The Phoenix Nest

Philadelphia South KOA, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia South KOA, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A Target Destination on the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour

By Jim Fulton

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A Message from the Phoenix

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Abstract

I spent a week at Philadelphia South KOA, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I targeted Philadephia for my Grand Fossil Tour for several reasons. Not only is there a wide selection of museums, including several that focus on science and natural history, but there is family in the area that I haven't seen for a long time.

Page Prerequisites
Page Specifications
Id Flights_GFT_2018_0410
Title Philadelphia South KOA, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Subtitle A Target Destination on the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour
Keywords Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia South KOA, Academy of Sciences at Drexel Institute, Wagner Free Institute of Science
Author Jim Fulton
Author's URL https://fenixnest/Phoenix/
Copyright 2017
Status Published: 2018/5/9
Last Revised 2018-06-22

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Arrived 2018/4/10
Day of Tour 262
Nights Stayed 7
Departed 2018/4/17
Map miles from last stop 92
Mileage on arrival 35,400
Actual miles from last stop 365
Accumulated miles for trip 16,683

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I targeted Philadephia for my Grand Fossil Tour for several reasons. Not only is there a wide selection of museums, including several that focus on science and natural history, but there is family in the area that I haven't seen for a long time.

Page Contents

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A single week is not enough to see Philadelphia. There's science and history and art and "philly cheese steaks" and a wide variety of cultures. This old body just didn't have the energy to sample enough of that smorgasbord. I didn't even visit the Ben Franklin Institute that I remember so fondly from a childhood visit to the city.

I did visit a couple of museums that I'll talk about below, but to get to them, I did some wandering of a more general nature.

The Journey to Philadelphia

The trip from to the Philadelphia area from Delaware was short, only a couple hours. So I extended it a little by spending most of the journey on country roads, near but not often within sight of the Delaware River estuary. This is a continuation of the coastal plain that I talked about in the previous episode of this blog, flat farming country built on 300 million years of silt from the Appalachians, riven with rills and creeks and streams and just plain boggy wetland.

Around Philadelphia

When I crossed the river to Philadelphia to visit The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, I tried four parking garages downtown near the museum, and was turned away at each of them. Whether they had no space, or had no space for my big pickup, I don’t know. Eventually I found FREE on-street parking only a few blocks away, near the Philadelphia Art Museum. The photos here are mostly from my walk to the Academy and back.

Photo Gallery for Philadelphia

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The "Rocky Steps" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Benjamin Franklin Institute
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Benjamin Franklin Institute
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Benjamin Franklin Institute
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Snap Shot
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Snap Shot
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Snap Shot
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Snap Shot
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Snap Shot
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Snap Shot
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Snap Shot
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Snap Shot
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Snap Shot
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Snap Shot
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Snap Shot

Philadelphia South KOA

Technically I didn't stay in Philadelphia, or even in Pennsylvania. Despite its name, this campground was in New Jersey, near Clarksboro. It was previously known as Timberlane Campground, and was recently acquired by the KOA system. For that reason it is laid out differently from typical KOAs: Some of the sites are small. They had to reassign me a different site, when my trailer wouldn't fit the one I originally given. The site I finally got into was oversized and quite comfortable. The lanes have a lot more bends than the usual KOA, and I never got to the point where I could find my way back to the park without my GPS.

That said, it's a lovely, well-wooded park, with a large pond with a fountain and an island with a picnic table. The staff was quite helpful and friendly.

There seems to be ample support for onsite family activities, and that's good, for its suburban setting means there is not much to do in the surrounding community. And they were actively building new cabins and play areas. Of course, it's an easy day trip into Philadelphia, for a $5 one-way toll across the bridge, and that was my primary reason for choosing the park.

Photo Gallery for Philadelphia South KOA

Philadelphia South KOA
Philadelphia South KOA
Philadelphia South KOA
Philadelphia South KOA
Philadelphia South KOA
Philadelphia South KOA
Philadelphia South KOA
Philadelphia South KOA
Philadelphia South KOA
Philadelphia South KOA
Philadelphia South KOA
Philadelphia South KOA
Philadelphia South KOA
Philadelphia South KOA
Philadelphia South KOA
Philadelphia South KOA
Address 117 Timberlane Rd
Clarksboro New Jersey 08020
Home Page https://koa.com/campgrounds/philadelphia-south/
Phone Reserve: 800-562-1727
Info: 856-423-6677
Associations
Rate (net US$) $55
Pros
  • Spacious, well-shaded
  • Large, easily accessed site
Cons
  • Suburban setting: neither shopping nor wilderness nearby
Reviews (as of 2018/5/55)
Reviewer Rating Out of
RV Park Reviews 7.1 Good 10
Good Sam 9.5 10
KOA 4 5
Tripadvisor 3.5 5
Phoenix 7 10
  Site Type pull-through  
  Site Size 10 10
  Ease of Access 9 10
  WiFiPhoenix 6 10

Points of Interest

Of all the things I could have done and places I could have seen in my week in Philadelphia, I picked only two: The Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute and The Wagner Free Institute of Science. Based on their web pages, these promised the best collections of fossils.

The Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute

The Academy of Sciences has the kind of fossil collection that will attract field trips of young kids, that is to say, dinosaurs from the Cretaceous Period! Big ones! And they provide the kind of information that teachers of such pupils can use. But not much more than that. The collection is rather small and limited. Maybe they think that they can’t compete with the large, relatively nearby collections in New York and Washington.

Here are my photos of the Academy and a few of its exhibits. All the other photos will be included in the fossil gallery that I am still working on.

Photo Gallery for Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute

Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute
Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute
Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute
Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute
Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute
Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute
Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute
Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute
Comparison of Elephas, Diplodocus, and Ultrasaurus Forelegs
Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute
(Click for highest resolution image.)
Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute
Parasauralophus
An Ornithischian Dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous Period
Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute
(Click for highest resolution image.)
Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute
Struthiomimus
A Theropod Dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous Period
Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute
(Click for highest resolution image.)
Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute
Paleosuchus palpebrosus
A Live Dwarf Caiman
Academy of Sciences at the Drexel Institute
(Click for highest resolution image.)

The Wagner Free Institute of Science

I found the Philly fossils that I looked for but didn't find at the Academy of Sciences. They were at the Wagner Institute , cases upon cases of them. I only got a few photos, though; and they were illicit, because the Institute prohibits photography.

The Wagner Institute is old, mid-nineteenth century, and not just in its photography policies. Its ancient, decaying building is tightly packed into a neighborhood of early-twentieth century houses and businesses, lining narrow, ill-maintained streets. After leaping back out of an ocean of a pothole, Moby Richard almost reverted to his wild state. It was all I could do to keep him from careening into the schools of cars along the curbs. One advantage: the pothole was so huge that locals have learned not to drive the street, so there was parking along its sides.

Wagner’s curation is definitely not modern. It even brags, “little has changed but the century!” Case upon case of every fossil they could find, as well as the bones or taxidermied carcasses of modern animals. Each with a label indicating their taxonomic classification and sometimes the age in which they lived.

Whoever assembled the collection seems to have focused on the side branches of the tree of life: sponges, starfish, mollusks, and crustaceans. There were very few extinct vertebrates and none that lived prior to the fishes of the Devonian Period. Not even the obligatory T-Rex or Triceratops to thrill the kids.

Moreover, there was little telling of the story of the life represented by the fossils. Oh, they were in chronological order, for the most part, but for any insight into the geological and evolutionary forces that shaped the life, visitors had to ask the single staff person on duty. Like many old museums, Wagner overwhelm visitors with an abundance (over-abundance?) of details, but expects them to comprehend the whole on their own.

But they seem to attract field trips. At least one or two groups were there during my visit. And they offer a variety of classes, perhaps garnering students from nearby Temple University.

Nonetheless, Wagner is valuable resource to the local community, one we might hope will encourage pupils to learn more about paleontology.

Here are my photos of the Institue and a few of its exhibits. All the other photos will be included in the fossil gallery that I am still working on.

Photo Gallery for The Wagner Free Institute of Science

The Wagner Free Institute of Science
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
Eozoon canadense
Rock from the Archaen Eon
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
(Click for highest resolution image.)
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
Laurentian Gneiss
Rock from the Archaen Eon
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
(Click for highest resolution image.)
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
Hyolithes princeps
Fossil from the Cambrian Period
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
(Click for highest resolution image.)
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
Osteolepsis
Fish from the Devonian Period
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
(Click for highest resolution image.)
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
Osteolepsis
Fish from the Devonian Period
The Wagner Free Institute of Science
(Click for highest resolution image.)

Fossils at the Academy of Sciences and the Wagner Institute

The fossil collections at the Academy of Sciences and the Wagner Institute were peculiar but worth my time, and I took lots of photos. As of right now, however, I am unable to show them to you, since I have begun planning a major consolidation of my fossil photo collection, and the time it would take to organize a temporary local collection, for each of the museums I have not yet shown to you, would impede that redevelopment. Furthermore, I'm not allowing myself to work on it until my weekly blogs are up to date. The photos will come, I promise you. It's only a matter of correcting a few bugs in the programming, thereby generating a few new bugs and correcting those, thereby ....

Onward

My next stop after leaving Philadelphia was New York City and its American Museum of Natural History (of Night at the Museum fame). I stayed at Black Bear Campground in the hinterlands near Florida, New York.

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