On Saturday, October 21st, Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation were joined by Mayor Jim Kenney, Representative Regina Young, Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson, Friends of FDR Park, community members, and families to celebrate the official grand opening of the new Anna C. Verna Playground in FDR Park.
The 2-acre all-ages, all-abilities playground features an extraordinary 20-swing structure – the largest swing set in North America! – and custom-designed “birdhouse” structures with slides and climbing areas that acknowledge FDR Park’s role as a premier bird habitat.
An adventure path winds through the site, providing access to all of the play features in addition to spaces for quiet reflection. Embankment slides are embedded into the rolling hills and a forest of wishbone logs provides an engaging place for climbing, balancing, and exploring. In addition to plenty of seating, families can also relax at 13 picnic sites or the new 900-square-foot picnic pavilion, which is centrally located overlooking the play space and nestled amongst native plantings.
“The playground was designed to celebrate and connect people to nature regardless of their abilities,” explains Maura McCarthy, Ph.D., CEO of Fairmount Park Conservancy. “The playground is integrated with natural materials including piloting a new Corkeen safety surface, which is permeable to water, sustainably sourced, and made of recyclable materials.”
The ribbon-cutting event capped a year-long building process following last July’s groundbreaking celebration and marks the first project completed in the Gateway Phase of the FDR Park Plan.
“I’m so grateful to the Conservancy and Parks and Rec for all of the community engagement and input they gathered to design this playground,” said Representative Regina Young. “They heard how important it was to everyone that FDR Park’s transformation be sustainable, so they created the first Philadelphia park plan to incorporate climate resilience, ensuring that visitors can continue enjoying FDR for generations to come.”
The FDR Park Plan is Philly’s largest, most public-facing investment in climate resilience that builds better, more diverse access for everyone in the city and balances nature, water, and human activity into a world-class public space. Named in honor of the late former City Council President Verna — the first and only woman to date to lead City Council — the Anna C. Verna Playground is one facet of this plan, bringing state-of-the-art nature-based play equipment for people of all ages and all abilities.
If you missed the grand opening, Fairmount Park Conservancy has more events planned at the Anna C. Verna Playground!
PLAYGROUND POP-UP EVENTS
Stop by for free family-friendly activities like storytime, face painting, music in the park, crafts, and more.
Stop by 9:30 – 11:30 AM:
Learn more and register here
If you would like to support this incredible playground and leave a lasting legacy, please click here for information about the Park Legacy Program at the Anna C. Verna Playground. Swings, benches, and trees are available to celebrate, honor, or memorialize a loved one or a special event.
Photography by Albert Yee.