National Dog Show offers best bang for buck for families

The annual November National Dog Show in Philadelphia is the least expensive major family attraction in the Delaware Valley, according to research done by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia.

Tickets for the Saturday and Sunday, November 19 – 20, event at the Great Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA are $16 for adults, $7 for kids 4-11 years old, and children ages 3-and-under admitted free. Purchase tickets and find more info at:

A comparison with other popular events and venues such as the Philadelphia Flower Show, the Franklin Institute, and the Philadelphia Zoo establishes the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s canine extravaganza as easily the most affordable.

For comparison, in 2022 the Philadelphia Flower Show charged $50 for adults, $35 for ages 18-29, and $25 for children ages 5-17. At the Franklin Institute, tickets are $23 for adults and $19 for children ages 3-11. For admission to the Philadelphia Zoo, consumers pay $24 for ages 12 and up and $19 for ages 2-11.  

The reason that the National Dog Show boasts the best family entertainment value in the region is that the Kennel Club of Philadelphia is a nonprofit with the mission of educating the public about responsible pet parenting and the wonderfulness of dogs. That educational mission includes maintaining affordable price points.

In two years of research commissioned by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia (KCP), Temple University students and members of its Sport Industry Research Center found that the average stay for a family at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center event was 3.5 hours, comparable to the time spent at other attractions or sports events. The cost of parking, which is free at the National Dog Show, is not figured into the numbers.

“We are thrilled that the National Dog Show is hosted in Montgomery County,” said Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board CEO Mike Bowman. “The research shows what we in tourism talk about all the time, that the value proposition of free parking and more-affordable accommodations at our 75 hotels attract visitors to come here rather than attending an event in the city. And with over 700 restaurants, the best shopping in the country, and tons of family-friendly attractions, we give them even more reasons to ‘Make It Montco’ and plan their stay here.”

The dog show has been held in Philadelphia since 1879 and it has run continuously since 1933, moving to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks in 2009. Attendance reached around 15,000 in 2019 but has suffered during the past two pandemic years. The KCP expects to return to previous level of popularity next month.

“As a non-profit with the mission of educating the public about dogs, we take very seriously the need to maintain family-friendly ticket prices,” offered Wayne Ferguson, President of the KCP“Our attraction is wonderfully unique since the dogs are on hand all weekend long at benches for people to meet them and interact with their owners, handlers and breeders so they can learn what kind of canine might be best-suited for their family.”

The National Dog Show is the only show in America this year that is a “benched” show, meaning that each of the 2,000-plus dogs is in an assigned location on the Expo Center floor and people can find them by referring to the event program, which is also free. The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and the Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show at the Cow Palace in San Francisco have not been “benched” because of the pandemic.

The National Dog Show is one of the most prominent in the world, with its history dating back to the 1800s, its location in America’s fourth-largest market, and the television exposure on NBC, which broadcasts the Saturday competition nationally on Thanksgiving Day following the Macy’s Parade. The National Dog Show Presented by Purina total audience exceeds 20 million every year and 2016’s two-hour special achieved a best-ever 5.9 Nielsen rating, higher than all but the most prominent sports and entertainment events on TV.

Photo: National Dog Show