Philadelphia might as well be called Full-adelphia because it is full of things to do! The Philadelphia Museum of Art not your thing? Just cross to the south side of Philly along South Street to the Philadelphia Magic Gardens! Instead of browsing exhibits, you’ll feel like you’re a PART of the exhibit! I just wish I had known several things before I visited which you need to also know before you visit. Let’s begin, yes? Yes.
Philadelphia Magic Gardens Visiting Tips
Truly, this is an extensive, bizarre, and beautiful place. The artist who created the Philadelphia Magic Gardens, Isaiah Zagar, was as eclectic as adept at fitting seemingly unrelated objects together in a visual cacophony of artistic overload. If you’re living in or visiting Philly, this is a hot spot to see! And it’s popularity is growing!
- Buy Tickets In Advance – A growing popularity? Buying tickets in advance? Is there a connection? Yes. I mention this advance ticket purchase advice because you run a risk of not being able to enter (or at least enter in a timely fashion) by purchasing in person. I waited in a very long line to buy tickets on a weekend and then had to wait even longer to enter due to the demand.
- Attend During The Week – The Philadelphia Magic Gardens are increasingly popular by the year, and visitors naturally attend during weekends. Save yourself some crowd hassle and attend during the week for a smaller crowd and more freedom to explore.
- Extend Your Art Walk By Walking Around South Street – South Street is an artistic haven! Isaiah Zagar had a ripple effect on the surrounding area, and local murals and buildings show signs of that influence. Take a stroll around the area after you’ve walked through the Magic Gardens. It will prolong your visit in a small way. Alternately, stroll around the area before walking through the Magic Gardens to build anticipation!
Negotiating The Philadelphia Magic Gardens
- It’s Smaller Than You Think – Or at least that’s what I think you’ll think. I thought that. I was amazed, but I conceptualized something larger in my mind before I entered. That’s why tour groups are provided thirty minute slots (more on that later!). You can easily see the entire open air exhibit in less than 30 minutes.
- Claustrophobic? You May Not Want To Go… – The above photo shows a typical corridor in the Philadelphia Magic Gardens. You’ll fit easily, but it will be narrow. By no means are visitors enclosed, but the winding halls are definitely tight squeezes if two people need to pass each other. If that kind of claustrophobic situation is a personal struggle, you may not want to go.
- Don’t Touch ANYTHING Rule Can Be Tricky – Adding to the narrow passageways is the official rule to not touch anything. Everything at the Philly Magic Gardens is a vibrant, expansive piece of art. One focus during my visit was to not breach that key rule. Negotiating the halls and walls was tricky enough; adding a bunch of people made an even trickier situation. Be prepared to tread carefully and, at times, slowly.
- Your Children Touch Everything? Wait Until Older – I was a rambunctious child and enjoyed touching objects (and doing the opposite of the instructions…). So blazing hot cookware? “Let’s touch that thing!” I would exclaim in my innocent mischievous endeavors. This is all in my childhood, of course. (Wink, wink at any family reading!) If your children are the same as me, wait to bring them until they are older. The Philadelphia Magic Gardens has ticket prices for children, and it’s a place of wonder. But patience and waiting aren’t bad if you need that extra time.
- Check For Child Events – That being said, the Magic Gardens venue is child-friendly! They offer family-friendly once per month, special guided tours for children, and scavenger hunts to guide your child’s eyes while there. Use your best judgment!
- Don’t Rush Yourself! – The entire garden grounds are small, but you don’t need to leave immediately. Your ticket’s entry is set for 30 minutes yet you can stay as long as you want! If you want to stay all day to study the Magic Gardens’ intricacies, you can. Or you can merely stay while everyone else from your time slot has left to take solitary photos before the next group enters. Either way, you can take your time! I didn’t leave until after the next ticket group entered.
Ready For Your Close-Up?
- Check The Stringent/Detailed Photography/Videography Policy – I was a bit worried when I saw the length of the exhibit’s policy as it was pretty detailed! However, freelancers can freely take photos and video within some limits. Tripods, costume changes, or props require payment. Make sure you read the policy to pay respect to the creator’s wishes. This is art, after all.
- But Get Ready For Your Instafamous Moment – Two selfies in one blog? Yeah, so, I normally don’t post any. But these were two on topic moments! This is a Philly site where you can promote your Instafamous self with awesome, creative photography. Two selfies in a blog post, it is! (Comment below on how on point my travel fashion is! I need the self-esteem boost, folks!)
- Timing And Lighting Are Photography Gold – With the variety of textures, integration of mirrored media, areas where light can stream through or be blocked, and erratic nature of the art formations, you have the potential for photography gold. Sunlight, weather, and time of visit will influence your photography. Be cognizant of this so that you take full advantage of all the elements at your disposal as much as you can. My day was a little drab, unfortunately, as it was primarily overcast. Hopefully, you’ll have better luck!
- Second Reminder – DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING! – I feel as though I need to place that secondary reminder into this article. Why? Because if you search for photos of the Philadelphia Magic Gardens and selfies, you will find photos of people touching the exhibit. Listen, the place is a giant artwork. Would you go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and touch a painting? No? Don’t do it here either. And if you think I’m joking, they have associates standing inside the garden grounds dedicated to telling people to not touch the artwork. And the local news reports about the ongoing preservation efforts, necessary in part because of patrons. If only we would listen. Please listen.
And you’ve made it this far so you ARE good at listening! And you are prepped for a great visit! Don’t forget to comment below if you have any additional tips (or want to give me a selfie self-esteem boost!). Until next time, toodles!