One of the Beautiful Morris Gardens

Morris Arboretum Germantown Pike Philly Review

Morris-butterflies

Many Butterflies at Morris in the Summer

For years en route to Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia I had passed by the University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum.  I always figured it was just some big park loaded with a bunch of boring trees.  So a few weeks ago during a trip to Cape May, New Jersey I was surprised at how green this beach town was and how little I recognized the names of all those wonderful plants.  Figuring the Morris Arboretum to be my botanical salvation, albeit a boring botanical salvation, I jumped in my car and visited Penn’s Arboretum.  I loved it.  It was way, way, way better than I ever thought it would be.

Arriving at the Parking Lot

There is plenty of parking at the Morris Arboretum but your experience will start much quicker if you are able to park in the limited spaces at the very top of the lot. If not, you’ll park a couple thousand feet further down hill and have to walk up like a Tibetan Sherpa or take the shuttle a few minutes up the winding road to what is essentially the entrance to the whole experience.

The Arboretum

Pretty cool. Your trip pretty much begins at the museum gift shop where you can pick up a map for free, buy some cool stuff (I bought some delicious, locally produced wildflower honey) or grab a snack at the cafe.  From there, you walk a short distance to a really interesting observation deck about 30 feet or so in the air (don’t worry, you don’t have to climb up, you are already that high when you park, you’ll see what I mean) and you more or less get to experience what seems like a giant tree house in the canopy in the trees. Pretty neat and unexpected.

Gorgeous Lake For Swans at Morris

Swan Lake at Morris

From there there are several really neat gardens to walk through with various flowers, herbs and plenty of butterflies. Again really neat (and, trust me, I a totally bad – a$$’d guy so don’t take what I say lightly ;-) and quite educational too.  Most of the trees and plants are identified by placards along the way.

There is a short but sweet greenhouse filled with tropical plants  (more on this here )…. and tropical weather too…. it’s only about a two minute walk through but pretty hot and steamy so if you are prone to heat stroke, you might want to just poke your head in the door.  Actually it wasn’t that bad, I’m sure the dead guy outside was just sunning himself… kidding.  Here’s a picture of the greenhouse

There are miles of paved trails and some wide open spaces that would make for a very nice picnic (only on summer Thursday nights as of the date of this post).  There are also some wonderful little shaded trails that take you back along tiny streams, fountains, and other pleasant nooks and crannies of the park.

On thing that surprised me about the park was how small it seems from the outside but how utterly massive it is on the inside.  The park, if you’ve ever driven by it along Germantown Pike looks big for a suburban Philadelphia park but when you get inside I assure you that you can not see from one end of the park to the other. The rolling hills filled with plant life and paved trails takes up a wonderfully deceptive amount of space that you can really lose yourself in (but without actually getting lost)

The Trains

I never thought I’d like this but I loved it. Not sure if this is a year round exhibit or not but the Morris Arboretum train set is pretty impressive too.  To my surprise, I like it.  They are miniature trains not large enough to ride on but probably slightly bigger than what you would put around the living room.   Each set had a little theme that would take the trains by famous places both locally and around the world.  Check it out. I thought it would be dumb but I enjoyed the whimsical nature of the set up.

Visitor Center at Morris Arboretum

Visitor Center at Morris Arbor

Amenities and Admission

There are public bathrooms, a cafe, gift shop and free parking.  There is admission to the museum $16 for an adult when I went but check out there website below for up to date info.

Penn’s Morris Arboretum website  -  U of P Arboretum Near Norristown 

 

 

 

 

Morris-in-the-trees

At Morris Arboretum You Can Spend Time in the Tree Top Canopy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check Out The Location of the Morris Arboretum below.  Very easy to get to. (If you are still interested in the great outdoors consider reading my review of Valley Forge Park

 

Where is It

 


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St Patrick’s Day Parade in Conshohocken PA

I live in nearby Norristown and only accidentally stumbled upon the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Conshohocken. This is a surprisingly fun event. People line up along Fayette Street, sometimes about five people deep along the numbered cross streets, and watch the parade go by. There are food and drinks galore at this event and all the restaurants and local watering holes stay open for business.

 

This is an all ages event. Adults and kids will enjoy this event, though, as with any St. Pattys day theme, there is probably more enjoyment for festive grown ups than the ‘well-behaved’ kids.

 

The parade is pretty good and runs very consistent and for a long time. Tons of bag pipes, fire trucks, marching bands, baton twirlers and floats. Not bad for a ‘small down parade’

 

The firehouse (closer to Butler) is opened up as a food and drink garden and proceeds benefit (at least when I went) the firehouse.

 

If you are looking for more of a family atmosphere I’d suggest watching the parade from say 7th, 6th, 5th streets. The further down you get toward the day to day party zone in Conshy (down around Boathouse etc) the crowd is more younger and a tad more rowdy, though nothing to be intimidated by.

 

Parking is free. I didn’t have too much trouble finding street parking back in the neighborhoods.

 

I was able to use the Firehouse indoor rest room and outdoor porta pottys as I needed it so there are plenty of public rest room facilities up in that area.

 

Overall a good, clean family event that also has a bit of an adult edge that grown ups will like

 

The Conshocken St Pattys day parade is typically held around the 2nd or 3rd Saturday in March typically starting around 2:00 in the afternoon. It runs from the high numbered streets on Fayette down through the low numbers. Traffic is closed in these areas. In 2013 it will be held on March 16th. For furture events check the Conshocken website.

tickets for time out for teal

Time Out For Teal Cancer Charity Event In Drexel Hill

tickets for time out for tealWho thought giving to charity could be so much fun?   For quite a few years in a row now I’ve been attending the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation’s “Time Out For Teal”  This event is open to the public and really is a lot of fun.

 

This event is held once a year so as you read this, bear in mind that some of the info below is subject to change in the following years (but it’s been pretty consistent so far :-)

 

Background

 

 

The Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation is a nonprofit organization that helps organize events to raise money in the fight against ovarian cancer. Sandy Rollman herself was a victim of ovarian cancer.  According to their website http://www.sandyovarian.org/about-us-2/her struggle eventual death inspired her sister, Ariana Way, and her nurse, Robin Cohen, to start raising funds in memory of Sandy and in hopes of preventing other women from suffering from the same disease.

 

This event is special to me as I am a big fan of Sea Isle City, NJ.   Sea Isle is a great, fun shore town with some very wonderful, standout, beloved, people.  One of these people is , Melissa Light Dougherty.  A respected local bar tender in Sea Isle, Melissa survived ovarian cancer and now helps continue the fight for others.  She plays a big part in organizing this event.

 

The Venue

 

Time Out For Teal was held in Anthony’s in Drexel Hill, PA.   Anthony’s has been the regular location for several years now.  It is a big space and a lot of people show up but there is plenty of room for more.

 

Tickets

 

This past year the tickets were $40 and well worth it.

How Worth It?

Very worth it! For $40 bucks you get the satisfaction of giving to a very good charity.  You also get free food (roast beef, pasta, potatoes, vegetables, etc) as well as multiple great bands and DJ constantly pumping out some great tunes.

 

The Atmosphere

 

Anthony’s is fairly upscale looking  banquet / wedding hall  but don’t think mistake Time out for Teal for some pretentious center city ball.  You aren’t standing around here formally dressed waiting in line all night for a drink.  There was no waiting for beverages, the food was hot and served quickly and there is no dress code so come comfortable as you are.   The service was really friendly too.

 

I’d say the event has the feel of a beef and beer but in the comforts of a  really nice establishment.

 

The Crowd

 

Anthony’s is a pretty big place. There was plenty of room for more people (so please come next time) but the event didn’t feel empty.  It was pretty lively with everyone having a good time dancing to the bands, eating good, simple food and enjoying a few drinks (cash bar)

 

I put the majority of those in attendance at around 35-50 in age. This is a largely a crowd of Sea Isle City summer-regulars.  A very friendly, festive bunch who continue to enjoy a good party even though they (we) aren’t in out 20′s anymore.

 

The Entertainment

 

Multiple, reputable, local cover bands rocked the house in two separate rooms.  The music never really stopped. When one band stopped playing, the other would jump right in and keep the music going.

 

A DJ was there as well to fill in with some dance songs in an area designated for dining.   Each room had ample dance floor space.

 

There were also some great raffles and silent auctions.  Sports memoriabilia, 50/50 raffle, basket of cheer, gift certificates, etc.  There seemed to be dozens of prizes available.

 

Where is The Event Held?

 

The last several years this event has been held at Anthony’s in Drexel Hill

 

When is The Event Held?

 

The event date may vary from year to year but typically it is held near the end of February or the beginning of March on Sunday afternoon.

 

How Do I Get to Anthony’s in Drexel Hill?

 

Anthony’s is located 4990 State Road, Drexel Hill, PA   19026

 

If you are familiar with the area, I took Route 1 into Drexel Hill and continued straight on State Road. You’ll see Drexeline shopping center on the right. Pull into the shopping center and drive behind the Superfresh food market. Anthony’s is in the back.


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Thanks for visiting my Things to Do Near Norristown site!  I’m hear to hopefully serve you the best ideas for fun and inexpensive (hopefullly) things to do in the Montgomery County, Chester County, Philly, Chester County areas and more. Please stop back as this site will be updated often.

 

Still looking for more ideas…. how about one up in Lehigh Valley?  This isn’t far from Norristown and the surrounding areas go to a minor league professional baseball game.  Check out the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs in Coca Cola Park

IronPigs Manager Over Looking Field

Go To Lehigh Valley IronPigs Phillies Minor AAA Baseball Game

IronPigs Manager Over Looking Field

IronPigs Manager Over Looking Field

It doesn’t matter if you like baseball or not, you’ll still love watching an IronPigs (aka IronPigs as I’ll spell it both ways in this post) baseball game.

 

The Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs are an affiliate baseball team of the Philadelphia Phillies.    Affliate teams of Major League Baseball ( MLB ) teams  are referred to as minor league teams.  MLB teams are of the highest element of talent. Each MLB team has minor league affiliates that range from the most talented AAA ( triple A ) level down to A (single A) level.   Players in the ‘minors’ are working for their respective affilate teams for the opportunity to play professional baseball and hopefully be promoted to the major league.

 

Where Do The IronPigs Play?

 

The Iron Pigs play in a roughly 8,000 seat stadium called Coca Cola Park in Allentown, PA.  It is a great park.  I’m going to say something that might get some boos here but I ask you not to bust on my opinion here until you have actually been to Coca Cola Park.  Ready?  OK, I’ll quote myself “Coca Cola Park is actually as nice if ironpigs-stadium-game-baseball 023not a better park than Citizens Bank Park (where the Phillies play).  I know, I know, strong words but the IronPigs’ stadium is simply gorgeous.  It is clean, easy to get around, the landscaping is gorgeous, and there isn’t a bad seat in the house.  There are also tons of spots to get a drink or a bite.  The park also has a giant screen phanavision-esque screen similar to the ones big league parks have.

 

The staff at Coca Cola park are super nice too.  There’s not an ounce of Philly-attitude when it comes to the employees here. You can tell they really want you to have a good time.

 

OK, But How Good Are The Games ?

 

Iron Pigs players

IronPigs Baseball Players Take the Field

The IronPigs play at the highest level there is in the MiLB (Minor League Baseball league) so the games are of the highest quality you can imagine without seeing a major league team.   The play is snappy, professional and a lot of fun to watch.

 

I Don’t Like Baseball So Should I Still Go To A Game?

 

Yes! The tickets are wicked cheap and so is the cost of parking.  The last time I went you could get into the park easy for about nine bucks a ticket and parking was something like three dollars.

 

The stadium as I mentioned is beautiful and all of the games are of a highly family-oriented production.  There is entertainment, contests, and prizes between every inning.  Each between inning activity is intentionally light hearted and occasionally hilarious.  One thing I took note of was how much the kids love the games. They really get into it.  Plus the IronPigs have two really great mascots, Ferrous and FiFi.

Iron Pigs Mascots

One of The Great Iron Pigs Mascots “Fifi”

Two fun loving Phillie-Phanatic-esque mascots that you just want to run up to and hug.  You’ll love them as much as the children do.

 

They do some oddball stuff too.  I was at one game where they had professional wrestling matches (G rated wrestling matches of course) on the concourse during the game. As if that wasn’t crazy enough, between one of the innings Ferrous and FiFi jumped in the ring and did a tag-team against the pro-wrestlers.

 

What Do The Tickets Cost?

 

Well, I have to be careful to say I can’t promise this will be the same price as when you attend, but tickets on the ground level cost $9 each.  That is a lot cheap than the nine-gazzillion dollars the Phillies hit you with (though I do love my Phillies).  Upper level are about $15 or something like that.  I love the ground seating but since there are only two levels of seating at Coca-Cola park the upper level seats are considered more premium than the lower level.

 

How Do I Buy Tickets?

 

Go to the IronPigs Website  

Parking?

 

Parking is only a few bucks.  Close to the stadium.  If you are getting there right before the game or leaving right after then you might find it hard to get in and out.  There are only two ways in and out of the lot.

 

How To Get To Coca Cola Park

 

 Coca Cola Park isn’t too far off the PA NE extention if you are travelling from Norristown, Lansdale, etc.


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Bottom Line

This is a really fun family event.  All ages will enjoy a visit to Coca Cola Park to see the IronPigs play.  This really is a great product of Philadelphia Phillies Minor League Baseball (MiLB)   The views are great, the ticket prices are reasonable, the baseball is pretty good, the food and drink are plentiful, parking is cheap, and everyone in general seems pretty happy to be at the game.  Oh, and as I mentioned, the staff there are a lot of fun to deal with too.

 

About This Site

 

Hey! Thanks for stopping by my website Things To Do Near Norristown. This isn’t some static website. I post new great things to do near Norristown articles regularly so bookmark us and stop back often.  My goal is to always be able to give you great ideas for the family, a date or a day out with your friends or even a day alone by yourself.  Stuck for a new idea for something to do in the Montgo, Delco, Chesco,Bucks, Philly and nearby surrounding areas?  Visit here and hopefully I’ll have some great idea that you’ll really take a shine too.

 

Here are some other posts that might interest you:

 

Do You Enjoy Art?  There is an Art Museum Near Norristown, check out my review.  This isn’t a place as large as say the Philly art museum but it might be a nice, quick, free way to hang out in the area and pass a little time.

 

How About Some Local Division Ia College Football? Check out my post on this great, low-cost, local sporting event in a pretty nice 12,000-plus seat stadium

Art Museum Building

Free Art Museum in Collegeville PA – Berman at Ursinus

museum of art

Berman Museum

If you live in the Norristown, PA Montgomery County area you don’t have to travel all the way in to Philadelphia or up into New York to see an art exhibit. There are a number of small art museums in the area where you can enjoy the creative works of established artists without all the travel and parking.

I went to one of these museums recently.  The first thing that jumped out at me was the price, free.  I love free.  When I say “free” keep in mind I am not talking about the kind of “free” that the Philadelphia Museum of Art offers.  The Philly Museum of Art claims to be free but you basically have to humble yourself at the admissions desk and refuse payment in exchange for a ticket.  In other words, they take the money first and then let you argue that the museum is in fact free (and it really is, the price of admission is ‘donation’ though I don’t ever remember claiming it on my income tax)

The free art museum I am talking about is the Berman Art Museum.  There is no hassle for money at the admissions desk though there is a visible money donation box that I do suggest you drop a buck into if you visit.

Berman is located right on the campus of Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA and is considered, according to their website, to be one of the best College art museums.  Now, this really isn’t saying much considering it is their website that makes this claim.  I liken it to Wendy’s claiming they have the best Hamburger….. of course they are going to say that.   With that in mind, while this museum is pretty small, it takes itself seriously as an art showcase.  More on that …….

The Outside of The Museum

When you walk up to Ursinus’ Berman Museum you instantly know for sure that you are heading into a Museum of art.  This isn’t just some converted, unused Ursinus-Modern-Artwork-galleries (5)classrooms.  This museum has its own stand-alone building, three floors high with staircases on each side of the building leading into the gallery.  Numerous sculptures adorn the outside entrance patios.  Berman takes itself seriously as a museum.

The Inside

There are three floors. When you enter the museum you will be greeted at the (free) admissions desk on the second floor. As you walk by the admissions desk you’ll be in a comfortable room suitable for study or watching the video screen play videos related to the present exhibit. Note a could not take many pictures as using a camera in the gallery is frowned upon.

Video Lounge

Video Lounge

Just beyond the video room is a gallery that features rotating exhibits.  It is a very high, echoing,  bright room.  It is one of those super quiet, large, museum galleries where you feel like you are making all the noise simply by moving around on the hardwood floor.  The space was so calm and serene that every time I took a step I felt as though I was introducing a volcanic explosion but it in fact was just the floor boards under my delicate tip-toes.

The exhibit I saw was African American art which consisted of a number of weaved baskets and plenty of information explaining the exhibit.  I have to be honest, the only baskets I know anything about are the Longaberger baskets (spelling?) that a friend of mine collects.  Beyond that, I know nothing about basket weaving and realize this isn’t my thing.  If it isn’t yours either, don’t let that stop you from going. The exhibit is very professional, displayed as well as any major museum, and it was neat to see something I normally would not have jumped in my car to see.  Don’t forget there are two other floors also.

Using a short but sweeping spiral stairwell, I went down to the first floor (or perhaps this is the basement floor and I just left the first floor… either way….) and found some paintings and sculptures.  There was one sculpture that reminded me of an impossible combination of the Adam’s Family cousin “It” and a slinky. The other art on this floor was more in the traditional sense of paint and sculpture.

The first floor also features a very bright, sun-lit library area with a book shelf of art literature.  The seats are cozy and you can read all you want while the sunlight is

Library and Reading Room at Ursinus' Berman

Library and Reading Room at Ursinus’ Berman

drawn in through the 8-10 foot high floor to ceiling, wall to wall windows.  It’s a pretty cool space to check out.   I can also imagine Ursinus students studying in this area.

The third floor was bright but much less narrow and airy than the second floor. It was also the third floor also featured a rotating exhibit.  This was a photography exhibit that combined large, color photographs and the very personal stories of several Iraq war veterans.  Very moving accounts of how the war has shaped their emotions.

Overall

This was a nice, short, punchy, free trip.  Something to check out if you live in the area or are passing through with a minute to spare.   You can literally spend 10 minutes in this museum or an hour if you take it all in.   The overall size is comfortable, spacious feeling but not very big in terms of linear distance.  You could walk the whole museum in about 3 minutes if you didn’t want to look at anything.

Accessibility

Berman Museum clearly has thought about making the exhibits accessible to those with mobility handicaps.  This is a very accessible museum to visit.

Ursinus-Modern-Artwork-galleries (6)Parking

Parking is free.  Use the Ursinus Visitor’s lot which is in close proximity to the museum

Facilities

There are bathrooms and a water fountain but that is about it.  Don’t expect a gift shop, baby changing stations or a cafe as this place is too small to warrant one.

Hours, Admission

Here is their website,  admission is free. See website for hours in case they change

Directions to Ursinus Berman Art Museum

From Norristown I took Germantown Pike west all the way into Collegeville and veered onto Main Street.  From this route, I turned into the very first driveway I came to leading into Ursinus College.  You’ll see the visitor lot on the right. Parking is free.

After you park, get out of your car and walk back toward the drive way and you’ll see the Museum sitting there in all its glory (and it is pretty impressive for a small art museum) just to the right.    If I confused you here, I’ll rephrase this way….. when you drive up the driveway you’ll see the visitor parking lot entrance on the right side and ahead another 100 feet to the left you’ll see the museum sitting there like it is the Acropolis or something  (sort of).

If you are really fouled up or coming a different way, here are more detailed maps to help out.


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Thanks so much for stopping by our Things To Do Near Norristown website.  I want to continuously add new posts over the years so eventually this will be a site rich with information on great things to do in the Montgomery County, Delaware County, Philly, Chester County and Bucks County areas.  My goal is to keep you from getting bored and hope you check back from time to time while new info is added.

Want to Check Out Another Museum?  There’s a cool Veterans Museum that represents Vets from All Wars, see my review.

How about tattoo art?  Ever visit the Philadelphia Tattoo Convention ?

Model at Philly Tattoo show

Philly Tattoo Convention – Tats Piercings and More

I have to admit I have no tattoos.  You might say that I’m a rather boring guy who isn’t particularly edgy at all.  There is no ink on my skin, no brandings, no scarifications,no piercings, nor are their giant hoops in my ears, lips or anywhere on my carcass. Maybe that is why for years when I’d see the Philadelphia Tattoo Convention on the news year after year I’d not only be riveted to the screen but I’d feel all down and melancholy like a sorry little lamb for missing it.

 

OK, maybe not that sorry, but I have to admit I’ve always had an affinity for those who willingly to stray from convention and do their own thing.  One of many ways people set themselves apart, besides becoming a Buddhist Monk of course, is to get  tattooed.  Tattoos have been around for thousands of years and look better than ever.  You rarely see the blurry, illegible, green tattoos that your grandfather has anymore.  Now tats are sophisticated and mark a sub culture of people who view their bodies as very personal works of art.

 

The Philadelphia Tattoo convention brings tattoo artists from all over to show off their art, show off their ink, show off their tools and, most of all, show off their ability to tattoo.

 

The Tattoo Convention  held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia PA. I can’t say for sure if this is held every winter or if the show date changes from time to time.  I do know that this is held year after year and I was fortunate enough to attend this year.

 

What The Set Up Is Like

 

The convention was set up in a room that felt pretty big. How big?  Geez, I can’t say for sure. Football field size?  Probably smaller than that but still a pretty big venue.  There are dozens of rows perhaps 100 feet long (more? less?) with booths on both sides. 80% of the booths are tattoo artists working live and displaying the variety of tat art they specialize in.  Most of the booths have someone actively getting a tattoo put onto their body.

 

The giant concrete floor room is very austere looking with high ceilings with exposed heating and air conditioning apparatus.  Perhaps appropriate considering getting a tattoo is a very blue-collar, rugged form of personal expression.

 

What The Crowd Was Like

 

Before attending the Tattoo Convention,  I honestly thought this event would be a crazy display.  I expected loads of people showing off extreme body art.  It really was not that sort of circuls event. There were some folks of course with tats covering the face and body, some with spiked Mohawks, some with plenty of studs drilled into their skulls but I was able to count the number of these peopleTattoos-show-Philadelpha (3) on my fingers.

 

The visitors to the Philadelphia Tattoo at a large population of heavily tattooed people but not to the point where I was shocked.

 

There were plenty of wimpy folks like me there too so at no time did I feel as though someone was going to rough me up, pound me down, berate me or force a Mike Tyson-esque tattoo on my head.  Not at all.  I’m joking about this but my point being, if you feel as though you will be out of place, you won’t be. Broad spectrum of people. All races.  Probably 60-70% male, teen to 50′s) and the rest, I’ll saying being a guy, a rather a attractive tattooed female population of all ages probably up to 40′s.

 

That Isn’t To Say This is a Wimp-Crowd

 

Don’t get me wrong, for every one pansey-looking visitor like me there were two tough looking tattooed guys.  That said, everyone was very nice and courteous even with the crowd swelled.   At one point in the dense mob I came chest to chest with a bunch of guys who probably could audition for Orange County Chopper or Sons of Anarchy.  I immediately made a mental note of how I wish my funeral would turn out, but they were all really friendly, excused themselves etc.  I didn’t suffer one beat-down and everyone seemed pretty happy to be there.

 

How Were The Displays in Each Artists Booth?

 

The displays after a while looked rather redundant.  Ever go to a big rock concert and see those black booths selling the dark and brooding concert jerseys? At first glance this is how the entire event looked.  The fun though, is in the details.  Each booth had someone getting a tattoo in just about every (G to PG rated ) area on their bodies imaginable.  The art displays were fun to look through and the tattoo artists and their staff were all very ready to answer any question in a friendly and engaging manner.

 

What Else Was on Display Besides Besides Tattoos?

 

There were tons of booths that did not focus on doing an actual tattoo on the spot.  Whole booths were filled with tattoo tools and needles.  It was neat to see all of the Tattoo Ink Choicesstyles and some of these tools looked to me to be handmade works of art themselves.

 

Some booths were full of a bizzillion varieties of tattoo ink on display for sale.

 

There were also plenty of artists that specialize in piercings, scarification, branding and just about any way you could stab, pound, cut, twist, gouge and burn your epidermis into a work of art, if that’s your thing that is.  I saw a guy laying on his back and someone jammed this giant rod into it.  I overhead someone say it is Japanese tattooing.  It looked more like Sepuku to me.

 

There were a couple displays that featured hoops of all sizes.  If you ever watched National Geographic, you might recall some tribes that  increase their ear piercings to the point where you could pass a trash can through the ear lobe hole. A Tattoos-show-Philadelpha (16)couple displays had these hoops and it was neat to see the variety of sizes and colors.  I didn’t see someone getting a hoop in their lip or ear or wherever but I’ll be you could have gotten one right there on the spot.

 

There was a rather large area in the corner of the room that featured body painting. There were a dozen women or so (give or take) getting their bodies painted for the event.  I think there was even a contest involved but I didn’t investigate enough.  I was too busy likely drooling over the models. Kidding… sort of….

 

A few booths were dedicated to more traditional art as well. Some paintings, clothing, and sculpture. Not many but enough to add a little variety to the program.

 

So It’s Pretty Clear I Can Get a Tattoo Here Right?

 

Yes, you definitely can get all inked up at the Philadelphia Tattoo Convention for sure.  One observation I made though was that some artists were clearly more popular than others.  It takes sense as some of the artists in the esoteric tattoo world are quite famous. There were a couple celebrities there too. We stopped to chat very briefly with Sarah Miller, a former contestant on the show “Inked” who had her own tattoo booth going as well.

 

My suggestion is that if there is an artist you like, you target them early for an appointment.  I noticed some tat artists telling potential customers, “Hey, I can get you in, in about 4 hours”  Other artists look like they’d take you on the spot.  For the most Tattoos-show-Philadelpha (17)part though, the vast majority of artists were actively tattooing someone as I walked by.

 

What If I  Want a Tat Design That I Personally Created?

 

There was a table near the Convention Center entrance where people were handing in drawings of their own tattoos.  This booth would then scan the drawings in and hand them a template to take to the artist.  If you have that tweedy-bird riding a Harley image you created, they can get you inked no problem if you bring it with you.

 

Overall 

 

Good way to pass an afternoon.  If you like tattoos, you’ll be in heaven here.  If you don’t but want to experience a whole other side, check it out.

 

Where is This Event?

 

It was held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  This is typically a yearly event and subject to date and venue change.

 

Thanks for Visiting Our Website

 

Please check out some other really cool things to do near ( and far ) from Norristown, Pennsylvania.  Here is a great coffee shop with some of the best music in the area.

 

Live in East Norriton and just want an easy picnic or close by playground with the kids?

Playground Picnic Near Arch Road, Mercy Suburban, Dekalb Apts

arch-road-park (3)OK, you live somewhere in the East Norriton, Norristown, Plymouth Meeting areas and the kids are just driving you nuts. I mean seriously nuts and you want to start spanking everyone from four to forty years old you might want to consider why they are acting like UFC fighters in the Octagon. My best guess is that they need to get of the house and do something.  You probably want to get out of the house too but you don’t want to drive far. You want to keep it quick and local.

 

What do you do?  I might have the answer but first….

 

…. let’s look at another scenerio.  The weather is nice and warm.  Sunny perhaps with a gentle breeze.  You are on a budget and don’t want to spend a ton of money but you also want to do something nice with that special person or people in your life.   You are thinking of getting out of the house for a nice meal but you don’t want to be cooped up inside like a political prisoner, nor do you want to put a giant dent in your wallet.

 

What do you do?

 

We’ll there are a lot of different cool, cheap and fun ideas to do near Norristown, PA but for this post lets focust on Old Arch Road Park.   Arch Road park is nestled between two neighborhoods just off Arch road.  If you live Northtowne Shopping Center, Dekalb Apartments, Suburban Mercy Hospital, Cole Manor Elementary School, the formerly Kennedy Kendick High School, Corrpolese Bakery,  Germantown and Arch, etc. etc. you are close to this park.

 

What Can I Do There?

 

OK, if you have the kids and want to get them out of the house before they turn the place into rubble, Old Arch Road Park might be your answer.  For the particularly young ones, there is a decent playground with swings, slides etc where they can occupy their time as children do.

 

If the kids are a little older or if you want some more open space to toss a frisbee, play croquet, set up a lifesize chess board or practice Ninjutsu there is a pretty substantial amount of level, open grass with the occasional tree to plow into (be careful :-)

Arch-road-park (2)If you are looking for a cheap outdoor meal away from home there are a few picnic tables that, honestly, I’ve never seen anyone use.  They are in good shape with plenty of trash cans near by to toss what you don’t want to take home.  I dont remember seeing any grills at this park so you might want to stick with sandwiches and other foods you don’t need  to cook.  If you were considering grilling a nice ostrich or pheasant you are out of luck here.

 

Pet Walking

 

Bring a pet for a walk. Pet dog, cat, cheetah, gorrilla whatever you have as long as it is on a leash. There are pet clean up bags offered in dispensers hanging up in the park (you’ll need more than one bag for the gorrilla my guess is)

 

Jogging

 

Honestly, there isn’t much room to run here. There is only one path that bisects the park between New Hope Street and Old Arch Road. I’d say its about 100 years long. So why did I bring up the jogging?  Because I’m a jerk I guess….. kidding… it is still a decent place for a run.  There are two neighborhoods. One is across from the arch-road-park (4)park on the other side of Old Arch Road (Brownstone Drive) and another next to the park (Megann Circle).  Both neighborhoods more or less run in a loop. You can jog one, cross Arch (be careful, fast traffic), take the park’s path down the other other neighborhood.  It’s a good way for a quick jog with limited traffic.

 

Size of the Park

 

Pretty small but not many people use it so there is usually room. It looks like its about 100 yards long by 100 yards wide, though my distance estimation skills are about equal  that captain when he tried to steer the Titanic around that ice.

 

Parking

 

I love the parking at this park.  Plenty of spaces and a wicked-easy pull in pull out.  You’ll see what I mean when you go.  Ample, free parking.

 

Facilities

 

During my visits to this park I did NOT see any Porta Potties or bathrooms of any kind. This is important to keep in mind.  This park is best accessed by people who live nearby.  If you came across a total I-gotta-go emergency, Northtowne Shopping Center is Nearby and you might be able to access a bathroom in a local restaurant.  I can’t guarantee they’ll let you use their facilities and I can’t guarantee they won’t sell your children into slavery in exchange for relieving yourself but I suspect it will go smoother than that if you ask nicely (maybe).

 

Where is Old Arch Road Park

 

OK, it is located between New Hope Street and Old Arch Road in East Norriton. Parking is on the Arch Road side.  Here is a map to help you out.


View Larger Map

What Else Can you Tell Me About Old Arch Road Park

 

Not a heck of a lot actually.  Keep in mind that while you won’t likely be carded, these parks are generally for the residents of the township.  There are homes all around the park so be courteous of their peace and privacy. There are ample trash cans to discard any waste.

 

This is a nice little park for people who live close by and just want to kill a couple hours.

 

What Other Cool Things Can We Do In The Area?

 

Well, this site has quite a few ideas.   If you are looking for a unique, inexpensive Asian meal, check out my post that reviews Pho Thai restaurant in East Norriton

 

If you don’t mind driving 20 minutes or so there are some cool places to check out some original music.  My review of one coffeeshop in Phoenixville has some of the best bands any cafe has to offer. Check it out.

 

Please stop back and read more articles here on Things to Do Near Norristown from time to time.  It was great to have you stop by.  I will add new posts continuously so be sure to bookmark this site or share on Facebook or just remember it with your awesome memory  (or, as I suggested, just bookmark it or share it ;-)

 

Thanks again! We would really love it if you came back often.

 

Steel City – Great Vibe and Live Music In Phoenixville

Sitting in a cozy couch watching from side of stage

Sitting in a cozy couch watching from side of stage

Finding bands covering popular radio top 40 songs is pretty easy to do these days.  Go to any popular nightclub that is open late and you’ll be certain to find the typical bands playing the local circuit of clubs.  Finding local live cover bands in the Montgo, Delco, Chestco, Philly area is as easy as finding as finding a clothes hanger in a Kohls department store.

 

What if you want to find some original music that doesn’t sound like what is blared on the radio all day?  What if you want to find eccelectic music that involves a little artistic license?   There are a number of places in the area that caters to this creativity.   The one we’ll focus on in this post is Steel City Coffeehouse in Phoenixville.

 

Steel City is a coffee house that sits across from Molly McGuires in Phoenixville, PA.  Steel City serves the usual varieties of coffee, snacks and music. Pretty much the same old stuff right? Wrong!  Steel City has great original music, a variety of fun foods to eat and they serve only organic certified coffee from an artisan roaster. The inside of the place is pretty cool too.

 

If you like the indie, folk, soul, world, songwriter, fusion rock/jazz/blues, etc. this venue is for you.  Steel City brings in a variety of acts that keeps the music varied and interesting.  One time I was in Steel City during the Phoenixville Firebird festival (check out my review here of this crazy event) and the band played what I figure was Indian music complete with three belly dancers.  That is the sort of entertainment you may experience during a visit to Steel City.

 

Tickets for the shows at Steel City run from somewhere around $12 to say $40

Inside Steel City

Inside Steel City

depending on who is playing, when you buy your ticket, and how you want to be seated (the Firebird Festival event was free).  Tickets purchased in advance typically cost less than tickets bought at the door.  Tickets that get your reserve seating cost a bit more than at the door and at the highest price level you can get a table with an entree served.

 

Food is pretty basic and fun here. French bread pizza, mac & cheese, salads, sandwiches, all of different varieties and some catchy names.  They also serve teas, juices, etc and even some cold drinks like shakes and root beer floats.  They also have a dessert menu as well.

 

Steel City is long and narrow with high ceilings. Not exactly Sistine Chapel high ceilings, unless the Vatican has seriously redecorated but fairly high tiled ceiling with deep, rich colored walls adorned with art for sale from what I presume are local artists.  At each end of the cafe there are cozy couches and in between are wood, restaurant style chairs with small square dinner tables and small, round cocktail tables.

 

The area behind the stage is a really interesting. I guess you would call it graffiti art

Right in front of band. Notice cool hanging lights and unique design in back

Right in front of band. Notice cool hanging lights and unique design in back

but it looks very tactful and well placed (see pictures).  The stage itself is an excellent size for a coffee shop. Typically I’m used to coffee houses excusing customers as they slide tables out of the way to make space on the floor for a ‘stage’ but Steel City Really has one and it is a decent size. When I was there there were four or five band members plus three belly dancers comfortably performing on stage.

 

Overall, I’d say the place has a bit of a hipster feel, which is just perfect for this type of venue, though the crowd is diverse.  The patrons seem to be the tolerant type that really appreciates original, eclectic music along with a good cup of Joe and nothing else really matters.

 

Steel City Website

 

If you want to check the band schedule or learn a bit more about Steel City, here is the Steel City Coffeehouse web site

 

Where is Steel City?

 

Steel City is Located on Bridge Street in Phoenixville Pennsylvania.  Basically take Egypt Road all the way out to Bridge and make a left.  Here are the directions.

Overall, I really like Steel City.  Steel City’s home, the town of Phoenixville is a fun place to visit as well. Great events and a nice vibe.

 

Please visit this site more often! We’d love to have you stop by.  I created Things to Do Near Norristown with the hopes of giving people some great ideas for things to do when they have no idea what they want to do.  Many of the activities, places and events are located in the Norristown area but there are other things to do a bit further away, but not too far, that make for a nice trip in the Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and Delaware counties and a whole lot more.  We’ll add new posts with fun ideas regularly so be sure to bookmark or simply remember it (for those of you with the Einstein type brains)

 

Other Ideas For Something to Do Near Norristown

 

Wolves used to be an animal native to Pennsylvania.  Over the course of hundreds of years they were driven out of PA never to be seen in this area again…. or are they?   I went to a park in Royersford where I saw wolves and a whole lot of other cool animals for freeBe sure to check out this post and let us know what you think of this place. It was a cool and unexpected good trip.

 

I wouldn’t go out of your way to visit this town, personally I think Phoenixville is the more fun of the two, but if you want to get on the bandwagon early, this town is an up and coming town. If you are looking to visit a cool town that isn’t quite cool yet but will be, check out my post. You might not want to plan your whole day around this place but if you are in the area there might be something here for you to do.

Photo of Inside Steel City

Photo of Inside Steel City

Good Thai Vietnamese Food in East Norriton Near Norristown

Thai Vietamese SoupI’m usually the first one to admit that I’m not an expert food critic by any means. When I started my “Things to Do Near Norristown” website I had decided that if was do food reviews, I’d probably stick with only places that really had something a little extra to offer.

 

I was asked on a date not too long ago and we went to a great little Vietnamese place in East Norriton.  East Norriton as you may know borders Norristown Borough and is also super close to Blue Bell, Collegeville, Plymouth Meeting to name a couple of places.  My date had suggested this place and since I was starving both for food and, sadly, some attention staring over a pair of chopsticks, I gladly accepted.

 

We went to a place called Pho Thai Nam.  I had driven by this place before. It is tucked away in a strip mall set back about 100 yards from Germantown Pike.  I really thought this place would be just another tiny, austere, linoleum-looking Asian take out place where you were handed a bag of food lined with bags of mustard, soy sauce and fortune cookies.  Boy was I wrong. Really wrong.

 

When we walked into Pho Thai Nam I found it spacious and adequately decorated in what I presume is Vietnamese or Thai style.  The decor was tackful (not tacky) and pleasant.

 

We were immediately seated.  Initially, I thought I could fool my date into thinking I was a culinary expert (which I am when I dine at Lou’s Zeps in Norristown by the way, or Kentucky Fried Chicken) but I soon realized she had me completely out-classed and I gladly surrendered the menu over to her.  She perused the menu and immediately knew what she wanted and with complete faith I decided to select the same thing.

 

We both got the Pho Ga Chicken Pho soup with crispy sprouts on the side. It is basically a large bowl of beef noodle soup topped with tender chicken breast.  When it was delivered there was a huge pile of crispy bean spouts, jalapenos, basil and limes on the side.  You basically add as much of this pile of sides as you want to the broth of your soup.  There is also a zesty brown-black sauce and a hot orange-red sauce (did they actually call it ‘poison’) on the side too to add for taste.

 

So how was Pho Thai Nam you wonder?  It was AWESOME. It was truly great and, believe it or not, it was filling.  I can eat with some of the best championship eaters in the country and this bowl of Pho Ga Chicken soup had me full.  Even better yet, each bowl, which keep in mind is a meal in itself, was only  $8.95 .  Even better yet, she (my date) paid for the dinner.   I needed the pampering so I gladly accepted

 

I finished the meal with Vietnamese style coffee. If you like coffee, I highly recommend it.  Highly, highly recommend it.  Basically you get a thick, dark, super strong coffee poured over a separate and very visible layer of condensed milk.  There is also hot water provided on the side.  There is a reservoir on top of the coffee cup where you can add water that will filter down and ’cut’ the strength of the coffee to your taste.  It kind of works like an espresso pitcher if you have ever used one. (Here’s an espresso pitcher lesson but it isn’t exactly what you’ll see at this Thailand / Vietnam establishment)

 

Overall, the restaurant was much bigger than it looked from the outside.  It was quite spacious feeling, yet fairly intimate.

 

The staff was extremely friendly, quick to serve, and helpful.

 

The price was extremely right. Very inexpensive. Great first (or second) date place if that someone special enjoys cuisine from Thailand and Vietnam.  Nice place to take someone yet it lacks pretention and is quite comfortable.  By the way, this would be a great place to eat alone in as well. Seriously, I am serious. Get that table for one, which reminds me…….

 

OK, I’m sure some of you, like the more gossipy types, are wondering how the date went.  It went great at first then spiralled into total disaster. I’m not kidding. I’m a real good guy but I just couldn’t do anything right around this woman.  She seemed really great too. A wonderful person.  I couldn’t figure out if it was because I enjoyed eating my Pho Ga Chicken Pho soup with my feet or if I just acted rude at some point.

 

It didn’t help either that she also had an almost Gandhi-like passion against television violence.  In an act of clearly misguided judgement, I sent her a short movie about a date that ends with a terrible car accident.  (look up ‘Spider on You Tube with Nash Edgerton’, I won’t link it since this is not an R rated site… which this vid definitely is R rated (adult theme, violence)  That too might have contributed to my epic date-fail

 

Here’s a less graphic video that is part of one of my  Things to Do Near Norristown articles. I’m glad I didn’t send this to her either, though the battle is clearly a reenactment.  It is embedded in a post I wrote reviewing the annual reenactment of the Battle of Germantown

 

So Wait! Aren’t You Getting Ahead of Yourself?  Where The Heck is Pho Thai Nam??!!

 

Oh! Sorry, geez.  Ok, if you live in East Norriton or close by, jump on Germantown Pike as if you are heading toward the Bowling alley or the LA Fitness. Don’t go into the LA Fitness parking lot though or you’ll have to walk a few hundred yards and cross traffic barrelling down Germantown Pike.  Instead, pull into the shopping center across the street that is somewhat adjacent to the funeral home and behind the old Friendly’s. Pho Thai Nam restaurant is on the western end  of this strip mall (facing the strip mall it is almost on the left most side).  If you were sitting across the street at Panera, you could probably see it if you were using a Hubble telescope for your contact lenses.

 

If that makes no sense to you then just find Pho Thai Nam below.  It really is good Thai Vietnamese food in East Norriton that, of course, is near Norristown.

Thanks for visitng this post.  Please check out some of my other articles on this site. I am constantly adding new material so hopefully you will keep checking back.  I hope to give you some cool ideas on fun stuff to do in the area.  Here’s a couple other suggestions….

 

If you want to walk off the meal at Pho Thai Nam, I’ve got just the place up the road.  Visit the Norristown Farm park. You won’t even need your trail boots as most of the trails are paved. Click here about visiting Norristown’s Farm Park

 

If you want to try another cool small downtown in the area, check out my Chestnut Hill post on the Harry Potter Festival.  It might not be festival time but Chestnut Hill is a nice area to visit when you are looking for something to do.

 

Pa Veterans Museum in Delaware County WWI, WWII Vietnam and More

If you’ve svet-museum (1)trolled the streets of downtown Media  you might have walked by the PA Veterans Museum a dozen times and never noticed it.   Downtown Media is full of wonderful distractions. There are great places to eat, grab a drink, see a play, listen to music, shop or just walk around and do a little people watching.  With all this fun stuff, it would be easy to walk by the Pennsylvania Veterans museum and never realize how interesting this place is.

 

What Is This Museum All About?

The PA Veterans Museum honors military veterans of all U.S. wars.  Men and women who served during Civil War, World War One, World War Two, Korea, Vietnam, virtually all US involved wars are all honored through various exhibits and educational media.

 

What is The PA Veterans Museum (PAVM) Like?

 

This museum is perfectly situated in the happening, downtown strip of State Street in Media PA.  This is not a large monolithic, metropolitan museum. This is a place where you can spend anywhere from say 15 minutes to and hour or so, then walk out onto State Street to enjoy all the other activities while discussing what a good time you had checking out the exhibits.  Of course, if you hate the exhibits, that will give you something to talk about as well. You see? It’s a win-win.   Enjoy yourself at thisVeteran-museum-delaware-county museum and you’ll have plenty of fodder to keep your future conversations wonderful and stimulating. People will love you and worship your feet.   Hate this event to the point where you walk out in disgust, you’ll also have plenty to talk about.  People will take notice of how angry and passionate you are. They’ll admire you the way Romans admired Caligula (he didn’t live long by the way).  So either way, you’ll leave a more interesting person then when you came.

 

Kidding, sort of, but seriously the more you get out and do things, the more interesting the world becomes, so get out there and do some fun stuff.

 

The PAVM exhibit area is pretty small.  You could walk from end of the museum space to the other in about a minute.  There are plenty of exhibits though to keep you occupied.  If you are in a hurry, you could get through this museum in about 10 to 15 minutes and still enjoy yourself.  If you want to take your time you could spend an hour or so and really take in all the information.  You could spend a few hours here if you’d like, but if that’s the case, chances are you either walk really slow (like iceberg slow) or you have a severe reading disability. C’mon, ’a few hours’… It’s not that big.

 

The atmosphere inside is dark and shadowy.  Displays representing specific wars and events have their own lighting that spotlight each individual exhibit.  This combination of atmosphic darkness and light was a great idea.  It makes the space look bigger and it helps visitors focus on the exhibit rather than feeling like they are being watched by the staff the whole time.  Most exhibits even have a speaker above them designed so that when stand in a certain spot, only you can hear the exhibit and no one else. Great idea.

 

The staff is quite helpful.  One guy, a veteran I presume, walked with me most of the time and explained each exhibit. Since I really felt like checking out PAVM by myself, and I couldn’t get away from him, I came within inches of getting a restraining order on this guy.   I wasn’t sure whether to listen to him or pull out one of those old carbines and tell him to back off.   Ha! Actually, they were great and very knowlegeable.  It was fun hearing an old military veteran adding his knowledge to my experience here.  Keep in mind while you are here, they will want to give you a personal guided tour. It’s like they guide on commission or something. Take them up on it if you want to really delve into this place.

 

The exhibits consist of uniforms from various wars from all branches of the military. There are old weapons and ammunition on display. There are plenty of pictures to look at and plenty of captions to read.  The museum also has a short 10 minute or so movie that runs continously so be sure to check that out as well.

 

Planning Your Visit

 

It is worth while to plan your museum visit in conjunction with a nice afternoon or early evening in Media.   Tour State Street for food, entertainment, drinks, shopping, etc in addition to visiting the Pennsylvania Veterans Museum.Veterans-Museum-Media

 

The museum is open Thursday Thru Sunday from noon to 5:00

 

The cool part about this trip is that the museum is free. Yep, no charge, no cost, no moolah needed to tour it.  It’s all non-gratis if you know what I mean (free). That said, they do take donations so consider a donation but it isn’t mandatory and they won’t turn you into a POW if you fail to leave a small charitable tip.

 

Don’t take my word for it though. Things change like hours, admission and whether they will enslave your children or not. Check out the museum website before your visit to be sure that what I’m saying above still matches up with their current policy.

 

Where is The Museum?

 

The museum is located:

12 East State Street, Media PA, 19063

 

Thanks for stopping by my Things to Do Near Norristown site!  I definitely add articles on a regular basis so keep coming back.  Right now you might not be seeing something you like to do in the region of Philadelphia, Chester, Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery Counties but come tomorrow or next week there certainly might be a post added that will interest you.

 

 

Thanks for reading this “Pa Veterans Museum in Delawayre County WWI, WWII  Vietnam and More” post.  If you have suddenly found yourself with an itch for more military history and you live in the Norristown area, certainly the Norristown library (click here for my review) will have more, free and comprehensive information.

veterans-museum-delco

The library is not your thing? Why not check out a real, live Revolutionary War battle reenactment?  The reenactment of the Battle of Germantown (click here for my review) is great fun and a cool way to enjoy history in dramatic fashion.  You’ll hear the sound of muskets, see men and women dressed up in Revolutionary War period clothing and a very cool assault on the Cliveden House which I also did an article about and would love it if you read it :-)

Thanks again and stop back please!

Fun Things to Do In Near and (not too) Far From Norristown

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