The Ultimate Fairmount Park Bucket List

Photo via Fairmount Park Conservancy

Photo via Fairmount Park Conservancy

The thought of venturing into the quiet, green, EL-less land that is Fairmount Park can seem a bit intimidating when what you’re used to traipsing around in is an environment made up of grey concrete, confidently dodging speeding SEPTA buses and those clipboard-holding people who are always, without fail, planted along Walnut Street. (You know, the ones who force you into saying awful things like “No, I don’t have a minute for dying otters. SORRY.”)

After all, what’s one to do with all that obstacle-free nature?

But it’s time to get over your fears: This summer, the Fairmount Park Conservancy put together an awesome, pretty detailed map of Fairmount Park, identifying Indego stations, key trails, bike lanes and SEPTA bus stops speckled throughout its 2,050 acres. And along with that map, they’ve compiled a list of 50 Fairmount Park activities worth experiencing — a bucket list, if you will — from fitness-related activities, like playing tennis at Chamounix’s hard courts, getting your downward dog on at Lemon Hill and running Boxers’ Trail, to more Instagram-worthy (and leisurely) activities like picnicking in the Azalea Garden and enjoying the views from the bluffs in Laurel Hill Cemetery.

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The Philly Fitness Instagrammer Who Turns Fairmount Park Trees Into Workout Equipment

When was the last time you climbed a tree? Personally, I can’t remember, but I’m guessing it was at least a decade ago. I’d actually completely forgotten about tree climbing as an activity (these days, climbing the mountain that is my Netflix “My List” is more my priority, you know?) until I stumbled upon the Instagram videos of Emile Sorger, co-owner of Brewerytown’s Yoga and Movement Sanctuary and, it would seem, avid tree climber.

Lately, Sorger has been posting Instagram videos of himself climbing up, swinging on the branches of and jumping from limb to limb (yes, this does inspire gasps) of Fairmount Park trees. And let me tell you: All that tree climbing looks like quite the workout — and after watching one of Sorger’s videos, you’ll be itching to abandon your Netflix marathon and take to the closest tree you can find for a sweat session, too. (Just please, be careful.)

A few of our favorite tree-climbing (and branch-swinging) videos from Sorger’s Instagram collection, below.
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Homicide Captain: Victim Was Killed in Fairmount Park

Photo | Google Maps

Photo | Google Maps

Police have made three arrests in the June 14th murder of 26-year-old Toy Charda Bryant of Chester, whose body was found handcuffed and stabbed in Fairmount Park, with a gunshot wound to the back of her head. Two of the suspects are boyfriend and girlfriend, and all three were people Bryant called friends.

Two weeks later, homicide Captain James Clark has told Philadelphia magazine that he believes  28-year-old Shintele Smith orchestrated the murder.

“She did all the violence. She beat her, she stabbed her several times, and she ultimately shot her in the head,” said Clark, who described the case as “the most brutal murder that I’ve ever seen in my eight or night years in homicide by a female on a female.”

It is believed that an $800 debt is the reason that Bryant was allegedly tortured at the hands of friends during the final hours of her life. Police believe Keith Bullock drove the vehicle that transported Bryant, Smith and Shavon Armstrong from Chester to Philadelphia. Bryant was allegedly handcuffed and stabbed repeatedly by Smith during the ride over, but was ultimately killed by a gunshot wound in Fairmount Park, near the Mann Performing Arts Center, where her body was found hours later. Defensive wounds on her hands suggest she tried to defend herself.

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Fairmount Park Conservancy Lands Award-Winning Executive Director

Rick Magder | Photo courtesy of the Fairmount Park Conservancy

Rick Magder | Photo courtesy of the Fairmount Park Conservancy

The Fairmount Park Conservancy announced in a statement today that it has hired Rick Magder as its new executive director effective September 1st.

The position became vacant when Mayor Jim Kenney recruited then-executive manager, Kathryn Ott Lovell, to be Commissioner of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.

Lauded as a “nationally recognized leader in conservation and urban renewal” by the Conservancy, Magder currently serves as the founding Executive Director of Groundwork Hudson Valley and the Executive Director of Groundwork USA in Yonkers, NY. Magder also launched the Yonkers River Trail that connects New York City to downtown Yonkers, and seeks to “[reclaim] miles of vacant brownfield sites through one of the [New York] region’s most underserved communities.” He has received many prestigious awards including the Conservation Hero award from the National Park Service and the Partners in Conservation Award. Read more »

Victim of Fairmount Park Slaying Has Been Identified

The victim in the Fairmount Park murder has been identified.

The area of Fairmount Park where police found a murder victim Tuesday morning. Photo | Google Maps

Police have identified the woman who was found dead in Fairmount Park early Tuesday morning as Toy Charda Bryant, age 26, of Chester. Police say there are no updates at this time on the investigation of who killed Bryant.

Bryant was found face down and handcuffed, approximately 10 feet from the road. At a press conference yesterday afternoon, Homicide Capt. James Clark ran through a list of injuries the woman had sustained: one stab wound in her upper left torso, multiple stab wounds in her back, defensive wounds on her hands, and a gunshot wound on the back of her head. She also has three tattoos: the word “Loyal” on her chest, “Ka$h” on her right wrist, and a rose on her right thigh. Read more »

Woman’s Body Found Handcuffed, Stabbed in Fairmount Park

Photo | Google Maps

Photo | Google Maps

Update: Police are hoping a couple of tattoos can help them to identify a young woman who was found brutally murdered in Fairmount Park early Tuesday morning.


Philadelphia police found the body of a woman in Fairmount Park Tuesday morning.

The victim, who was found near a wooded area on Georges Hill Drive near the Mann Center, was face down and handcuffed, with a stab wound to her upper left torso, according to police. She was pronounced dead at 8:30 a.m. and no weapon has been recovered.  Read more »

Recreation Dept. and Fairmount Park Tap Avram Hornik for Parks on Tap

Rendering of Parks on Tap on the Schuylkill Banks at the Walnut Street Bridge

Rendering of Parks on Tap on the Schuylkill Banks at the Walnut Street Bridge

Earlier this year, we told you that Philadelphia’s Parks & Recreation Department and the Fairmount Park Conservancy were accepting proposals to operate a rotating series of beer gardens in the city’s green spaces. It has now been announced that Avram Hornik and his FCM Hospitality will be the operator of these pop-up beer gardens known as Parks on Tap.

Hornik is the operator of the hugely successful Morgan’s Pier along the Delaware River and in the past has run Winterfest at Penn’s Landing and the 2013 PHS Pop-Up Garden on Broad Street. This summer, he will try to recreate those magical spaces at 14 locations around the city. Up first is the Schuylkill Banks. The pop-up along the river will run from Wednesday, June 29th through the 4th of July, before heading to 13 other locations in city parks.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About the 1876 Centennial Exhibition


By James D. McCabe from “The Illustrated History of the Centennial Exposition Held In Commemoration of the One Hundredth Anniversary of American Independence.” Public domain from The Cooper Collections of U.S. History.

Today marks the 140th anniversary of the opening of the 1876 Centennial Exposition, which brought nearly 10 million visitors — almost a fifth of the nation’s population — to Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park to view what were then the Wonders of the World. This great World’s Fair — the official title was “The 1876 International Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures, and Products of the Soil and Mine” — was the first ever held in the United States. It introduced attendees to a host of new technological inventions and some really tasty foods, and forever changed the landscape of the city. Decisions made by the Centennial Committee as to roads, buildings, gardens and vistas continue to reverberate today. Here are ten things you might not know about the greatest party this city ever held.  Read more »

Discover Hidden Wonders in Fairmount Park with This Guided Hiking Series

Fairmount Park Conservancy Hike | Photo via Facbooke

Hike in Fairmount Park | Photo via Facebook

When you think of Philadelphia, vibrant woodlands aren’t the first thing that comes to mind — but Philly is actually teeming with natural acres of forest that many locals fail to take advantage of. The Fairmount Park Conservancy hopes to change that with their Go Take a Hike! program, designed to help Philly residents discover the natural wonders hidden right in our backyard. Read more »

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