The showcase, Philly’s unofficial start of spring, kicks off this weekend.​ If you’ve spent any considerable time around these parts, you know the Philadelphia Flower Show’s deal: A gardening and design showcase dating back to 1829, it’s an iconic part of the city’s fabric, an unofficial opening ceremony to spring in the city. Maybe you’ve had your tickets for weeks. Maybe you’re considering swinging by. Maybe you think this is the year you get out of it. (That’s adorable — check with your mom before making other plans this weekend.) Either way, you’re more than likely going. Here’s why we’re excited for this year’s show. Related: No marijuana at Philadelphia Flower Show Things have changed quite a bit since your grandmother dragged you around the perennial exhibits in the ’80s. After hiking the Flower Show Trail, little ones can earn their Junior Ranger badges and attend an official swearing-in ceremony. On March 13, bring your own teddy bear for a pinkies-up family tea party (reservations required) and pay a visit to special guest Thomas the Tank Engine at the Railway Garden, a new attraction that includes large-scale model trains. Related: Kathleen Turner schools at the Philadelphia Theatre Company There’s no way to sugarcoat this: During peak times, the Flower Show is an absolute madhouse. Do yourself a favor and visit on the off hours or, even better, reserve an early morning tour.

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