Acme Accordion School's Musikgarten-certified program introduces tykes to simple rhythms and sounds to develop hand-eye coordination and abstract thinking early in life. Parents move and sway along with their newborn- to two-year-old progeny in the 40-minute Family Music for Babies class, which features dancing, vogueing, and body-awareness games.
At Canvas Mixers, an artist unearths the hidden talent of amateurs in three-hour painting classes. After handing out aprons and 16”x20” canvases or directing patrons to the nearest blank wall, the teacher carefully guides the brushstrokes of students with step-by-step instructions, helping them craft one of dozens of acrylic paintings. They encourage adults to bring their own beverages, such as beer or wine, to help banish nervousness and inhibitions and let creativity flow. The staff also leads drink-free classes for kids and parent-child pairs.
Offsite events have taken place in Love Park and at local wineries. Canvas Mixers also engages with community service, having raised funds for Ronald McDonald House in the past.
The techs at PC Medics of NJ know how to save PCs from the blue screen of death and prevent Macs from melting into applesauce. They can administer technological first aid at their repair shop, at clients’ homes, or via remote access. The computer gurus run in-depth diagnoses before removing any hidden viruses or recommending necessary repairs. In addition to laptops and desktops, the experts also work on tablets and phones.
Woolplay offers more than 100 kinds of yarn and easy-to-follow classes for fiber fanatics of all abilities. Classes last around 1.5 hours, and use time far more wisely than 90-minute horror-musicals about action figures. Take a three-class series, such as Learn to Knit, which instructs beginners on casting on, purling, and knitting. Learn to Knit in the Round, a two-class series, spotlights circular and double-pointed needles, which students employ on a hat-making journey. Single-session classes maintain a pointed focus, like a surgical laser or hoop-jumping dolphin. Easy Lace introduces students to a simple lace pattern, which could eventually find its home in a cozy scarf. Fixing Your Mistakes reveals how to correct for human error, a less burdensome task than repairing sloppy mittens knit by parakeets. Some classes require a $10 to $30 materials fee; check the schedule for more details.
Plants and flames should usually be kept apart, but when John Bartram settled on a 102-acre plot of land in 1728, he was lit with a "Botanick fire" that inspired him to create a comprehensive catalogue of local plant life. Bartram's Garden carries on his enthusiasm for making a “compleat Discovery of the Native Growth in America," collecting an array of native plants, including the oldest Ginkgo biloba in North America and the Franklinia alatamaha, which John discovered in Georgia and saved from extinction.
Bartram's Garden has been a site of historic significance since 3,000 B.C., when Native Americans left behind numerous artifacts, including flakes from stone tools and fire-cracked rock. After Bartram settled on the land, it became a meeting place with his friends, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, with whom he founded the American Philosophical Society and the country's first beach-volleyball league. As King George III's royal botanist, Bartram was charged with shipping crates of precious seeds back to Britain. He helped color Britain’s gardens with new magnolias, rhododendrons, and sugar maples, none of which had been seen outside of America, and published the first nursery catalog in the United States in 1783.
Today, the garden stretches more than 45 acres of parkland, wildlife habitats, tidal wetlands, and a reclaimed meadow. Visitors can wander the grounds and gaze at Bartram's austere stone cottage, or look around at the same trees and plants that Bartram discovered centuries ago. Past the manicured nursery and orchard, a recently completed mile-long trail extends to the Schuylkill riverfront and east coast greenway.