2016 Park Tours with Bob Thomas Announced!

Won't let a little cold weather keep you indoors? Join us for our Winter 2016 Park Tours Series, led by legendary trail architect, Bob Thomas. Get a behind-the-scenes tour of some of our region's fascinating public spaces, with a side of Bob's always colorful commentary. Check out the full list at http://www.philaparks.org/park-tour-info/

January 16: Pennsylvania Highlands

February 13: New Jersey Pine Barrens

March 19: Woodlawn Tract in Northern Delaware

April 16: The Great Schuylkill to Susquehanna Passage



Commission on Parks and Recreation Meeting: November 18th 6pm

The Commission on Parks and Recreation meets six times a year, each time in a different section of the city. We want to make our Friends Groups aware of these public meetings, and we encourage you to attend! The next Commission on Parks and Recreation meeting is in West Philly, on November 18th at 6pm at Shepard Recreation Center: 5700 Haverford Ave. 

At the end of each meeting, there is always time for public comment.  If you have an issue or concern (positive or negative) this is a great opportunity for you to have the attention of the Commission and PPR leadership to make them aware of what is happening in your park.

Weekend Events Roundup

As winter gradually approaches, it is time to make the most of the few remaining warm weekends. And what better way to savor those temperate fall climates than by venturing into the park?

If you’re looking to spruce up your lawn with some additional foliage, you should definitely look into the TreePhilly Fall Tree Giveaway. You can register for your free tree here (note: preregistration is required), and then pick it up this Saturday at Longstreth Elementary School. Saturday’s event also includes educational information regarding how to plant and care for your new tree. For more information visit treephilly.org.

The Center City District is bringing some bark to the park with their second weekend of Fall Family Fun Days with Furry Friends. Saturday’s event includes adoptable animals from PAWS, PSPCA and Morris Animal Refuge, as well as free hayrides and a host of other family friendly activities.

Fox Chase Farm - Photo credit Wikimedia Commons

Fox Chase Farm - Photo credit Wikimedia Commons

If we’ve been barking up the wrong tree with these events, you may want to look into Applefest at Fox Chase Farm. For a small entrance fee, you can spend your Saturday pressing apples, going on hayrides, making apple butter, painting pumpkins, and more.

That’s all for this week, but stay tuned for next week’s round up of parks events. If you are planning a park event that you would like us highlight, send us an email at friends@philaparks.org.

Weekend Park Events Roundup

As fall kicks into full swing, there are tons of fun (and often free) events in Philadelphia’s parks. If you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend, we’re here to give you the rundown on this weekend’s events.

Kick of your weekend with the Star Players' presentation of The Producers. The theatre and arts group of the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation community will be performing Mel Brook’s classic Friday through Sunday at the Venice Islands Performing Arts and Recreation Center.

Get into the fall spirit this Saturday with Woodford Mansion’s Seventh Annual Apple Harvest Festival. The festival features cider pressing, apple tasting, blacksmith demonstrations, pumpkin painting, and tours of the grounds.

Woodford Mansion - Photo credit Wikimedia Commons

Woodford Mansion - Photo credit Wikimedia Commons

For all of the animals lovers out there, head to Sister Cities Park this Saturday for Fall Family Fun Days with Furry Friends. This free event features adoptable dogs from the Morris Animal Refuge and a chance to meet animals from the Philadelphia Zoo’s Zoo on Wheels. Aside from these numerous four legged friends, the event also includes free hayrides, dog safety information for kids, the Barnes Foundation’s ArtSee in the park program, and much more!

If you aren’t a dog lover (or if you have allergies), don’t fret, because Saturday is also the Eight Annual Fishtown RiverCity Festival. This event features cold brews, a host of Philadelphia’s best food trucks, and a musical lineup expertly assembled by WXPN. There’s also a number of family-friendly activities, including a moon bounce, inflatable obstacle course, and arts and crafts.

That’s all for this week, but stay tuned for next week’s round up of parks events. If you are planning a park event that you would like us highlight, send us an email at friends@philaparks.org.

Call to Action: Share Your Philadelphia Park Story

In Philadelphia, the beginning of Autumn is synonymous with a long-awaited break in humidity and the gradual change of leaves. As city’s foliage begins to mirror its proliferation of red-bricked buildings, there’s no better time to contemplate your experience with Philadelphia’s numerous parks.

We want to hear about your experience with the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation system for our ongoing series, Park Stories. At the Philadelphia Parks Alliance, we acknowledge that every resident has a personal relationship with his/her local park, and we want to chronicle and disseminate these many individual stories.

Our local slice of West Fairmount Park - Photo by Philadelphia Parks Alliance

Our local slice of West Fairmount Park - Photo by Philadelphia Parks Alliance

Whether you simply enjoy strolling through the square, you’re actively involved in park advocacy, or you work with your local rec center, we value your input. Your stories help shed light on the critical need for both funding and community engagement within Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation system.

If you are interested in sharing your experiences, please email us at friends@philaparks.org with the subject line “park stories.” You can share your photos, an anecdote, or set up a quick interview with us. It’s a quick and easy way to make a difference and include your voice in the discussion over Philly’s public spaces. We hope to hear from you soon!

Fall Community Fishing Days at the Fish Hatchery

Saturdays through November 14, 2015

Pleasant Hill Park (8900 Delaware Avenue)

PPR's Stewardship Division is proud to host Community Fishing Days at Pleasant Hill Park for kids under 16 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Rods, bait and basic instruction provided. This Saturday program is FREE, and it’s First Come, First Fish! 

Please cast your line and spread the word! Download the Community Fishing Days flyer.

Registration for Fall 2015 Yard Tree Giveaways Is Open!

Philadelphia is transforming into the City of Arborly Love, one tree at a time! Thanks to TreePhilly, a program of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Fairmount Park Conservancy, property owners can join the movement by picking up a free tree to plant in their yard this fall. Register online or over the phone and choose between a variety of trees, including fruit trees! Free mulch and planting and care demonstrations will be available at each event.

Giveaways are October 10 through November 14.

Register today at TreePhilly.org or call us at 215-683-0217.

200th Birthday of General Meade - Picnic October 3rd

Commemorate the 200th birthday of General Meade. On the grounds of the Meade Monument, in Fairmount Park on Lansdowne Drive, north of The Please Touch Museum (Memorial Hall).

The commemoration will include picnic style foods, toasts to General Meade, and a wreath laying ceremony at the monument.

The event is to take place on the afternoon of Saturday, October 3rd, from 1 – 5 PM, please plan to attend with family and friends. NO RAIN DATE!

Side dishes & desserts are welcome, other foods and refreshments will be provided by the MEADE 200 COMMITTEE of the General Meade Society of Philadelphia.

Also, for your comfort please bring folding chairs.
For additional information, e-mail to generalmeadesociety@gmail.com

Meade MonumentMeade Monument, Fairmount Park, Lansdowne DrivePhiladelphia, PA 19101

Parks and Recreation Summer Impact Report

828,191 people visited PPR’s 70 outdoor pools and 5 indoor pools between June 19 and August 21

Swim lessons were provided to 14,950 youth (not unique participants)

7,641 campers enrolled at 130 Neighborhood Day Camps

Total number of meals provided in summer 2015 (includes breakfast, lunch and snacks): 2,820,505

1,550 teens between the ages of 14 and 18 hired by PPR through the Philadelphia Youth Network to work at Neighborhood Day Camps

1,083 additional individuals hired at pools (as lifeguards and pool maintenance attendants) and day camps

View the full report.

What to Expect on Schuylkill Banks During Pope Weekend

As the Schuylkill Banks trail and greenway runs adjacent to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the site of the papal events on Saturday, 9/26 and Sunday, 9/27, the trail will be partially closed to all users.

Trail Closure
Schuylkill Banks will remain open from South Street to Chestnut Street. The Chestnut Street Ramp will be the northernmost exit from the Banks. The trail will be closed to all users from Chestnut Street to Brewery Hill Drive (just north of Girard Avenue) beginning on Thursday, September 24 at 10pm and ending Monday, September 28. We are waiting for confirmation of approximate re-opening times, and will share more detailed information here if and when it becomes available.

A map of bicycle closures and access points is available here.

Restroom Closure
The composting restroom on the trail south of Walnut Street will be closed for maintenance on Saturday, 9/26 and Sunday, 9/27, reopening on Monday, 9/28. Restrooms will be open in Markward Playground in Schuylkill River Park and ample port-o-potties will be available in various nearby locations.

Post-Pope Clean-up
SRDC will be hosting a post-Pope-weekend cleanup to pick up litter on the trail on Tuesday, 9/29 beginning at 1pm. If you are interested in volunteering, please meet us on the trail under the Walnut Street Bridge; no RSVP required. SRDC will provide gloves and trash bags. We hope to see you there!

Trails to Explore this Weekend
This weekend is a great time to explore trails that will be unaffected by closures, including the Schuylkill Banks Grays Ferry Crescent, areas of the Schuylkill River Trail north of East Falls, and other trails in the Circuit regional trail network.

Thank you for your understanding!

Upcoming Events on Schuylkill Banks

Upcoming Events on Schuylkill Banks

Riverboat Tours - See Philadelphia from a new perspective on a Schuylkill Banks Riverboat Tour! Join a fun and fact-filled Secrets of the Schuylkill tour or explore the river and shore on a Boat to Bartram's Garden. Riverboat tours run through October 29:

Secrets of the Schuylkill Tours

  • Saturday, October 10 (5:30 and 7:00 pm)
  • Thursday, October 15 (5:30 pm)
  • Saturday, October 24 (5:30 and 7:00 pm)
  • Thursday, October 29 (5:30 pm) - last Secrets tour of the season

Boat to Bartram's Garden Tours

  • Sunday, October 4 (noon and 2:00 pm)
  • Sunday, October 18 (noon and 2:00 pm) - last Bartram's tour of the season

Kayak Tours - Explore the Hidden River on a professionally guided kayak tour! Hidden River Outfitters agreed to add one more date to the schedule - October 10. So there's still time to take a 5:45 pm basic paddle to the Fairmount Water Works or an 8:00 pm romantic moonlight paddle. An instructional session and equipment rental is included with each tour. Tickets are almost sold out, so call 215-222-6030 x100 soon if you are interested in signing up.

LOVE sculpture goes bilingual for pope

Pope Francis is reportedly not comfortable speaking English — at his major public appearances this weekend in Philadelphia he will speak in Spanish.

A new sculpture will make him feel at home in the city of brotherly amor.

The sculpture by Robert Indiana is the Spanish-language version of his famous LOVE sculpture. Installed at the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps, AMOR pairs with its English counterpart in Love Park to bookend the Parkway with good feelings.

The temporary installation, sitting on a concrete plinth at the top of the museum steps, will provide a backdrop to the pope while he celebrates Mass on the Parkway. Then it will remain for four months, in time to announce the opening of the museum's upcoming exhibition of international pop art.

Indiana made a handful of AMOR sculptures.  One is installed in Washington DC. This one was borrowed from an overseas storage facility and does not have a permanent home. The Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Association for Public Art partnered to bring it to Philadelphia, with the possibility of keeping it here permanently should the city show enough love for it.

Nonprofit riverfront group closer to gaining land it needs to build a S. Phila. trail

Backers of a plan to hasten development along the Delaware River by building a trail with pocket parks and other attractions along the South Philadelphia waterfront are closing in on the land they need for the project.

The Delaware River Waterfront Corp. has acquired a section of riverside property from builders K4 Associates and is close to a deal with local developer Bart Blatstein for the final land to build the 0.7-mile bike and walking trail, said Tom Corcoran, president of the nonprofit.

The parcels are contiguous 10-foot waterside slivers of larger sites their owners are mostly prohibited from developing because of proximity to the river, Corcoran said. The DWRC already owns land on either side of the properties.

"We're landscaping their front yard," he said. "It will improve the property values of all the private owners and mean that they can develop more."

The trail is part of a plan to help renew an area dominated by box stores, warehouses, and strip bars. It would start near Washington Avenue and wind south along the waterfront to a terminus near a Walmart-anchored shopping center.

It would be the biggest piece yet of a larger project, the planned 3.3-mile Delaware River Trail extending north to Fishtown. A roughly two-block section between Spring Garden Street and SugarHouse was completed in 2013 by the DRWC.

The trail project joins other public amenities nationwide that have stoked private development.

In New York, construction has followed the High Line elevated park that snakes through Manhattan. In California, plans to revitalize the concrete-lined Los Angeles River have ignited investment along that waterway.

In Philadelphia, the DRWC's transformation of the Race Street Pier into a landscaped public plaza has coincided with new development and construction plans nearby.

"You have to think in terms of future amenities," said local developer Carl Dranoff, who began renovating a printing plant near the Schuylkill into apartments because of plans for what is now Schuylkill River Park.

On the Delaware, the DRWC plans a trail that would replace a temporary asphalt lane bounded by a rusty chain-link fence through weedy lots.

The trail would be landscaped by RBA Group, which designed the Hudson River Valley Greenway Link in New York City. The project would rely on city and state funds and a grant by the William Penn Foundation, said Corcoran, who declined to disclose a budget for the work.

The recent transaction with Maryland-based K4 - which acquired the 18-acre site from Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 in March - closed on Aug. 24, the DRWC said. The nonprofit used an $850,000 state grant administered through the Natural Lands Trust to acquire the site from the developer.

The DRWC has secured another $850,000 state grant for the Blatstein-owned property, a 14-acre site where developers previously attempted to build a Foxwoods casino, Corcoran said.

Blatstein, who years ago developed much of the area's big-box retail, did not respond to repeated messages seeking comment.

K4 chief executive Jeffery Kozero said the trail would be a welcome addition to the mixed-use project that his company plans near the river, which would include residential units, shops, and restaurants.

The company will soon begin seeking permits for the project, aiming to break ground as soon as June, Kozero said.

"It's a tremendous aid because it promotes traffic to our project," he said of the trail. "We see it as a huge amenity."

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150917_Nonprofit_riverfront_group_closer_to_gaining_land_it_needs_to_build_a_S__Phila__trail.html#CFsQ1RWf3LdKfmDZ.99

Water Tower RC to celebrate 50th Anniversary of pickleball

Big debate in the office: do you prefer halfball or pickelball?"

"The Northwest Pickelball Meetup Group will host an open house at Water Tower Recreation Center to mark the 50th anniversary of the birth of the sport of pickleball. The event will take place on Saturday, Sept. 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m, at the Water Tower Recreation Center, 209 E. Hartwell Lane.

There are close to 500 members in the Northwest Pickleball Meetup Group, managed by Dan Wheeler, racquet sports aficionado and longtime employee of the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation. Wheeler will be retiring from the City of Philadelphia in September 2015.

The day’s events will feature open play on 10 courts, instructional clinics for newcomers to the sport, music by the DJ group Steve and Company, and refreshments. All equipment will be provided for beginners.

Members of the Northwest Pickleball Meetup Group are advocates of Water Tower Recreation Center as a future home of dedicated pickleball courts. This special event will further introduce the surrounding community to the history, the sport and the recreation center as a community resource.

Pickleball, sometimes described as a combination of tennis and ping-pong on a doubles badminton court with a lowered net, came to Northwest Philadelphia in October 2010 at the Pleasant Playground in East Mount Airy before moving to the Water Tower in September 2012.

First played in the summer of 1965 at the summer home of a U.S. Congressman on Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from Seattle, pickleball originated as a family pastime. Played mostly on private courts and in physical education classes in the Seattle, Wash., area, news of the sport spread largely by word of mouth.

In the last 10 years, the popularity of the sport has been fueled by enthusiastic seniors, especially in active adult 55+ communities and thoughtful promotion by its governing body, the USAPA, which reorganized in 2005. Learn more about the sport at www.usapa.org.

This event is free and open to the public."

Registration for Fall 2015 Yard Tree Giveaways is now open!

Registration for our fall yard tree giveaways is now open!

This fall, Philadelphia property owners can register for up to two free trees to plant in a yard or lawn on private property. We have several species available this fall, ranging from tall shade trees to beautiful and tasty fruit trees! Find more information on the species offered this season here.


Participants can pre-register for one of the events listed below to pick up their preferred species.

At each event, participants will learn how to plant and care for their new tree and receive educational materials as well as a free bag of mulch. Pre-registration is required for all events, unless otherwise noted.


Monday, October 5th- Zipcar Tree Giveaway Training and Tree Delivery


Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

100 N 20th St. 19103

Hosts: TreePhilly, Zipcar, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Registration:  http://giveaway.treephilly.org/giveaways/8 (after attending the mandatory training, participants will have their trees delivered to them over the course of the week by Zipcar drivers!)


Saturday October 10th- Bella Vista (19147)

Hosts: Bella Vista Neighbors Association, Bel Arbor Tree Tenders, Hawthorne Empowerment Coalition, Queen Village Neighbors Association

Registration: Coming Soon!  Contact treephilly@phila.gov for more information


Sunday, October 11th- Mayfair (19152)


Grey Lodge Pub

6235 Frankford Ave. 19152    

Hosts: Mayfair Business Association, Mayfair Civic Association, Grey Lodge Pub, Mayfair CDC

Registration: http://mayfairbiz.com/trees.html


Tuesday, October 13th- Hunting Park (19140)


Nueva Esperanza

4261 N 5th St. 19140

Hosts: Nueva Esperanza and Northeast Treatment Centers

Registration: http://goo.gl/forms/UasNNSmUBD


Thursday, October 15th- Hunting Park (19140)


Northeast Treatment Centers

4404 N 5th St. 19140

Hosts: Nueva Esperanza and Northeast Treatment Centers

Registration: http://goo.gl/forms/UasNNSmUBD


Saturday, October 17th- Kingsessing (19143)


Longstreth Elementary School

5700 Willows Ave. 19143

Hosts: John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition, Friends of Heinz Wildlife Refuge, Audubon Pennsylvania



Saturday, October 24th- Tacony (19135)

Hosts: Tacony CDC, Free Library of Philadelphia – Tacony Branch, Tacony Civic Association

Registration: Coming Soon!  Contact treephilly@phila.gov for more information


Saturday, October 31st- West Oak Lane (19138)


West Oak Lane Library

2000 E Washington Lane, 19138

Host: TreePhilly and West Oak Lane Library

Registration: http://giveaway.treephilly.org/giveaways/5


Sunday, November 1st- Kensington (19125)


NKCDC Garden Center

1825 Frankford Ave, 19125

Host: TreePhilly and New Kensington CDC

Registration: http://giveaway.treephilly.org/giveaways/6


Saturday November 7th- East Falls (19129)


McMichael Park

3201-45 Midvale Ave. 19129

Host: TreePhilly, East Falls Tree Tenders, Friends of McMichael Park

Registration: http://giveaway.treephilly.org/giveaways/7


Saturday, November 14th- West Philadelphia (19104)

Hosts: People’s Emergency Center and Drexel University Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships

Registration: Coming Soon!  Contact treephilly@phila.gov for more information


Saturday November 14th- Torresdale (19114)

Host: Associated Polish Home

Sponsors: UPS, Keep America Beautiful and Keep Philadelphia Beautiful

Registration: Coming Soon!  Contact treephilly@phila.gov for more information


Free Delivery and Planting Assistance

Residents with limited mobility can apply for free tree delivery and planting. Space for this service is limited, and residents are encouraged to apply early. To apply, download the application, email us at treephilly@phila.gov, or call (215) 683-0217.


What to do at the 6th annual Philly Honey Festival

Tim Reardon, philly.com

Posted: Tuesday, September 8, 2015, 2:13 PM


What’s “buzzin” this weekend? Beginning Friday, Sept. 11 through Sunday, Sept. 13 the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild presents its 6th annual Honey Festival – a celebration of the sweet nectar produced by bees.

Throughout the three days, the Wagner Free Institute of Science (1700 W. Montgomery Ave.), The Wyck Historic House (6026 Germantown Ave.), and Bartram’s Garden (5400 Lindbergh Blvd.) will host activities all themed around the sweet food.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s going on.

The Wagner Free Institute of Science kicks off the festival on Friday, Sept. 11 with family-friendly fun. From 3 to 5 p.m., kids are encouraged to come take part of Pollinator Power— an after-school program. Designed for ages 6 to 12, the afternoon will include dancing, a pollinator lesson, and a scavenger hunt around the museum.

Following the kid session, an adults-only Honey Happy Hour will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Throughout the two hours, you’ll not only get to sip on sweet beers, you’ll also get to check out an open hive demonstration, honey extraction, and a bee beard example.

On Saturday, Sept. 12, the second day of the happenings will take place at the Wyck Historic House. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the grounds will host a lineup of events featuring open hive demos, a young beekeepers panel, a guided tour of the museum, and the revealing of Wyck’s latest exhibit — a permanent full-size observation hive.

For those 21 and older: At 12:30 p.m., home brewers are invited to have their mead and honey beer sampled, as well as reviewed. Entries must be dropped off by 11 a.m. to be judged. Other local brews will be available to try, too. If you don’t brew but are still into suds, free tastings of honey beer, and mead will be offered throughout the day. 

Make your Sunday a sticky one at Bartram’s Garden for the final day of the Honey Festival. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the garden will begin things with an open hive discussion. Following the panel, watch a children’s bee parade, get an inside look on how to brew beer, and shop for fresh products from local vendors. 

For more Things to Do, check out our calendar for the most up-to-date happenings.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/things_to_do/What-to-do-at-the-6th-annual-Philly-Honey-Festival-.html#li53vrFulFo0tzUR.99

Fairmount Park campgrounds being set up for papal visit

Emily Babay and Julia Terruso, STAFF WRITERS
Last updated: Thursday, September 10, 2015, 1:08 AM
Posted: Wednesday, September 9, 2015, 12:22 PM

Visitors to Philadelphia for this month's papal visit have yet another lodging option: expensive camping in Fairmount Park.

A campground called "Francis Fields," being set up in East Fairmount Park for pilgrims, can hold up to 16,000 people, according to the World Meeting of Families website.

The grounds between the Schuylkill and 33d Street surround a large reservoir. Car, tent, and RV camping will be accommodated.

Such amenities as showers, first-aid supplies, water, food vendors, restrooms, a general store, grills, and charging stations will be available.

One-time rates start at $199 per camper, with additional fees: $99 for tent-only camping; $109 for camping next to a car; and $999 for recreational vehicles. The RV fees includes wristbands for four campers.

The city is not charging the World Meeting of Families for use of the park, according to Mark McDonald, spokesman for the mayor's office.

"Should there be any damage to the park, they'll cover the cost of refurbishing whatever needs to be done," McDonald said.

The campground is about two miles from Eakins Oval, where Pope Francis will appear at the Sept. 26 Festival of Families and celebrate Mass the next day.

Campers may have a longer walk to the papal events, depending on where on the grounds they set up their campsite and which section of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway they can access.

The fees will cover access to the grounds while they are open, from 11 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, through noon Monday, Sept. 28.

As of Wednesday afternoon, no work on converting the park acreage into a campground had been started.

Allowing camping in Fairmount is a first for the city, Deputy Commissioner of Parks Mark Focht said.

Camping is not permitted in any part of the city park system and won't be allowed anywhere but the designated campsite in Fairmount during the pope's visit. "This is the place where folks who want to camp can camp," McDonald said.

The World Meeting camping prices are much steeper than those at Pennsylvania state campgrounds in the area.

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources lists campsite fees at all of its campgrounds ranging from $17 per night simply for access to the campsite to $50 for walled tents and $350 for a deluxe cottage that sleeps six.

ESM Productions, which produces the Made in America concert and the papal visits on the Parkway, is contracting with a company to set up the campsite.

The entrance to the campground will be on the 1600 block of North 33d Street, in the Strawberry Mansion section. Campers will then make their way into the park on Reservoir Drive.

Vehicles parked in the "next-to-car camping" field will not be able to leave and reenter the grounds, while those in the "tent-only parking" area can come and go as they wish. Next-to-car campers will park next to their belongings, while tent-only campers will leave their vehicles in a secured lot and walk to a tent campground.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/pope/20150910_Fairmount_Park_campgrounds_being_set_up_for_papal_visit.html#I3kcrVcampO4DpV0.99


Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Strives to Maintain Over 2,000 Assets

Philadelphia Parks and Recreation

Programs & Assets

According to their 2015 numbers, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation has almost 1,900 assets to maintain (playgrounds, swimming pools, tennis courts, to name a few). In addition to these numbers are the miles and miles of trails that are also their responsibility - most contained in the Wissahickon and at PennyPack. It is amazing how much they can do with the minimal public financial resources they are provided.

The mission of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation is to, "...advance the prosperity of our city and the progress of her people through intentional and sustained stewardship of public land and waterways as well as through safe, stimulating recreation, environmental and cultural centers. We help Philadelphia’s children and other residents grow by connecting them to the natural world, to each other, and to fun, physical and social opportunities." It realizes these goals primarily by caring for land and buildings that through their stewardship become our parks and primarily by developing and carrying out programs that bring these spaces alive through their extensive use by Philadelphians everywhere.

Below can give you an idea of what they have to care for and the ways they bring people into these spaces for active and passive recreation.

Major Assets

In total, the following amenities are managed throughout the city:
156 Recreation Centers and Playgrounds
143 Neighborhood Parks and 7 Watershed Parks
6 Older Adult Centers
223 Miles of Trails
71 Outdoor Pools and 4 Indoor Pools
404 Baseball/Softball Fields
21 Outdoor Hockey Courts
262 Football/Soccer Fields
40 Historic Sites
40 Community Gardens and Orchards
460 Basketball Courts
3 Environmental Education Centers
5 Ice Skating Rinks
277 Tennis Courts
25 KEYSPOT Computer Labs
6 18-hole Golf Courses


P&R Programs

After School Program: Philadelphia Parks & Recreation offers nearly 100 After School
Programs throughout the city, providing safe places and structured activity for over
2,800 children five days a week during non-school hours. Programming focuses on five
wellness areas (fitness and healthy habits, environmental awareness, outdoor activities,
sports and athletics and the arts), with success measured by participant connectedness
to peers and After School staff.

Tot Rec Program: An early childhood program housed in over 30 PPR facilities, Tot Rec is
open to children between the ages of 2½ and 5-years-old. Summer Camps: City-wide,
PPR operates over 130 camps, including neighborhood camps, specialty camps like
rowing, environmental education and performing arts, and special needs camps.
Food Program: In 2013, PPR provided close to 3.2 million meals to Philadelphia residents
18 and under, serving breakfast and lunch to approximately 30,000 kids per day in the
summer and dinner to around 4,000 per day during the school year.

Urban Agriculture: Farm Philly, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation's urban agriculture
program, supports the creation and maintenance of urban agriculture projects on PPR
land, such as orchards, vegetable and fruit production, youth education gardens,
inter-generational gardens, community gardens and market farms.

Visual Arts: PPR's Visual Arts programming provides art enrichment for youths through
summer art camps, Art in the Park programs, After School Program lessons and art

Performing Arts: Provides youth with individual and collaborative hands-on experiences
in all aspects of performing arts through musical theater, dance and acting camps and
workshops throughout the year, including specialty summer camps. In addition, PPR has
its own adult theater group, the Vogue Players.

Environmental Education: Through structured programs at environmental education
centers, summer camps and public events, PPR offers opportunities to learn about our
environment and its inhabitants, and what we can do to protect them.

Outdoor Recreation: Ongoing programming such as kayaking, bicycling, disc golf and
fishing that introduces Philadelphia youth to outdoor experiences available in PPR parks
and facilities.

Sports and Athletics: PPR delivers its own athletic programs like baseball, soccer, rowing,
basketball, gymnastics and golf in addition to hosting many sports leagues and athletic

Programming for People with Disabilities: Philadelphia Parks & Recreation provides an
inclusive environment for all of our program participants through direct communication
between the facility supervisor, staff, parent or guardian and child to determine any
necessary accommodations. Additionally, Carousel House, a PPR facility dedicated to
providing socialization, recreational and educational services to persons with disabilities,
delivers aquatics, athletics, arts, cultural and computer programming year-round.

Older Adult Programming: In addition to daily activities provided at PPR’s six Older Adult
Centers, the department also organizes the Philadelphia Games and a summer Senior
Art Camp.

Leadership Programs: The department’s Strength-Based (Trauma-Informed) Leadership
Program is a touring, award-winning series of social skill programs that use the arts to
build resiliency in children, youth, teens and families, as well as clinical and non-clinical