Updated: Oct 23, 2021
Looking for a fun family outing? Or date? Love animals? Want eye-catching photos for your Instagram account?
Take an animal sculpture photo safari. Here’s a list of where to find sculptures by Eric Berg, who is best known for his beloved larger-than-life animal sculptures. Dozens of his sculptures can be found throughout the region.
Berg, who passed away in May 2020, was born in Pottstown then moved with his family to Allentown. He attended The Hill School then studied economics at the University of Pennsylvania. But, the lifelong animal lover realized he liked sculpting animals better than economics and decided to pursue his passion. He went on to earn a master's in fine arts from Penn. Berg's first commission was a warthog for the Philadelphia Zoo and he went on to create more than 40 works. Berg’s sculptures can be found in parks, museums, galleries, schools, zoos and in private collections throughout the nation. The artist strived to foster appreciation and respect for animals and, reportedly, loved when a bird landed on one of his pieces.
Philbert - a 225-pound bronze pig in the seating area at Reading Terminal Market. For good luck, rub his snout, and to spread goodwill, feed him coins, which will be donated to charity.
Pair of Bronze Gates on the Gardner's Cottage in Rittenhouse Square - Gates of carved vines adorned with birds, squirrels, a snail, a lizard, a praying mantis, a frog and a dog - all animals that live and play in the park.
Grizzly Bear and Turtle Family - on the West End of Fitler Square near 23rd and Pine Street.
Figuresphere II - At Schuylkill River Park, between 25th & 26th streets, north of Delancey. One of Berg’s less-common abstract sculptures.
Gate and Railing - Portico Place on 901 Spruce Street, on the north side of the street between 9th & 10th. Another abstract sculpture.
Tortoise - On the 3rd floor of the Academy of Natural Sciences, in the hall near the Outside In, a hand-on nature center. Outside In is currently closed due to the pandemic but the tortoise, which sits in the hallway nearby, is accessible.
For future reference: Tree of Life - A three-dimensional sculpture at Society Hill Synagogue at 418 Spruce Street. It was commissioned by the synagogue about 8 years ago and installed on a wall opposite the sanctuary. It has roots, branches and leaves that can be dedicated and inscribed for simchas (joyous occasions) such as graduations, weddings, births and b’nai mitzahs. NOTE: Currently off-limits due to pandemic.
Turtle - On the playground at the Palumbo Recreation Center at 723 S. 10th (at Fitzwater). The playground is gated, but free and open to the public.
Mario the Magnificent -- The Drexel Dragon at 33rd and Market streets is 10 feet high, 14 feet long and weighs 4,100 pounds. From the creature's head to its feet, it has13 million scales that get gradually smaller. The dragon is named for Mario V. Mascioli, who was active in the school’s board of trustees and alumni organization and who never missed a men’s basketball game in 20 years. This sculpture is just a few blocks away from Berg’s studio in Powelton Village and he often passed it on his way there. The dragon is a popular meeting place and one of the most Instagrammable spots on the Drexel campus.
Puma - At The Caring Center, 3101 Spring Garden Street. If you pull into the parking lot you can get a glimpse of the puma through the gate and snap a photo.
Panda - Tucked into a lush seating area between two Children's Hospital of Philadelphia buildings on Osler Circle, which runs from Civic Center Boulevard to Curie Boulevard.