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Oval+ Pop-Up Park Opens on the Parkway in Philadelphia

This year, the 8-acre park-for-a-month is divided into areas for games, music and other activities for kids and families.

Children from Camp Francisville stand on the roof deck of a bus during speeches at the press preview of the Oval+ “Double the Fun on the Parkway” on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway near Eakins Oval on July 18, 2019.

Photos by Colleen Claggett

Kids and chaperones from summer camps gathered on the Ben Franklin Parkway across from the Barnes Foundation last week to help open this year’s version of The Oval+, a pop-up park that offers art, food, and family fun on an eight-acre stretch along the Parkway and Eakins Oval.

Commissioner of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Kathryn Ott Lovell celebrates the opening of the Oval+ alongside Oval+ staff and Philadelphia-area youth campers on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on July 18, 2019. (Photo by Colleen Claggett)

Launched in 2013, this year’s Oval+, done in partnership with the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, puts an emphasis on art, creativity, and fun for the family. There is no admission fee and all activities are free.

The long stretch along the Parkway is masterfully painted with pops of bright pink, blue, yellow, and green with the park split into three blocks:

  • MAKE — Features outdoor readings, music rooms, and art installations.
  • HEAR — A retro-fitted double-decker bus serves as a music venue and snack stand.
  • PLAY — Offers multiple small basketball, tether ball, badminton and ping-pong courts.

Children celebrate the opening of the Oval+ with free water ice on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on July 18, 2019. (Photo by Colleen Claggett)

For the next month, from 11am to 11pm, Wednesdays through Sundays, the Oval+ is packed with activities corresponding to that day’s theme. From Wellness Wednesdays, Arts & Culture Thursdays, or Family Fun Sundays, there is a plethora of things to explore at the Oval+.

“Arts and culture are incredibly important to us,” says Hugh McStravick, vice president of client and community relations at PNC, which sponsors the pop-up park. “The Oval is a great example of something that brings people together, where families and children can play and friends and colleagues can meet. We are very proud to be a part of this.”

Colleen Claggett and Emma Kuliczkowski are MetroKids interns and students at Temple University.

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