Contact: Lyn Lewis, Director of Communications, Greater Wilmington CVB,
LynLewis@visitwilmingtonde.com, 302-295-2212, www.VisitWilmingtonDE.com
Delaware Children's Museum
550 Justison Street, Riverfront Wilmington
www.delawarechildrensmuseum.org (302) 654-2340
The Delaware Children's Museum officially opened its doors to the public on April 24th. Although the DCM's mission is to inspire children to explore, discover and celebrate the power of their potential, it's also a unique space to hold an adult meeting or event. The 37,000 square foot museum has a large outdoor deck which overlooks the Christina River and the facility comfortably accommodated more than 900 attendees-including Vice President and Mrs. Biden-during its Fund Raising Gala on April 9th.
The state's first and only museum dedicated entirely to children underscores the value of play in the learning process, especially as it sparks interest in math, science and technology for children ages 1-12. It offers plenty of opportunities for interactive fun and discovery. Highlights include ECO-nect, an environmental experience with a stream table; Bank on It, which explores the concept of money in a kid-friendly way; and Stratosphere, a 3-story, handicapped accessible climbing adventure.
DCM will be open 362 days a year, seven days a week, 9am-4:30pm. General admission is $12 per person; children under 12 months are free.
DuPont Environmental Education Center
1400 Delmarva Lane, Riverfront Wilmington
www.duponteec.com (302) 656-1490
Readily visible from Interstate I-95, the DuPont Environmental Education Center is located at the southern end of the Riverfront in the 212-acre Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge overlooking the Christina River. What was once an industrial wasteland has been transformed into a healthy tidal marsh. More than 200 species of wildlife have been identified including a pair of bald eagles and a family of osprey. The center and refuge are managed by the Delaware Nature Society and open to the public Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free.
A dramatic pedestrian fly bridge extends from the riverwalk to the third floor of the four-story building. The 13,500-square-foot, glass enclosed facility features meeting space offering panoramic views of the marshland and can accommodate up to 80 attendees. Each of its floor features themed exhibits about refuge residents including the Eastern snapping turtle, the raccoon and ospreys who return to the refuge every April. An Osprey Cam is going to be installed in the center and images will be projected on a "touch screen" in the lobby allowing visitors to get a close-up look at the ospreys and monitor the progress of their chicks. Outside, a quarter-mile boardwalk, with strategically located education stations, surrounds a freshwater pond and provides an ideal spot to observe the ospreys as they hover 30 to 90 feet in the air and then plunge feet first into the river to catch a fish. Organized activities include cast and dip net exploration programs, guided bird or marsh walks, canoeing, kayaking and river cruises.
Delaware Park Adds Table Games
777 Delaware Park Boulevard, Wilmington, DE 19804
Known for live thoroughbred horse racing from April thru October, year-round simulcasting and 2,500 exciting slot machines on two spacious levels, Delaware Park is one of only three sports parlay betting venues on the East coast. Now this multi-faceted facility offers table games. The selection includes Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Mini Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, Texas Hold-Em, Let It Ride, 3 Card Poker, 4 Card Poker and Poker. Visit www.delawarepark.com. White Clay Creek Country Club, with a 7007-yard championship golf course, and At the Rail Wine Bar and Grille are also located on the grounds of Delaware Park.
Queen Theatre will Host WXPN Radio and World Café Live - Wilmington
605 North Market Street
Built in 1915, the Historic Queen Theatre once boasted a spectacular auditorium and balcony that seated 2,000. Located in the heart of downtown Wilmington The building is currently being completely restored and is expected to open in Spring, 2011. Located in the heart of downtown Wilmington, just blocks from the Grand Opera House, its reopening is expected to propel the city's renaissance to the next level. Thanks to a partnership between the Buccini-Polin Group and the Light Up the Queen Foundation, the Queen Theatre is being reclaimed as a spectacular music venue, restaurant, broadcast studio and event complex which will showcase performers from across the musical spectrum.
Historic Houses of Odessa Expands Programming and Plans to Add Restaurant to Brick Hotel
Odessa, DE 19730
Just 30 minutes south of Wilmington, visit Historic Odessa and discover some of the finest examples of 18th- and 19th-century architecture and lifestyles. Know as Cantwell Bridge until 1855, Odessa developed as a bustling grain port and played a vital role in Delaware's commercial life. Today, this tranquil village with tree-lined streets seems to have remained untouched by time. Five of the town's most unique properties are known collectively as the Historic Houses of Odessa. They are operated by the Historic Odessa Foundation and include the Corbit-Sharp House (c. 1774), the Wilson Warner House (c. 1769), the Collins-Sharp House (c. 1700), the Brick Hotel (c. 1822) and the Odessa Bank (c. 1853).
What distinguishes these properties is the accuracy of their period rooms and furnishings many of which were crafted by prominent Delaware 18th- and 19th-century cabinetmakers, silversmiths and artists. The exceptional collection of regional decorative arts on display features many pieces of original family furniture, paintings, prints, textiles, silver and pewter spanning the period from 1760 through 1850.
Visitors can enjoy guided house tours, open hearth cooking demonstrations, special exhibits and living history programs. Of particular note is the Foundation's new program-Freedom Seekers: The Odessa Story. This program focuses on the role Odessa and its citizens played in the Underground Railroad and provides a poignant snapshot of the hardships endured by fugitive slaves traveling at great risk under the cover of darkness with limited supplies in the hopes of reaching the North and freedom. It includes an opportunity to explore the hiding places and routes used by local abolitionists to conceal and conduct slaves and a visit to the Corbit-Sharp House which the National Park Service recently designated part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
Plans are currently underway for the addition of a restaurant in the Brick Hotel.
The Historic Houses of Odessa are open March through December, Thursday-Saturday, 10AM-4:30PM and Sunday, 1:00AM-4:30PM. Group tours are available year round by reservation. Admission is $10 for Adults, $8 for Groups, Seniors or Students and free for Children under 5.
Winterthur to Mount New Exhibit...Paint & Pattern: Painted Furniture of Southeastern Pennsylvania
4836 Kennett Pike, Winterthur, DE 19735
Winterthur Museum & Country Estate will host an exceptional furniture exhibit in 2011. Paint & Pattern: Painted Furniture of Southeastern Pennsylvania is scheduled to open on April 2, 2011 thru January 8, 2012. Approximately 200 pieces will be on display and an introductory film is planned to orient visitors to the historic landscape and architectural environment of the Southeastern Pennsylvania region. Other noteworthy area exhibits include Betsy Ross: The Life Behind the Legend at Winterthur and On Assignment: American Illustration 1850-1950 and A Belief in the Power of Beauty: A Selection of Work by May Morris (1862-1938) at Delaware Art Museum. These exhibits are on display thru January 2nd, 2011. Visit www.winterthur.org and www.delart.org.
Possible Group Tour Ideas...
Wilmington...A Mecca for Swedish Historians
Anyone interested in exploring Swedish heritage, is sure to find Wilmington a fascinating spot. The city boasts the Kalmar Nyckel, a seaworthy, full-size recreation of the ship that carried the first Swedish settlers to Wilmington in 1638. When the Kalmar Nyckel is in port, it is available for tours and day sails. A visit to the New Sweden Centre, located next to the Kalmar Nyckel Shipyard, provides fascinating insight into lifestyle of these early colonists. Less than a block away, discover Old Swedes Church. Originally built in 1698, the church has the distinction of being the country's oldest religious institution still in use for its original purpose. Hendrickson House is located on the church property. The original Swedish farm house, which was moved from Pennsylvania in the 1950's is filled with original colonial artifacts.
Gardens Galore and the du Pont Legacy
Start at Hagley where the du Pont story began. In 1802, family patriarch E.I. du Pont de Nemours settled along the banks of the Brandywine and began harnessing its water to produce high quality gunpowder-thus laying the foundation for the DuPont Company. Take a narrated shuttle tour through the breathtakingly beautiful 230-acre property, see 18th- and 19th-century technology in action and experience the lifestyle of five generations of the du Pont family inside the mansion.
The next stop is Henry Francis du Pont's Winterthur which USA Today describes as one of the country's "...ten great places of historic proportions." Board a tram and explore the fabulous naturalistic gardens on this 1000+ acre estate. Then take a themed tour through the 175-room mansion where Henry Francis' world-class collection of American decorative arts is on display.
Just minutes from Winterthur is Longwood Gardens, Pierre Samuel du Pont's horticultural extravaganza. Enjoy 20 outdoor gardens and four acres of gardens under glass in the Conservatory.
Visit Nemours Mansion & Gardens. Modeled on Marie Antoinette's Le Petit Trianon, Alfred I. du Pont's mansion has been returned to its turn-of-the-century magnificence. The mansion is filled with spectacular examples of paintings, ceramics, tapestries and furniture, some of which date back to the 15th century. Outside, Nemours is a landscape jewel with incredible fountains, sculptures and the finest formal French gardens in North America.
Then walk through the cobblestone streets in Historic New Castle which boasts more historic buildings than any East Coast city other than Colonial Williamsburg. Don't be deceived by the town's colonial architecture; Historic New Castle is a vibrant, fully occupied community. Much of the preservation efforts can be credited to Louise du Pont Crowninshield, Henry Francis du Pont's sister and the last du Pont family member to reside at Hagley.
Mt. Cuba Center offers another perspective to this tale of glorious gardens and the du Pont legacy. The former home of Mr. and Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland is dedicated to the study and preservation of Piedmont flora and boasts one of the country's most outstanding wildflower gardens. The 650-nonprofit horticultural institution is open for seasonal tours and classes on all facets of naturalistic garden design.