After closing its gates to the public for three months during the City of Philadelphia’s Stay at Home orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Smith Memorial Playground re-opened on Tuesday, June 16 with exciting new summer programming and play areas.
Families can visit free of charge (although donations are welcome) Tuesday through Sunday 10am-4pm (weather permitting). Visitors are encouraged to “bring their own Slide sack” (pillow case or small blanket) to slide down the famed Giant Wooden Slide and children ages 2-5 are invited to bring their trikes to ride around the Giant Web Climber. Additional sections of the Playground that will be open for play include Nature Explore, a peaceful oasis where children can explore their natural surroundings, Swing City and Spin City, where children can enjoy a variety of swings and twirling play equipment.
Smith is also activating its front lawn space to provide social distancing circles pioneered by NYC’s Domino Park that support appropriate physical distancing while families relax, play, and socialize. In addition, Smith is now offering Play Breaks, staff-led group play sessions for children ages 5-10. Families can also continue to book birthday parties at Smith.
“We are excited to continue our rich 120-year history of being a safe, co-ed and racially diverse play space. Free, unstructured play for families is more important now than ever. Research shows that unstructured play, in addition to promoting physical development, has a positive impact on social and emotional health. We're here to support, uplift, reunite, and heal our community through unstructured free play,” says Executive Director, Frances Hoover.
While play is not cancelled, Smith has implemented safety guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19 while visiting the Playground. New procedures include a limited 100-person Playground capacity, taking temperatures of visitors upon arrival, increased cleaning of facilities, and requiring face masks for all visitors 2 years and older.
More details about visiting Smith, summer programming, and general operations can be found here.
Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse is a non-profit organization located in Philadelphia’s East Fairmount Park. Founded in 1899, Smith welcomes visitors from more than 500 zip code areas including every zip code in Philadelphia.
The mission of Smith is to provide and promote opportunities for unstructured free play for children. Smith contributes to the development of healthy children, strong families, and safe communities by: 1) maintaining a proud tradition of free family admission; 2) partnering with community-based organizations to reach a diverse audience; and 3) advocating for the importance of play.
For more information about Smith please visit here.