May 02

123. Jenks Elementary School Playground

07 jenksEver since we started this project, people have been asking me whether we’ve visited Jenks yet.  And on a lovely May weekend day, we finally got up to see what all the fuss was about.  What a beautiful, community-driven playground!  My first thought when I saw it: this is incredible!  My second thought when I saw it: this is going to be an incredibly difficult map to draw!  Zora was enamored.  At one point, after we had been at the playground for nearly an hour, we started playing hide and go seek and, on the second or third time, Zora found such a good hiding place, that I was truly worried this whole project was about to end with a missing child.  This place has so many good hiding places and interesting spots.  If you love playgrounds–or even if you just like them a little bit–you should get yourself up to this jawn.

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Philly Playground Project (reviewed: 3/2/13)

Visited: May 2015

Sep 04

104. Roberto Clemente Rec Center Playground

robertoclementeThis awesome playground, across the street from the Spring Gardens Community Garden in the Spring Garden neighborhood, has something for everyone.  On the hot Sunday we visited, we ran through the misty sprayground, climbed the huge wire pyramid, smelled the pink roses, and raced around the play structure.  It’s a real delight.  It’s clean and well taken care of.  A great tribute to its namesake.




Philadelphia Playground Project review (7/9/2011)

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Visited: August 2013

Feb 19

85. Markward Playground at Schuylkill River Park

This is an amazing park.  It’s got two large play structures with loads of cool stuff, including a slide that’s got to be over 12′ tall.  It has a small see saw (on the left; it’s partially cut off on the diagram above.)  It’s got some of the best landscaping–including beautiful flowers–of any park we’ve been to.  All in all, a beautiful place.  Zora loved the slides–especially the two very tall slides in the top middle of the drawing.  Be warned, though, that you can really get up some speed on the tall straight one.  With the completion of the pedestrian bridge over the CSX tracks, you can now go directly from this playground onto the Schuylkill Banks Trail, up to the Art Museum, and beyond.

Markward Playground’s website.

a4a5a3 Philadelphia Playground Project review (8/2/09)

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Visited: February 2013

Feb 11

50. Liberty Lands Park Playground

This was one of my favorite playgrounds we’ve visited so far, and it was hard to leave, but the sun was setting.  Zora loved the car climbing structure (just like they have in Malcolm X Park in West Philly.)  There’s a small retro jungle gym that Zora wasn’t that excited about, but I loved.  There were some friendly neighborhood kids that immediately started playing with Zora when they arrived.  There’s a lovely community garden, recycling containers, and lots more.  And a stage!  Which Zora took to belt out a rendition of our popular bed time cowboy ballad, Streets of Laredo.

Playground website (Northern Liberties Neighbors Association)

Yelp Review

Philadelphia Playground Project review (2/26/12)

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Visited: November 2012

Feb 11

45. Franklin Square Park Playground

I remember reading in the newspaper when Franklin Square re-opened awhile back and have been meaning to get here, but when you’re on your bike, it’s a bit hard to get there.  So Zora and I borrowed Hiram’s car and drove over to check it out.  The playground has some cool stuff, but there’s also a carousel (that you have to pay for) and a fountain and a mini-golf course and, on the November day we visited, Santa Claus!  A big hit.  Next time we come, though, we’re going to bring some lunch.

Playground website

Yelp review

Philadelphia Playground Project review (July 2009)

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Visited: December 2012

Feb 11

39. Seger Park Playground

03 segerWe visited this park on an otherwise unremarkable Saturday in January, and the place was packed.  Only when I returned home and looked it up on the internet did I learn that it was the second day this renovated playground was open.  And oh! the renovations are so beautiful.  This quickly became one of my favorite playgrounds.  There’s an amazing rope climb in the middle, three hills in the infant lot, the slides are tall, the landscaping is impeccable, there are plans to put in a sprayground, there are plentiful benches, and there’s an extraordinary rope cone spinner unlike anything thing I’ve ever seen before.

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Friends of Seger Park Playground

Philadelphia Playground Project review (visited 2008/09)

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Visited: January 2013

Feb 01

24. Clark Park Tot Lot

This was Zora’s home field playground from the time that she could walk until the time that her friend, Jai, taught her how to go up the climber at Cedar Park Playground.  It continues to be a hit for two reasons.  One, Zora loves the dinosaur climber (which is one of only two that I’ve seen in the neighborhood; the other is inside the membership-required University City Swim Club.)  And two, it’s a rare visit where we don’t get to talk with someone that we know from the neighborhood.  The playground is so social, that it has its own email list.

Philadelphia Playground Project review (7/28/10)

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Visited: January 2012

Jan 15

20. Cedar Park Playground

This is our hometown playground, the one that’s closest to our house and the one, probably, that Zora has been to the most.  Plus, the purple see-saw arch and the three perpetual motion seats are, I believe, not found in any other playground we visited in West and Southwest Philly.  So when people ask me what the best playground is in the neighborhood, I usually tell them this one.  Also going for it is that Cedar Park hosts Friday night jazz concerts in the summer and Satellite Coffee across the street means you can stop for a coffee (or milk) before you go to the park.

Philadelphia Playground Project review (5/28/12)

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Visited: January 2012

Jan 15

17. Malcolm X Park Playground

When I’ve told people that I’m doing this project, visiting all the playgrounds in West and Southwest Philly with Zora, everyone naturally asks me what my favorites are.  Cedar Park and Clark Park playgrounds are high on the list, but they’re there partly because they’re closest to our house and Zora’s school.  If you’re looking for the best equipment in the most beautiful park, the answer has got to be Malcolm X Park.  There’s a spaceship, a fire truck, complicated balance beams, a small gazebo, Talking Bob, one of the tallest double slides around, a slider, a basketball hoop, a swirly slide, and loads more.  Plus, there’s Oldies every Wednesday night and live jazz every Thursday night in the big gazebo during the summer.  Need a bite to eat?  Stop by the nearby pizza joint or get a roti from Brown Sugar, the Trinidadian store a couple blocks up 52nd Street.  And there’s lots of grass and big old trees and well-kept benches in what has got to be one of the nicest parks in West Philly.

Philadelphia Playground Project review (10/31/10)

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Visited: January 2012

Jan 15

15. Bartram’s Garden

I wasn’t going to include this, but couldn’t resist.  These photos are taken from a visit to Bartram’s Garden last summer.  If you love rivers (or trees or quiet places), then bike yourself down to Bartram’s Garden, lock up at the bike racks, and walk through the botanical gardens, where you can sit down and watch the river.  It’s beautiful.  And it’s the first botanical gardens in the entire United States, y’all.  West Philly represent!

Philadelphia Playground Project (not yet reviewed)

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Visited: January 2012 (photos from Summer 2011)

Jan 08

1. Clark Park Big Kids’ Playground

For months and months when Zora and I came to Clark Park, she only wanted to play at the Tot Lot.  So I was pretty excited the day that she decided that she wanted to come try out the Big Kids’ Playground.  But mostly, she just likes the Big Kids’ Playground because the server area underneath is cooler than the one under the Tot Lot.  She’ll go down the big slide sometimes, but after awhile, she’ll head back to the Tot Lot.

Philadelphia Playground Review (7/28/10)

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Visited: January 2012