good walking shoes, and bring a picnic lunch to eat along the way. Pre-registration required (limit of 12 participants).

Join Bob Thomas for a rare opportunity to visit some of the most scenic sections of this trail being assembled between Independence Hall in Philadelphia with the State Capitol in Harrisburg. We’ll enjoy beautiful views ranging from spring planting in Lancaster County to sweeping views of remote parts of the Susquehanna River. We’ll have a picnic lunch out amongst the scenic cliffs, woods and farmland, and conclude the day’s adventure over a tasty dinner with a discussion of the development of long-distance trails in Pennsylvania.   Trip fee includes the Parks Alliance’s full hiker’s breakfast, with a chance to review the leader’s library of books and maps about the area, and the guided driving and hiking tour of key sections of the Trail, but not lunch nor dinner. Transportation will be via car pools—participants are expected to share expenses. 

 

Public Transit
All starting points are planned to be accessible by public transit. Directions will be furnished upon registration.

RAIN
If raining or threatening, tours will be cancelled and rescheduled unless otherwise noted. Watch for future listings.

FEES
Evening and half-day tours: $15 for Parks Alliance Members ($20.00 for non-members)
All-day tours: $30.00 for Parks Alliance Members ($40 non-members)

REGISTER EARLY!
Due to the increasing popularity of our tours, we ask that you prepay to reserve your space. In order to preserve the quality of the tour, all full-day tours have a firm limit of participants. Additional registrants will be placed on a waiting list. If you are unable to attend, please let us know at least 48 hours prior to the tour and we will issue a refund or tour credit and offer your space to the next person on the waiting list. No refunds or credits will be issued less than 48 hours before the tour. For additional information, please contact the Philadelphia Parks Alliance: 215-879-8159, friends@philaparks.org.

A $5.00 discount will be applied for members of the following sponsor organizations
American Institute of Architects; American Society of Landscape Architects; Appalachian Trail Conservancy; Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia; East Coast Greenway; Green Space Alliance; Hostelling International; Pennsylvania Environmental Council; Philadelphia Parks Alliance; Preservation Alliance; REI; Schuylkill River Greenway Association; Sierra Club; University City Historical Society; Women's Transportation Seminar.

CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDIT
AIA members are eligible for CE Credits for some of these tours. Contact Pat Schwartz at AIA Philadelphia: pat@aiaphila.org

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS