Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse
GOOD FOR: Ages 5-8

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:Smith Day Nursery Drive, Philadelphia, PA
Hours:Playground open April 1 to September 30, Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and October 1 to December 31, Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Playhouse open April 1 to September 30, Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and October 1 to March 31, Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fee: Free; donations accepted
Contact:, 215-765-4325

Bathrooms: At the Playhouse (when open)
Water/Snacks: Vending machines near restroom in Playhouse


Enjoy old-fashioned fun at a state-of-the-art playground in Fairmount Park.

Downhill thrills never grow old: Smith Playground’s 1905 Giant Wooden Slide offers a classic ride.
Photo by: Susan Charkes

Since 1899, Smith Playground & Playhouse have been delighting children by giving them an extraordinary, safe place in which to play. The 6.5-acre playground, redesigned in 2012, is meant for children age 10 and younger. It is beautifully landscaped and tastefully laid out in separate outdoor “rooms” with state-of-the-art equipment. Kids can climb, bounce, swing, ride, and even pretend to be a train engineer. The rubber surface makes jumping and running easy—and tumbling won’t hurt a bit.

For generations of Philadelphia children (and their parents) the highlight of the playground has been the 1905 Giant Wooden Slide. Sitting on recycled burlap coffee bags, you slide—fast!—down the wide incline, and before you know it you’re at the bottom…and running back to slide again and again. By comparison, contemporary plastic slides are a snooze.

For slightly older kids, the giant spider web will challenge their climbing ability. Old-fashioned swings are here, but so are high-tech items that respond to movement by upping the challenge. Your child may run from place to place, or stay all afternoon at one piece of favorite equipment.

The 24,000-square-foot, three-story Smith Playhouse, for kids age 5 and younger, may look like any number of nineteenth-century Fairmount Park mansions but in fact was designed specifically to be a playhouse. Its rooms contain old-fashioned toys like dollhouses, play kitchens, and ride-on cars and trains.

Smith is located in Fairmount Park, but is run by a nonprofit organization whose mission is to continue to provide a safe space to play for children of diverse backgrounds.

If your kids still have some energy, head for the paved Boxers’ Trail that leads down to Kelly Drive from Reservoir Drive, but the odds are that with all that Smith has to offer, they’ll already have run themselves out.

Remember: There are a few picnic tables, but you can also spread out a blanket on the huge lawn in front of the Playhouse.

Plan B:

The multiuse Schuylkill River Trail along Kelly Drive is great for walking and biking, and is stroller- and pet-friendly.

Where to Eat Nearby:

It’s best to pack a picnic.


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