The first time I heard of Smith, the Kid’s Play Place in the Park, it was from my fellow bloggers from the Philadelphia Social Media Moms. They were raving about how wonderful a place this was and how we should meet up for a playdate. Me in my nativity or maybe even ignorance was thinking okay what’s so special about this playground? Why would I drive from New Jersey to Philly to just play at a park?
I hope they’ll forgive my ignorance. Because a few weeks later, I was introduced to Smith, their playground and their playhouse by a longtime friend.
What a treasure for Philadelphia. Smith’s Kid Play Place, is a playground, playhouse, and tot lot for the under 10 crowd with FREE admission and parking. It’s in Philadelphia just minutes from the Philadelphia Zoo and Please Touch Museum. (I would love to see such a park in New Jersey. If anyone knows of one let me know. I’d love to give it a shout out too.) So let me tell you about this amazing park.
This isn’t just one park, it’s like parks within parks. Smith’s Kid Play Place is the size of 6 football fields. The playground equipment is like none I had seen before. When you first enter the park you can make your way straight ahead toward the playgrounds or to the right for the playhouse. We headed straight. The first playground we saw had a variety of things you can climb on to spin around. My boys had a lot of fun with those. There was an upside down U piece of equipment with handles on both ends and spots for kids to sit or stand. It worked kind of like a reverse seesaw in that when the weight shifted so did the kids seats. There was a long horizontal pole that resembled a balance beam that my boys had fun walking across. (You can see what I mean by looking at the photos in our Facebook Gallery.)
From there we headed straight to the legendary Ann Newman Giant Wooden Slide. What a cool slide. My 6 year-old had no fear. He grabbed a potato sack and headed off. My 3 year-old had no fear either but I wasn’t ready for him to ride alone. ;) With potato sack in hand, my other boys (ages 3 and 5) and I headed up for our turn down the slide. We all sat together and slid down. It wasn’t that steep, but it was steep enough to be fun for my boys and put butterflies in my stomach. My boys loved it and after a few more slides down, we each grabbed our own sacs and slid down holding hands. What fun, what great memories.
We continued to explore the rest of the playgrounds for quite some time. There were tons and tons of swings. They had your traditional swings, tire swings, chair swings, and swings I had never seen before. There were swings shaped like flying disks. Everywhere I looked I found another unique piece of playground equipment. There were ropes arranged like spiderwebs to crawl on, ropes arranged like mountains to climb on as they spun around on a disk, a boat large enough for your whole family to sit on and teeter back and forth, and more. That’s just the playgrounds.
From there we took a break to eat heading out to a nice grassy area near the parking lot to enjoy a picnic with our friends. While the other adults finished eating, the kids enjoyed climbing trees and playing tag. I grabbed my camera and was able to get some really great photos of the kids.
After lunch we headed into the playhouse. It is 24,000 square feet of fun designed for kids 5 and under. The first thing that caught our attention were the baby caterpillars undergoing their metaphors is into butterflies. The front desk receptionist had a small netting habitat on her desk and she encouraged the children to come closer for a better look. My boys were fascinated, but then like boys were ready to move on to explore the playhouse. The Playhouse has three floors.
- Imagination kicks into high gear on the main floor with a wooden train
kids can drive, a clubhouse to hide out in, and kitchen to whip up a snack.
- Head towards the basement and kids can grab the wheel of all sorts of ride on toys and bikes. As long as they pay attention to the traffic lights, they’ll be sure to have a great time. Parents will not only enjoy the fun their kids are having but also the beautiful murals on the wall in this downtown, downstairs city.
- The highest floor is for those who love to read and build. There is a small library at the top of the stairs. The main room is a large gallery with a variety of building blocks and such for the kids.
From there we headed back outside to the tot lot which was like another three areas in one. Three different playgrounds for kids, each for a slightly different age group, but still close enough together to keep track of your kids if they split up to explore this area. The equipment here was just as fun with a pirate ships, little houses, xylophones, and more my kids were just all over the place making sure they had fun in every possible way they could.
It was a wonderful wonderful place for my boys to run, play, pretend and explore. Next time your plans take you to Philadelphia, make a plan to stop by Smith, the Kid’s Play Place in the Park.
Admission is FREE, but donations are appreciated. Smith, the Kid’s Play Place in the Park’s hours are
- The Playground is open from the beginning of April through the end of October
- Tuesday – Sunday 10:00am – 4:00pm.
- Saturdays and Sundays in July and August the Playground has extended hours and is open 10:00am – 7:00pm.
- The Playhouse will continue to be open 10:00am – 4:00pm, Tuesday – Sunday, year-round.
For more information about Smith, the Kid’s Play Place in the Park just click on its name. To see more pictures from our trip, please visit our Facebook Gallery.