Philly Gets a Beach on Eakins Oval

After years of trips to the Jersey shore, Philly residents will finally get a beach of their own.

Well, sort of.

Today, Mayor Michael Nutter and other city leaders revealed the first details of the much anticipated Eakins Oval “Beach, Blanket and Boardwalk” pop-up park on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

In a press release, Nutter cited the Oval transformation as one of several changes soon to come to the parkway.

“The Oval is the first of many exciting enhancements made to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in support of our action plan, More Park Less Way,” Nutter said.

“We want the Parkway to be a neighborhood park for all Philadelphians that is wonderfully designed, connected to the community, offers a wide array of activities and amenities, and features park space that people can easily access.  I encourage everyone to visit The Oval this summer and experience the new shape of fun.”

Starting July 17, Eakins Oval will be transformed into a mock beach offering an array of free activities for all ages and interests. According to, each day at the Oval will feature a different programming theme including days dedicated to wellness, arts and culture, and family fun. The pop-up park will also include interactive games and fitness activities, educational and environmental programs, live entertainment and food.

Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation Park Concessions manager Marc Wilken said the park will have something for everybody.

“We wanted to make this for everyone. All ages are welcome. We have things for everyone from yoga to Hoegaarden, to food trucks, art classes and movie nights,” Wilken said.

“This is kind of the first phase of more Parks and Recreation plans to revitalize and activate the parkway in a variety of ways, whether its programs, landscaping, concessions or amenities, we’re trying to activate this space with kind of a year-round almost event, that would span spring, summer and fall to really welcome the neighborhood to this space as it had not been done in the past. So we’re popping this park up as the perfect place for people to be; to go and lounge and recreate and just enjoy themselves.”

The pop-up park is the result of a partnership between the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation and the Fairmount Park Conservancy. The project cost a total of $180,000, with $82,500 being provided by generous support from the William Penn Foundation and the remainder being pooled by the City from a combination of designated operation monies and concession funds.

The program will run through Aug. 18 with contributions from a number of local vendors and partners, including the Mural Arts Program which is responsible for much of the visual transformation of the space.

Three Mural Arts Program staff artists, Nathaniel Lee, Parris Stancell and Cathleen Hughes are leading the painting project on the Oval.

“We were invited to participate by the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Fairmount Parks Conservancy mainly because we have expertise in painting things and they knew we had the resources to get it done quickly and in an effective way. We’re thrilled to be a part of the project,” Mural Arts Program spokesman Amy Johnston said.

The Oval will be closed on Mondays for the duration of the program.

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