Is the Fairmount Park Conservancy the same thing as Philadelphia Parks & Recreation?
No. We are an independent nonprofit organization. We work in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation in many aspects of our work.
What are the best ways to keep in touch with events and happenings in Philadelphia’s Parks?
For the latest information, we recommend signing up for our e-newsletter. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
How do I get a map of Philadelphia’s parks?
Fairmount Park Conservancy maintains an interactive online map that allows you to find different types of park sites by categories such as “recreation,” “family & kids,” “historic sites” or “arts & culture.”
You can order a full-color folding map of Fairmount Park highlighting “50 Unique Experiences” for $10 in our online store.
Parks & Recreation also maintains a “Places to Go” page on their website.
Who can I talk to about hosting an event at the Horticulture Center?
Events at the Horticulture Center in West Fairmount Park are managed by Stephen STARR Events. To find out more, you can contact Leila Miller at 267.886.1472 or by email at Leila.email@example.com
I’d like to organize a picnic in Fairmount Park. Do I need a permit?
If your picnic is for less than 50 people, you do not need a permit to use the park. However, if you do not secure a permit there is a chance that another group that did request a permit could show up and claim your space. To secure a permit, which does entitle you to the space, you must fill out this picnic site request and submit it to the Special Events Office (4300 South Concourse Dr. Philadelphia, PA 19131 Case Building 215-685-0060) within at least 10 business days of your event. Picnic sites are $35 to reserve. Covered pavilions for larger groups are $140 to secure. To reserve the Belmont Grove Picnic Area, you must fill out this form and submit payment allowing 10 days for processing. The Belmont Grove Picnic Area includes: 2 Picnic Pavilions, each with: 8 Tables, 3 Charcoal Grills, 2 Horseshoe Pitches, 1 Volleyball Court, Water & Electric 1 Softball Field (Two Hour Time Block), Restrooms, Tot/Youth Playgrounds 135 car fenced parking lot, Sports equipment – Horseshoes, Volleyball, Badminton, Softball & Bats, and Football (ID Required).
A full list of documents and forms can be found at Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s website.
Who can I talk to about organizing a 5K Run/Walk in Fairmount Park?
You can contact the Special Events office of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation at 215.685.0060.
Where can I go to eat in Fairmount Park?
Fairmount Park has a number of eateries for any occasion. Whether for a quick lunch at Cosmic Cafe along the Schuylkill River or a special dinner at The Valley Green Inn in Wissahickon Valley Park, there is something for everyone! Click here to view the map of Fairmount Park and select “Restaurants & Cafes.”
Who can I contact regarding concession opportunities?
Opening concessions is an exciting prospect for Fairmount Park, and the Cosmic Cafe at Lloyd Hall, Burholme Golf & Family Entertainment Center in Northeast Philadelphia, multiple locations of Wheel Fun Rentals, and the new TreeTop Adventure course in West Fairmount Park are a testament to that. If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Bob Allen at 215.683.0207 or Marc Wilken at 215.683.0232.
Who do I talk to about street trees?
Contact the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Street Tree Management Division at 215.685.4363 or make your street tree request online using this form.
Who do I talk to about having a wedding or a picnic in the park?
Call the Special Events office of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation at 215.685.0060 or visit the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation website.
How do I reserve an athletic field or recreation facility?
Click here for an Athletic Field or Recreation Facility Permit Application.
For all other permit applications and rules, please visit Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.
Can I rent bikes in the park?
Yes, in front of Lloyd Hall on Kelly/East River Drive in the Boathouse Row area and at FDR Park in South Philly, where rental boats are also available. Wheel Fun Rentals is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. – sunset April through October. Call Wheel Fun Rentals at 215.232.7778 or visit their website.
Philadelphia also has a public biking system, Indego, the city’s newest public transportation system!
How do I volunteer with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation?
Call 215.685.0217 or visit the Volunteer Activities page.
Where can I learn more about the Water Works?
You can visit the Interpretive Center inside the Water Works building. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays and holidays.
Where can I find information about the various Park Friends Groups?
The Love Your Park portion of our website has information about how to become more involved with your neighborhood park. Whether you want to join a Park Friends Group or just volunteer once or twice a year, you can get involved at whatever level you feel comfortable. We love new friends and new faces! You can contact Erin Engelstad, our Park Stewardship Manager at 215.391.4897 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on park events and volunteer opportunities.
For answers to many other frequently asked questions visit Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s website.
Can I book my wedding through the Fairmount Park Conservancy?
No. Each venue manages its own event scheduling and booking. One of the most popular rental venues in the park is The Horticulture Center.
Who can I talk to about hosting an event at The Horticulture Center?
Events at The Horticulture Center in West Fairmount Park are managed by Stephen STARR Events. To find out more, you can contact Leila Miller at 267.886.1472 or by email at Leila.email@example.com. To watch a time-lapse video of The Horticulture Center transforming from greenhouse to glamor, click here.
Where else in Fairmount Park can I have a wedding?
We have included a list of suggested venues in East and West Fairmount Park with their website and contact information. We hope this helps and that you have a wonderful event:
Ridgeland Mansion – cancersupportphiladelphia.org/rentals / 215.879.7733
Lemon Hill – lemonhill.org/rentals.html /215.232.4337
Laurel Hill – thelaurelhillcemetery.org /215.228.8200
Strawberry Mansion – historicstrawberrymansion.org/events /215.923.6000
Valley Green Inn – valleygreeninn.com/banquets.php /215.247.1730 ext 109
Glen Foerd – glenfoerd.org/weddings-rentals /215.632.5330
American Swedish Historical Museum – americanswedish.org/rental.htm /215.421.7765
For additional locations, visit Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s list of venues.
Do I need a permit to have wedding photos taken in the park?
Yes. Philadelphia Parks & Recreation offers a Wedding Ceremony and Engagement permit.
- Swimming (except at authorized pools where a lifeguard is present)
- Skiing, skateboarding and skating (prohibited on roads and other paved areas in the park system unless the site is designated for recreational purposes)
- Pets off-leash
- Amplified sound
- Any meeting or assembly of 50 people (or more) without a permit
- Littering and dumping
- Driving on the grass or other non-vehicle areas
- Wrecking, removing or defacing park property
- Removing any plants, animals or rocks
- Vending, selling or soliciting anything without the proper license and permit
- Lighting a fire, except in a stone fireplace or a metal barbecue stand
- Using metal detector devices
Can I let my dog off-leash?
All dogs/pets must be on a leash of not more than six feet at all times. Pets are required on-leash for several reasons, including 1) feces pollutes water sources and 2) to protect the habitats of ground nesting wildlife. For more information, see Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s best practices.
Can I fish?
Fishing is permitted under the rules as outlined by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Can I hunt?
You are not allowed to hunt, trap, chase or capture any kind of wildlife, or disturb any nests or eggs.
Are permits required when using horses?
Permits are required when using: horses, carriages, horse-drawn vehicles and other non-motorized, wheeled vehicles. Exemptions: Anyone using Forbidden Drive, Pennypack Trail or designated access roads does not need a permit. Horseback riding along Forbidden Drive and paved trails are exempt from this requirement.
Can I drive my horse-drawn vehicle onto park trails?
Horse-drawn vehicles may be driven on park trails of sufficient width to accommodate them safely. Travel by horse-drawn vehicles shall be single-file on all park trails including Forbidden Drive.
Why do we need more trees in Philadelphia?
Trees have been proven to encourage physical activity, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gases, cut energy consumption, increase home values and boost commercial activity.
Who is responsible for the trees on my street?
Please contact the Street Tree Management Division at 215.685.4362.
What kinds of trees may I plant along my curb?
Philadelphia residents can get FREE yard trees for their private property through the TreePhilly program. Trees must be planted in the ground on private property in Philadelphia, and may not be planted in the sidewalk or in a container. Participants who pre-register can choose between a variety of species, including shade trees, flowering trees, and fruit trees! Participants can pick up their trees at special events across the city in April and November. At each event, TreePhilly staff will show you how to plant and care for your tree and send you home with a free bag of mulch.
How will a newly planted tree affect my sewer, water lines, sidewalk and/or building’s foundation?
If you choose the correct tree, site and planting conditions, your tree should not interfere with sewer, water line, etc. Most tree roots grow in the soil’s top 12 inches and spread well beyond the tree’s canopy in search of water and nutrients. They don’t “attack” underground mains, unless these are already damaged, providing entrances for developing roots. An adequate and generous tree pit, or long narrow continuous “tree lawn” will provide the best conditions for establishing and maintaining a “well-behaved” street tree with the environment needed to survive in the city.
Where can I get help once I agree to plant a new street tree?
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Tree Tenders (http://phsonline.org/greening/tree-tenders/) are some of the most knowledgeable tree stewards in the city. They offer frequent training classes that will help you to become one as well, by linking you with planting groups in your neighborhood, teaching you about tree species, proper tree care, and more.
How do I take care of my tree?
Adequate site preparation and maintenance (free of weeds), mulched and watered (5-8 gallons each week for the first two years), stakes (to prevent damage from automobile doors and the like) and pruning (best left to Tree Tenders or professionals). The Tree Tenders have some wonderful how-to videos available here.
Should I fertilize my newly planted trees?
This is not necessary as a properly prepared tree pit or lawn will provide all the nutrients your trees will need.
Can I plant flowers or other things in the pit?
Planting annuals or other plants in the tree pit is not recommended. Other plants will compete with the tree for water and nutrients.
Who is responsible for pruning a mature tree or removing a dead one?
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation can prune and/or remove your street tree. An arborist will inspect your site and recommend proper service. Pruning and removals are performed on a first come, first served basis using available funds. Click here to fill out the form.