Sunday, August 16, 2009

Worth going out of your way: Markward playground

Playground: Markward
Location: Taney & Pine (= the foot of the Schulykill River Park, in the Fitler Square area)
Date visited: 8/2/09 (a rainy Sunday)

Equipment: Two areas, separated by a few steps:
  • The zone for smaller kids had a very novel mix of slides (4 or 5) including moguls and various wiggles. Also bucket swings here, but only a couple.
  • The larger kid playset ranged from around waist height at one end to high overhead at the other, for a range of adventuresomeness or age. There are low slides and high ones, submarine-style ladder approaches and climbing walls, a jointed bridge and a narrow walkway (all very well protected with bars all along their lengths), and rings for horizontal swinging ("monkey bar" style).
type: modern resin and metal; scale: large area with zones, shading into an expansive park
Ages: toddler - high school?
Surface: rubber composite under play structures
Shade(0-3): 2 (but visited on cloudy day, so might have overestimated)
Water: Y* (see comment below)
Other: Tennis courts, basketball, open cement play areas (including some with marks for four-square and other games), tables, a softball field, extensive grassy areas with lots of shade, a rec center, dog parks nearby, trails
Access: dawn to dusk (unfenced)

Impressions: Cutting-edge equipment made me wish that there was time for me to try it out. Nice smaller kids area (slightly offset) and the largest extended play structure I've seen for bigger kids, with a huge range of climbing and sliding options. Good for families with mixed ages of kids. We visited on a rainy day, so no idea what usual traffic there is, but it's pretty isolated -- on the other hand, softball teams know about it, as do students from the nearby Philadelphia School, so who knows. Similarly, large stretches of shady benches could be luxurious or homeless-folk-attracting, depending on levels of busy-ness and oversight. You can count on our making a return visit, so watch this space for an update this fall. Also, a onetime eatery nearby is about to reopen -- we're rooting for it to be sandwiches and coffee, to make this a parental Mecca!
Overall rating: 10 (contingent on seeing a busy day)


  1. I've been taking my 2 year old here for over a year, and I have a few points to add that I hope are helpful. There is a tall fountain for the kids to play in and misters that were on many days last Summer, but I haven't yet seen them on this year (I was told by another parent that they are going to turn them on eventually). The eatery up the street you mentioned just opened, I haven't gone in yet, but it's a coffee shop with pasteries, and they say eventually sandwiches too. The sun is definately a problem on the toddlers playground. In late Spring and Summer the sun takes over much of the toddler playground as of 10:30am, often making most of the slides, see saw, etc. too hot. I don't usually return until about 5:30-6:00 - the sun is better then, but I don't know what time the shade starts to take over. The playground can get busy at just about any time, but it hasn't ever felt too overwhelming in the toddler area. The only issue is that many toddlers really like to wander over to the bigger playground (which does have some things appropriate for them) but it can be a problem when it's crowded with big kids.

  2. To have the tall fountain turned on in the summer--just ask an employee inside the recreation center to turn it on and they will!

  3. The facility supervisor emailed to say the fountain would be on for the next two weeks between 11am and noon.