We know what flower shows can be like: Amidst the beauty, our feet ache, we struggle to carry our purchases, and try to find the nearest restroom or a wayward friend. An app designed for attendees is incredibly handy. After all, we already have our smartphones out to take pictures.
The Philadelphia Flower Show runs from March 2 through 10, 2013. It’s well-known to be the world’s longest-running flower show. And it’s also the world’s largest, with 33 indoor acres alone. What better show to have an app of its own?
The app is free and available now for the iPhone/iPad, Android, mobile web, and desktop. When you start the app for the first time, you’re asked to register. You can run the app as a guest, but if you register by entering your email address, whatever you save in the app (Favorites, notes, etc). will be synced across all your mobile (and desktop) devices.
After the registration screen, you get to choose among six options: Attractions, Schedule, Maps & Show Info, PHS 365, Deals & Sponsors, and My Show.
Clicking the Attractions button takes you to the Attractions submenu.
Here you’ll find the Exhibitors of the 2013 show listed by main categories, such as “Display Garden – Floral” and “Plant Societies.”
Clicking on one of these links yields specific exhibitors…
…and clicking further shows the Details page, containing the exhibitors’ contact information and a description of the exhibit.
Most important of all is the exhibit’s location (such as “Show Floor Hall B Rear”) which, when clicked, will take you to a handy map section of the flower show floor. I call it a map section because it’s just one piece of an overall map. It won’t zoom in on a booth, but instead present just a screenful of a very large overall floor map. You can zoom in on the screen for a closer look. I was expecting the ability to see an entire floor by using the left/right buttons at the top of the map page, but as of this writing, the buttons don’t function.
Regarding the buttons, here’s an explanation from Bravura Technologies, the app developer: “The Left/Stop/Right buttons on the browser view is the way it works on Apple—its default buttons that come up on any browser view from within the app and cannot be disabled programmatically. What it is meant to do is, if you have a link within the page you are viewing and you click on that, then you can go back to the previous page. For example, if you go to PHS Blog, then click on some link within that page and navigate to another page, then the previous (left) button will allow you to go back to the previous PHS Blog page.”
Rather than use the pre-chosen categories, a search feature lets you type in any particular interest (such as “Rhododendrons”) and you’ll be presented with a list of exhibitors with that interest area in their descriptions.
Add an exhibitor to your Favorites list from an exhibitor’s Detail page for retrieval later on (more on Favorites in just a bit).
Shopping is similar to Exhibitors, with contact, booth info, and a Favorites button. Rounding out Attractions is Flower Show Fun, with contests, surveys, and trivia games, and a Twitter feed of the latest tweets from @PhilaFlowerShow.
You can see all the goings-on by Track or Date, or use Search to find something specific. When you find something you like, click “Add to My Schedule” on the Detail page and it’ll appear under “My Schedule.”
You won’t be able to see your entire schedule on a single screen, though; so if you know you saved something and you see “No information available,” scroll through your saved events using the blue buttons at the top. Your events are only saved on the day they are held. This could work to your favor if you know you’ll only be able to attend a single day and have to pack a lot into your trip. Save to your heart’s content, then scroll through the days to see which day has filled up the most.
Maps and Show Info menu
This section contains how to get tickets, where to eat, member and visitor services—lost & found, ATM machines, coat check, auto emergencies, hand stamping procedure, allowed photo equipment, stroller info—all the nitty-gritty details you’d expect to find at any convention of this size. Also included are further details about programs and special events. You’ll also find twelve overall maps of the show floor, ballroom, Philadelphia, etc. which will help in getting oriented.
PHS 365 menu
Connect with the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society on this menu. They sponsor programs “365 days a year,” not just this one show! Of particular interest is the “Gardening Information” section, where you’ll find recommended book lists, subject guides, and the unique “Ask a gardener.” Type in your gardening question and a list of frequently asked questions will appear. If you don’t see the answer, you can fill out a form and submit your question.
Deals & Sponsors
This menu lists the flower show sponsors with special deals offered by PHS, the exhibitors, or the city of Philadelphia itself. Try searching for a deal, such as “ticket” or “tour,” and see what comes up.
Here’s a shortcut to My Schedule that you created under the Schedule menu. You’ll also find your saved Favorites – and you can even add personal, to-do type stuff to the list. As of this writing, there’s nothing listed under Announcements, but there likely will be as it gets closer to the show date.
Overall, the Philadelphia Flower Show app is a handy reference that is well worth the download—well before you attend the show—to help plan your trip.
Have fun at the show!
Direct downloads to the Philadelphia Flower Show app: