Dover Downs Goes Large

Expansion of its hotel takes landmark to a whole new level.


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While Lady Luck usually calls the shots at Dover Downs, the current expansion of its hotel is a carefully considered business decision made by the company's top executives. The high stakes addition, which includes 268 luxury rooms, a high-end spa and themed specialty suites, will make Dover Downs Hotel & Casino Delaware's largest hotel by October and help keep its edge in an increasingly competitive gaming market.

The $52 million expansion is actually part of a bigger business strategy. "This expansion is the next step in our plan to make Dover Downs one of the premier gaming destinations on the East Coast," says Denis McGlynn, chief executive officer of Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment. He announced the expansion in March 2006.

Dover Downs Hotel & Casino's 2,700 slot machines attract nearly 3 million visitors a year. It has also presented headline entertainers such as Gladys Knight, Wayne Newton, Smokey Robinson and The Temptations. There's live horse racing November through April and simulcast racing all year long. And there is, of course, the NASCAR events that made Dover famous. The hotel expansion will allow the complex to better serve its public.

"Our goal is to make this a resort destination where people come and stay two to three days," says George Fiorile, vice president and general manager of Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. To achieve this goal Dover Downs hopes to offer "a totally unique experience that people will talk about months after they leave," he says.

Already a AAA-rated four-diamond hotel, Dover Downs is taking luxury to an even higher level with this expansion. The expansion will raise Dover Downs' inventory of rooms to 500. The Spa Suites will each have a theme to appeal to a variety of tastes. There will be the Billiard Suite with a pool table, for example, and a Sony Experience Suite, which will feature state-of-the art audio visual gadgets made famous by Sony. Hardwood floors, marble entrances, hot tubs, fireplaces and plasma screen televisions are featured in the suites. Egyptian sheets and Sleep Number beds that adjust firmness are other extras for the hotel guests' comfort.

While Dover Downs staffers are still mum on who will operate the 8,000-square-foot spa, they are negotiating with a well-known, high-end spa in Philadelphia. The spacious spa is at the heart of the addition. It will include 12 treatment rooms and a couple's treatment room and offer amenities such as massages, facials, pedicures manicures and hair services.

To further enhance Dover Down's meeting and convention marketing strengths, the addition includes more meeting space, with three new multi-purpose breakout rooms.

The original hotel, built in 2002, offers 232 luxury rooms, the 18,000-square-foot multipurpose Rollins Center and an award-winning upscale restaurant, Michele's Steak and Seafood. Kent Countians greeted the announcement of the project with mixed emotions. There was excitement, skepticism and even fear among area competitors. "People thought it would have a negative impact on area hotels when we originally proposed it," says Edward J. Sutor, executive vice president for Dover Downs. But as Dover Downs executives predicted, there was enough business to go around. The hotel actually proved to be a marketing boost for Kent County.

Three other new properties are planning hotels for the greater Dover area, according to former Kent County tourism director Mary Skelton.

For that and many other reasons, Kent County Tourism officials welcome the expansions at Dover Downs. It only enhances their efforts to draw visitors to the area. "There's not another venue in the state of Delaware that entertains and brings in the visitors that Dover Downs does," Skelton says.

Beyond drawing casino and NASCAR enthusiasts, the hotel expansion will greatly enhance marketing Kent County as a meeting and convention destination, according to Ned Blair, director of convention sales for the Kent County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Most meeting planners are looking for 200 to 300 rooms under one roof, says Blair. "That's the market we're trying to go after now, but we're unable to meet all the needs of that particular niche," says Blair. In addition to the central location Dover provides, convention planners are looking for the breakout space the expansion will provide, as well as the finer amenities such as the spa and on-site entertainment.

As if the hotel addition weren't enough to keep people busy at Dover Downs, it recently received approval from the Dover Planning Commission for a 75,000-square-foot casino expansion. Plans include more slot machines, three new restaurants, a casino lounge and up to 4,000 square feet of retail space. The state has authorized Dover Downs to expand from 2,700 slot machines to 4,000, but that will occur in increments, says Sutor.

Looking back 40 years, it's hard to believe just how big Dover Downs has grown. Founded in 1967 by John Rollins, who built a 5/8-mile horse racing track there. Car racing came to the track in 1969. For the next quarter century, Dover Downs remained somewhat contained, with growth occurring at a moderate pace.

That changed in 1994, when the state legislature passed the Horse Racing Redevelopment Act to help the ailing harness racing industry by bolstering purses through revenue from slot machines.

Dover Downs growth accelerated greatly with the advent of slot machines. The casino opened in 1995 with 500 slot machines (slot machine casinos also opened at Delaware Park in Stanton and Harrington Raceway) and has undergone five expansions since, bringing the number of machines to 2,700. People flocked from neighboring states to try their luck.

In an effort to build upon this growing demand and entice visitors to stay overnight, Dover Downs Hotel and Conference Center was unveiled in 2002. In addition to what one might consider a typical hotel customer, Dover Downs rewards some of its best casino visitors with overnight stays. Customers sign up to participate in the rewards program and are issued a card. Their length of play and how much they wager determine the reward eligibility.

The threat of competition from neighboring states in the gaming industry and its potential effect on Dover Downs has been a subject of discussion for the past few years in Delaware. Several venues have or are prepared to open in Pennsylvania. Maryland also has been debating legalizing slots.

All this—and the existing competition of Atlantic City, New Jersey—keep Dover Downs executives on their toes. "They're being proactive rather than reactive," Blair says of Dover Down's efforts. Fiorile echoes these sentiments. "We have to continue to be creative and reinvent ourselves," he says.

"It's fair to say we're looking beyond this next expansion," says Sutor. He notes that Dover Motorsports owns an additional 700 acres and Dover Downs Gaming owns 80 acres in the vicinity. "There's plenty of room on our current campus to be able to do several major expansions," he says.

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Contact Name: Christopher Gore

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Nashville rock and folk singer-songwriter, Jeff Ruby, will be returning to the Home Grown Cafe to perform on Acoustic Wednesday.  Ruby will be touring this year in support of his fifth album...

Cost: Free

Where:
Home Grown Cafe
126 East Main Street
Newark , DE  19711
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Jacalyn Beam “A Way of Seeing”  Plein Air landscape paintings from the Brandywine Valley and Delaware beaches. Opening Reception to Meet the Artist - Friday, March 1, 5...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19809
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

CCArts Winter class registrations are open   The Center for the Creative Arts presents its Winter 2019 class and workshop offerings. With over 50 classes and workshops there is...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
Hockessin, DE  19736
View map »


Telephone: 302-239-2434
Contact Name: Nicole Schmid
Website »

More information

TIME STILLED, MY HAIR NARRATIVE A Draper Experiment by Tia Santana March 1 - April 28, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop The Delaware...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

From End Caste Apartheid to Smash Brahminical Patriarchy: The Art of Equality Labs February 25 – April 12, 2019 Curated by Thenmozhi Soundararajan Featuring: Khushboo Gulati | Maari...

Cost: 0

Where:
Asian Arts Initiative
1219 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA  19107
View map »


Sponsor: Asian Arts Initiative
Telephone: 215-557-0455
Contact Name: Melissa
Website »

More information

TOTALLY MYTHOLOGICAL Henry Bermudez February 28 - April 25, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1, 2019 5 - 9 PM | during first Friday Art loop 5:30 - 6:30 PM | Panel discussion,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

March 23 – August 4, 2019 Edward Loper, Sr. is one of Delaware’s most celebrated artists, having lived his entire life in the state and taught generations of local artists. His son,...

Cost: Free with admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

More information

A SENSE OF PLACE 47°-80° N Bethany Springer January 16 - May 12, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, February 1, 2019 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop A Sense of Place 47° - 80°...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

March 2 – May 12, 2019 From the Brothers Grimm and Mother Goose to Dinosaur Bob and Bumble-Ardy, engaging stories and captivating images come alive in the art of picture books. We...

Cost: Free with admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

More information

NEW HEIGHTS Erica Loustau  January 11 - December 11, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  7 - 9 PM Seeking to engage the unused space of our atrium lobby, artist...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

Schedule a private group tour followed by lunch or dinner with a historic, revolutionary war era presentation.* Ideal for conferences, corporate meetings, special interest groups. $25 per...

Cost: $25–$45

Where:
The University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Sponsor: The University and Whist Club
Telephone: 302-658-5125
Contact Name: Stacey Inglis
Website »

More information

ORIGINS Rick Rothrock & Stan Smokler January 8 - April 22, 2019 Special Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  5:30 - 7:30 PM Artist Talk | 6:30 PM The Delaware Contemporary...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466

More information

Whoop It Up! Baseball is Back! Join us at our annual event, at a brand new location…Crooked Hammock Brewery. This event is a great way to kick off the MLB opening games and raise money for...

Cost: $20.00

Where:
Crooked Hammock Brewery
36707 Crooked Hammock Way,
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »

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Join the DelArt Readers, a community-led book club passionate about art-inspired literature. RSVP encouraged, but not required. Email ejarvis@delart.org. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 KentemereParkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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The DelArt Readers will select a book (or a collection of articles or a film) each month. Selections will have an artsy or creative slant to them as we attempt to cross boundaries, giving our...

Cost: Free

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

The Lighthouse Inc. Church presenta el servicio de la iglesia en espanol.  El servicio de la iglesia en espanol comenzia 14 de merzo de 2019.  Hables espanol?  Entonces este es el...

Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 S Railroad Ave
Wyoming, DE  19934-1026
View map »


Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc.Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore

More information

Danny Green is a rising force on the jazz scene and an award-winning Origin Records recording artist, pianist, and composer. His original compositions—a vivid blend of jazz, classical, and...

Cost: $30 Members, $35 Non-Members, $25 Students.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentemere Parkway
Wilmignton, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

Tom Palmer, director. UD's Jazz Ensembles play a number of pieces written by Guest Artist Dave Pietro, as well as tunes by Goergoe and Ira Gershwin, Sammy Niestico and Tom Kubis. A native of...

Cost: 5-15

Where:
Puglisi Orchestra Hall
Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Road
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 302-831-2577
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
Website »

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CCArts Winter class registrations are open   The Center for the Creative Arts presents its Winter 2019 class and workshop offerings. With over 50 classes and workshops there is...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
Hockessin, DE  19736
View map »


Telephone: 302-239-2434
Contact Name: Nicole Schmid
Website »

More information

Jacalyn Beam “A Way of Seeing”  Plein Air landscape paintings from the Brandywine Valley and Delaware beaches. Opening Reception to Meet the Artist - Friday, March 1, 5...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19809
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

TIME STILLED, MY HAIR NARRATIVE A Draper Experiment by Tia Santana March 1 - April 28, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop The Delaware...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

From End Caste Apartheid to Smash Brahminical Patriarchy: The Art of Equality Labs February 25 – April 12, 2019 Curated by Thenmozhi Soundararajan Featuring: Khushboo Gulati | Maari...

Cost: 0

Where:
Asian Arts Initiative
1219 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA  19107
View map »


Sponsor: Asian Arts Initiative
Telephone: 215-557-0455
Contact Name: Melissa
Website »

More information

March 23 – August 4, 2019 Edward Loper, Sr. is one of Delaware’s most celebrated artists, having lived his entire life in the state and taught generations of local artists. His son,...

Cost: Free with admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

More information

TOTALLY MYTHOLOGICAL Henry Bermudez February 28 - April 25, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1, 2019 5 - 9 PM | during first Friday Art loop 5:30 - 6:30 PM | Panel discussion,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

A SENSE OF PLACE 47°-80° N Bethany Springer January 16 - May 12, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, February 1, 2019 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop A Sense of Place 47° - 80°...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

March 2 – May 12, 2019 From the Brothers Grimm and Mother Goose to Dinosaur Bob and Bumble-Ardy, engaging stories and captivating images come alive in the art of picture books. We...

Cost: Free with admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

More information

NEW HEIGHTS Erica Loustau  January 11 - December 11, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  7 - 9 PM Seeking to engage the unused space of our atrium lobby, artist...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

Every Friday | 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.   Read a story fromFairy Tales to Nursery Rhymes, explore art, and create. Ages 2+. Family Friendly.  

Cost: Free to Members, $5 per child and one adult free for Non-Members.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentemere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

Schedule a private group tour followed by lunch or dinner with a historic, revolutionary war era presentation.* Ideal for conferences, corporate meetings, special interest groups. $25 per...

Cost: $25–$45

Where:
The University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Sponsor: The University and Whist Club
Telephone: 302-658-5125
Contact Name: Stacey Inglis
Website »

More information

ORIGINS Rick Rothrock & Stan Smokler January 8 - April 22, 2019 Special Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  5:30 - 7:30 PM Artist Talk | 6:30 PM The Delaware Contemporary...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466

More information

2nd Annual Newark Big Band Festival Newark High School Auditorium March 29, 2019 7:00 – 9:30 pm   Jazz Festival competition hosted by the NHS Music Boosters featuring local...

Cost: $8 for Adults, $2 Students and Children

Where:
Newark High School Auditorium
750 W. Delaware Avenue
Newark, DE  19711
View map »


Sponsor: NHS Music Boosters
Telephone: 302-631-4700
Contact Name: A. Hoseth
Website »

More information

The Lighthouse Inc. Church presenta el servicio de la iglesia en espanol.  El servicio de la iglesia en espanol comenzia 14 de merzo de 2019.  Hables espanol?  Entonces este es el...

Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 S Railroad Ave
Wyoming, DE  19934-1026
View map »


Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc.Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore

More information

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Mark your calendars!  Don’t miss out on two well-organized gymnasiums filled with great furniture, housewares, collectibles, books, baby and children’s gear, sporting equipment,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Archmere Academy
3600 Philadelphia Pike
Claymont, DE  19703
View map »

More information

Sat., March 30: Animal Careers Conference (Ages 14-22), 9:30am – 3pm. Learn about the possibilities of careers with animals. This is a one-day conference hosted at Brandywine Zoo and aimed at...

Cost: $25 - $30

Where:
Brandywine Zoo
1001 North Park Drive
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Website »

More information

CCArts Winter class registrations are open   The Center for the Creative Arts presents its Winter 2019 class and workshop offerings. With over 50 classes and workshops there is...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
Hockessin, DE  19736
View map »


Telephone: 302-239-2434
Contact Name: Nicole Schmid
Website »

More information

Jacalyn Beam “A Way of Seeing”  Plein Air landscape paintings from the Brandywine Valley and Delaware beaches. Opening Reception to Meet the Artist - Friday, March 1, 5...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19809
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

From the dazzling gold of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation robe to the simple sophistication of Princess Margaret’s wedding dress, from the majesty of royal crowns and tiaras to the comfort...

Cost: $6-$20

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
5105 Kennett Pike
Winterthur, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information & Tours
Website »

More information

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 30 Instructor Penni Gioffre, who also teaches in DCAD’s degree program, will lead this two-session, process-oriented workshop that begins March 30 and...

Cost: $100

Where:
Delaware College of Art and Design
600 N Market St.
Wilmington , DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware College of Art and Design
Telephone: 302-622-8000
Contact Name: Katy Ro

More information

TIME STILLED, MY HAIR NARRATIVE A Draper Experiment by Tia Santana March 1 - April 28, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop The Delaware...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

March 2 – May 12, 2019 From the Brothers Grimm and Mother Goose to Dinosaur Bob and Bumble-Ardy, engaging stories and captivating images come alive in the art of picture books. We...

Cost: Free with admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

More information

March 23 – August 4, 2019 Edward Loper, Sr. is one of Delaware’s most celebrated artists, having lived his entire life in the state and taught generations of local artists. His son,...

Cost: Free with admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

More information

From the dazzling gold of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation robe to the simple sophistication of Princess Margaret’s wedding dress, Costuming THE CROWN at Winterthur Museum, Garden &...

Cost: $20 adult

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Winterthur, DE  19735
View map »


Contact Name: Mark Nardone

More information

NEW HEIGHTS Erica Loustau  January 11 - December 11, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  7 - 9 PM Seeking to engage the unused space of our atrium lobby, artist...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

A SENSE OF PLACE 47°-80° N Bethany Springer January 16 - May 12, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, February 1, 2019 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop A Sense of Place 47° - 80°...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

TOTALLY MYTHOLOGICAL Henry Bermudez February 28 - April 25, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1, 2019 5 - 9 PM | during first Friday Art loop 5:30 - 6:30 PM | Panel discussion,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

Schedule a private group tour followed by lunch or dinner with a historic, revolutionary war era presentation.* Ideal for conferences, corporate meetings, special interest groups. $25 per...

Cost: $25–$45

Where:
The University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Sponsor: The University and Whist Club
Telephone: 302-658-5125
Contact Name: Stacey Inglis
Website »

More information

Keeper Talks, 11:30am & 1:30pm, www.brandywinezoo.org (302) 571-7747 Join our keepers for daily talks about the animals here in the Zoo. Topics and animals change daily, so there’s always...

Cost: Adults $ 5, Seniors $4, Kids $3; free for under 3yrs and for members.

Where:
Brandywine Zoo
1001 North Park Drive
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Website »

More information

ORIGINS Rick Rothrock & Stan Smokler January 8 - April 22, 2019 Special Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  5:30 - 7:30 PM Artist Talk | 6:30 PM The Delaware Contemporary...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466

More information

As the Little Sisters of the Poor continue celebrating their 150th anniversary of serving the elderly poor in America, we look forward to sharing our “home” with the community...

Cost: free admission

Where:
Jeanne Jugan Residence
185 Salem Chruch Road
Newark, DE  19713
View map »


Sponsor: Little Sisters of the Poor
Telephone: 302-368-5886
Contact Name: Mikayla
Website »

More information

March 30, 3:00 pm Join us for a special event featuring an exclusive panel of award-winning costume designers and creators from The Crown, including Suzanne Mackie, creative director at...

Cost: $30 per Member. $40 per nonmember. $20 per student with ID.

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

The Lighthouse Inc. Church presenta el servicio de la iglesia en espanol.  El servicio de la iglesia en espanol comenzia 14 de merzo de 2019.  Hables espanol?  Entonces este es el...

Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 S Railroad Ave
Wyoming, DE  19934-1026
View map »


Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc.Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore

More information

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