Parenting: Fall fun for Center City families

October 24, 2012

The even better thing about it is - it's mostly free!

The city's Parks and Recreation Department website is a great place to start. Already this month, there was a family walk/run in Fairmount Park, and an old-fashioned apple pressing.

Don't miss the Halloween parade for children and pets along the Schuylkill River at 26th and Locust where adorable costumed kids and pooches gather by the dozens to prance and wag along. That's on October 27th. Check the Schuylkill River Park website for details.

Most city public libraries are having story hours where children are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes and come for a spooky story time.

However if you just want a new park to play in, without needing a mask or costume, check out the city's newest unveiling: Sister Cities Park. It's at the Ben Franklin Parkway across from the Swann Fountain by the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

This tiny slice of land had been all but ignored for decades. With the opening of the new Barnes Museum, the city got private donors to pump $5.2 million into the space and it's been transformed.

Now it's a multifunctional, multigenerational refuge with the whimsy of Paris' Luxembourg Gardens in a fraction of the space. There's a mountain to climb in the children's garden, a place to launch toy sailboats on a pond, a splash fountain with a water gusher, and a cute pavilion for yummy food to buy.

There's still room for a broad lawn and some shade trees on the 1 ¾ acres. It was designed by two young Philadelphia firms and is a tribute to urban renewal.

During warmer months there are story hours in the tiny park as well as arts and craft - all free.

Walk over and enjoy it any time of year! Be sure to check their website for a list of upcoming activities.

Get outside and enjoy the nice crisp fall days.

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