The east side of Center City has scored three stunning outdoor art exhibits on view this fall — all of them free. Besides the Ghost Ship haunting the Ben Franklin Bridge, there’s a fleet of floating wonders near the Independence Seaport Museum and a fountain in Franklin Square that dances to the Rocky theme song. Here’s a quick guide to the eye-catching installations — and tips on how to snap a standout smartphone photo while you’re there.
The phantasmal white sails of this three-dimensional 18th-century ship rise toward the belly of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. The wraith ship, powered by jets of shooting water illuminated with lights, was designed by Estonia-based artist collective Biangle Studio to draw awareness to the Delaware River’s history. The water blows gently in the wind to make the ship appear as if it’s moving.
Biangle’s Ghost Ship pops up every night Wednesday through Sunday, rain or shine. A self-guided audio tour tells maritime stories from before colonization and up through the present. Local artists, historians, and archaeologists weigh in on the river’s importance to Philadelphia, and dive into the history of the free and forced migration. Connect to the audio tour at delawareriverwaterfront.com/events/ghost-ship.
If you go: Through Nov. 3, 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, adjacent to Race Street Pier, 121 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd., free, delawareriverwaterfront.com
A series of floating sculptures have taken over the Delaware River near the Independence Seaport Museum as part of the museum’s new outdoor FLOW. The temporary exhibit includes 10 installations, by 14 artists from the United States and Canada, designed to examine how people, nature, and waterways are interconnected.
Each work of art addresses the theme in its own way. A floating igloo made of plastic jugs speaks overtly to climate change. A mystical scene of fantasy animals cavorting on an island is more enigmatic.
Many of the installations use recycled and/or natural materials, some of it rescued from the banks of the Delaware. One is made of plastic cutlery. Come at night to catch a few of the displays illuminating the water around them.
If you go: Open daily through Dec. 7 along the Delaware River in the boat basin adjacent to the Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Blvd., free, philaflow.org
The nation’s oldest public fountain now dances to tunes by Boyz II Men, Katy Perry, Louis Armstrong, and more thanks to a $2 million renovation that debuted this summer and continues through the end of October. (It returns next spring.)
New water jets shoot into the air as high as 50 feet during choreographed shows that repeat every half-hour between noon and 2 p.m., then again in the evening, when the jets are illuminated by color-changing LED lights.