The Oval Pops Back Up With A Few Surprises Along The Way

The Oval Pops Back Up With A Few Surprises Along The Way

OK now summer really kicks off on the Parkway as The Oval opens on Friday, July 20. The Oval, appropriately named, is at Eakins Oval in front of the Phila Art Museum. It’s usually a parking lot for the museums nearby, but every summer it gets transformed into a fun playground for kids and adults as various programing occurs that appeals to all of them. Who doesn’t want to sit in a gigantic sandbox, run through the spray room, watch movies outside or hang out in the “Beer Garden”, which welcomes families and serves more than just beer.

Here’s the official word from the Press Release:
For four weeks this summer, from July 20 to August 19, a portion of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be transformed into a grand promenade with the theme, More PARK, More PLAY as part of The Oval+. This year’s season of The Oval+ builds directly on the public feedback and data that Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation collected as part of 2017’s “What’s Your Parkway, Philly?” More than 40 percent of visitors said they wanted to see more family-related activities at The Oval+. This input, added to ongoing safety concerns about crossing multiple lanes of traffic, especially with small children, led the partners to build on the popularity of last year’s installations beyond the perimeter of Eakins Oval.

This year the folks from The Oval created a pathway from 20th Street to The Oval so folks can safely make it to the pop up park. They closed the outter lanes of the northbound Parkway.

It’s now the safest bike lane in the City, as log as you don’t hit one of those logs, especially at night.

At the beginning of the path to The Oval is the Barnes Museum (2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy), which has created it’s own playground oasis with children’s games, lounging areas, yoga mats, croquet sets and colorful balls in the fountain called The Canopy. There’s also a horseshoe court as seen on the left here. Joining the pop up playground at the Barnes, will be the pop up beer garden at the nearby Rodin Museum (2151 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy) where Wednesdays through Sundays, from July 20 through Aug. 19 there will be a Garden Bar which will be til 8 p.m. The garden admission is free, the museum is pay as you wish.

For the second year in a row, Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation have retained Philadelphia-based urban design firm PORT to develop the plan and installations for The Oval+. This year’s installation offers a collection of playful, over-scaled urban furnishings anchoring the Oval’s midway. This public furniture includes an 800-square-foot sandbox, a four-tiered seating platform with views of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and City Hall; a spectacular ribbon pavilion that creates fantastic patterns of sun and shadow throughout the day; and Mr. Mister—a 800-square-foot misting pavilion that the kid in all of us will be drawn to. Each closed intersection stretch of road will be graced by a large-scale mural designed and installed by Mural Arts Philadelphia with the award-winning design and illustration studio The Heads of State. The ground mural on the Oval plus the Parkway ground murals bring a total of painted surface to 56,000 square feet.

Kathryn Ott Lovell, Commissioner, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation speaks to the gathered guests, as Jamie Gauthier, Executive Director, Fairmount Park Conservancy looks on

Jamie Gauthier, Executive Director, Fairmount Park Conservancy speaks to the guests and those in attendance. I always wondered who are these people who attend events in the middle of the work day – often they’re supporters, volunteers and workers from the agencies who support the project.

The beer garden is much larger this year and is still under construction. It’ll definitely be done by tomorrow.

Organizers told me that there will be adult beverages, family beverages and food for all, but you can also bring your own food and drink to
the beer garden as well, and your family as long as there is a member over the age of 21 accompanying the kids.

Staffed park hours are 11 a.m. through 11 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, July 20 to Aug. 19.
Beer Garden hours are 5-11 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, and 2-11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Friday’s grand-opening activities will begin at 5 p.m. when a phalanx of food trucks arrives, and conclude with a 9 p.m. outdoor screening of The Greatest Showman — the first of four Food and Flicks Fridays this season.

Other activity happening at the Oval

  • Wellness Wednesdays (5-9 p.m.) bring in free yoga, dance, kickboxing, and boot camp-style exercise classes led by local studios.
  • Arts and Culture Thursdays (7-11 p.m.) feature DJ dance parties and hip-hop classes.
  • Upcoming Food and Flicks Fridays (5-11 p.m) will show Karate Kid (Aug. 3), Wayne’s World (Aug. 10), and Creed (Aug. 17). There is no movie on July 27.
  • Game Day Saturdays feature Quizzo in the beer garden 4-6 p.m.
  • Sunday Family Fundays (2-7 p.m.) include dance parties, face painting, and games.

I do wish they used any other color besides “under construction” orange. How about green with a reflector next year?



Weds.-Sun. from July 20 to Aug. 19, free, theovalphl.org.