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 »

Indego to Embrace Fairmount Park This Year

Photo | Indego Facebook

Photo | Indego Facebook

The Indego bike share network turns one this April, and while the folks who run it are pleased with how well it’s done so far, it still has plenty of growing to do. Its expansion plans for the next year will both promote bike riding in Philadelphia’s biggest park and advance its mission of increasing bike ridership in the city’s disadvantaged communities.

Aaron Ritz, complete streets implementation manager in the city’s Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems, said that in the year ahead, 24 bike share stations would be added, most of them in neighborhoods bordering East and West Fairmount Park, including Brewerytown, Strawberry Mansion, Parkside, Mantua and Belmont.
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Get Ready for More Beer Gardens this Summer

Photo by Flickr user Rich Lee

Belmont Plateau | Photo by Flickr user Rich Lee

Let’s fantasize together for a moment: It’s a beautiful Saturday in the summertime. You have no plans. While thinking about what to do, you get a text from a friend who lets you know that there’s a new beer garden at Belmont Plateau and they want you to come.

Okay, I know it’s February and it just snowed, but summer will be here before we know it and drinking a cold beer in one of Philly’s parks sounds nice right now.

Lucky for us, the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation in partnership with the Fairmount Park Conservancy has plans to select vendors to operate temporary food and beverage gardens throughout the Department’s park system. In other words, we are going to have more cool places to sit outside and have a bite and a drink.

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11 Things You Might Not Know About: The Philadelphia Zoo

Photo | Mark Gavin

Photo | Mark Gavin, courtesy Temple University Press

Twenty years ago, Philadelphians awoke on Christmas Eve to dreadful news: A fire overnight in the World of Primates building at the Philadelphia Zoo had killed 23 animals, all of them members of endangered species. The tragedy made international headlines. Here, in memory of John, Snickers, Samantha, baby Maandazi and all the rest, are 11 things you might not know about the nation’s first zoo, courtesy (again) of James McClelland and Lynn Miller‘s new book, City in a Park. Read more »

50 Acres of East Fairmount Park to Reopen to Public After Years of Being Fenced Off

Photo via Fairmount Park Conservancy

Fairmount Park | Photo via Fairmount Park Conservancy

Remember back when Emily, our fearless Be Well Philly leader, rappelled down 31 stories in the middle of Center City one weekday afternoon? Yes: 31 stories. Well, she did it for the experience, but the other 100 folks making their way down the building like Spiderman did it to raise money for Outward Bound. And when Emily chatted with the folks from Outward Bound about what they had coming coming down the pike, they mentioned the awesome Discovery Center — complete with an out-of-this-world high ropes course — they were at the tail-end of fundraising upward of $16 million for, to be built in the East Park section of Fairmount Park, by Strawberry Mansion.

And now fundraising is done, and it isn’t just the students of Outward Bound who will benefit: Mayor Nutter announced the plans to build the education-based Discovery Center, a partnership between Outward Bound and the Audubon Society, yesterday, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports. And once the Discovery Center is completed, hopefully by the summer of 2017, Philly residents, along with students getting their outdoor education on at the center, will have access to 50 acres of land that’s been fenced off since 1970, including trails (hey, runners!) and a giant reservoir-turned-lake surrounded by wildlife and migratory birds. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Read more »

10 Things You Never Knew About the Fairmount Park Mansions

Photos by Mark Garvin, James McClelland and Lynn Miller.

Photos by Mark Garvin, James McClelland and Lynn Miller.

A new book by James McClelland, executive director emeritus of the Philadelphia Art Alliance, and Lynn Miller, professor emeritus of political science at Temple University, landed on our desk recently with a resounding thud. City in a Park: A History of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park System is a thick and terrific compendium of everything that’s in our city’s biggest green space and how it came to be. It includes fodder for a ton of future “Things You Never Knew” posts, but we’ll start with this one, chock-full of obscure facts about the lovely, historic Fairmount Park mansions, whose names are familiar but whose stories may not be. Special holiday note: The mansions “dress up” for Christmas and are open for tours; this year’s version, which begins on Thursday, has “The Twelve Days of Christmas” for its theme. You can visit six historic houses — Mount Pleasant, Lemon Hill, Strawberry Mansion, Cedar Grove, Woodford and Laurel Hill — for just $20 with a holiday pass. Read more »

It’s On: Holiday Running Tour of Fairmount Park’s Decked-Out Historic Houses

Mount Pleasant Mansion | Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Mount Pleasant Mansion | Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

I don’t know about you, but I’m having a really hard time even thinking about the holidays right now, considering it’s 65 degrees and rainy outside. But considering Christmas is just five weeks away (!!!), it’s time to start making the mental shift to all things Yule log and Christmas trees and fireplaces and eggnog.  Read more »

Sorry, You Can’t Camp Out in Fairmount Park for the Papal Visit After All

Francis Fields Campground - canceled

Turns out you won’t be able to camp out for Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia after all.

On Wednesday, the World Meeting of Families announced the creation of the Francis Fields Campgrounds, a segment of Fairmount Park where campers would be able to sleep for the Papal visit on September 26th and 27th.

(Philadelphia magazine’s Victor Fiorillo wrote about the camping proposal in July.)

For $199, people could get access to a fenced-in, secure area in Fairmount Park. Then it was another $99 to $109 if you wanted to keep your car nearby. For $999, you could get a pass for an RV plus four camping wristbands.

Sounds a little expensive, right? All the bad parts of a concert festival and none of the good for pretty much the same price! This seems like a logistical nightmare, so the high cost is understandable — but that’s still a lot of money to go camping.

It turns out a lot of people thought it was indeed a lot of money to go camping. Today Endless Summer Productions, the company running the Francis Fields Campgrounds, canceled the idea. After about two days! Read more »

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