Imagination Playground Opens

Sister Cities Park has a new soft-sculpture play area for the cold-weather months.

Photographs by Brittany E. Hair

On Tuesday, Sister Cities Park  turned off the water in the Children’s Discovery Garden boat pond and debuted a new soft-sculpture play installment in its place: “Imagination Playground” will remain open throughout the cool-weather months.

The idea for Imagination Playground sprung last year when the pond was being emptied. Center City District, the department responsible for renovation of the park, noticed that family visits dwindled once the boat pond closed for the season. To keep the park active year-round, CCD staffers hit on the concept for Imagination Playground by seeking feedback from parents and gaining sponsor support from Brandywine Realty Trust as well as two nearby schools, Friends Select School and Greene Towne Montessori School.

Intended for children 3-10 years old, Imagination Playground has a soft foam-and-rubber flooring surface and is filled with large blue play blocks, made of the same material in various shapes and sizes that encourage creative and imaginative play. Children can move the blocks, put them together, stack them, make slides – whatever they can come up with. "The Imagination Playground is now an invaluable asset,” says Helena Grady, head of school at Greene Towne Montessori. “Now there's really a year-round opportunity for children and families to keep coming” to Sister Cities Park.

For added fun, Sister Cities Park has announced Fall Family Fun Days, which will occur every Saturday in October from 11am – 2pm. Some of these activities include a scavenger hunt, a fire truck visit, a kids Halloween costume parade and various crafts, all of which are free and open to the public. There will also be pumpkins and seasonal decorations for sale from Urban Jungle.

A Mom's Guide to Sister Cities Park

Park benches? Yes.
Picnic tables? Tables (some with umbrellas) and chairs.
Stroller parking? Yes.
Car parking? Kiosk street parking.
Public restrooms? Handcapped-accessible facilities right inside the café and visitor center.
Food? The Milk & Honey Café is just steps away.
Public transportation? Easily accessible on Septa bus routes 32, 33 and 38 and just four blocks from Suburban Station.
Available for parties? You can rent any space in the park, including the Imagination Playground, for parties or events.
Nearby attractions? The Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Rodin Museum, Free Library of Philadelphia, Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Extras: The park’s visitor center offers complimentary trip planning services, onsite option to purchase tickets for area attractions and tours, daily listings of events, and regional maps and brochures.

Sister Cities Park is located at 18th St. & the Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. in Philadelphia. Imagination Playground will be open daily, 10am-6pm, through the fall and winter months, weather permitting.

MK Correspondent Brittany E. Hair took all photographs in the following gallery.

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