We first became familiar with Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park (FDR Park) this past spring when we visited the Philadelphia Flower Show. The park was filled with so many beautiful flower displays and large activities it was a bit hard to appreciate just all this Philadelphia park offers. But I saw enough to know I wanted to go back and revisit.
Now, with these 10 things to do at FDR Park provided by the Fairmount Park Conservancy, I’ve got 10 reasons to plan a return visit.
Our thanks to the organizations that support FDR Park and that helped with creating this guide to things to do at FDR Park with kids this fall.
About Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park (FDR Park)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park (FDR Park) is Philadelphia’s iconic 348-acre park carved out of the tidal marshes in South Philadelphia. Designed by the Olmsted Brothers in 1914, FDR Park’s sequence of picturesque lakes with adjacent lawns are connected by a network of carriage and footpaths.
In 1926, the park hosted the national Sesquicentennial Exhibition and several grand civic buildings, including the iconic Boathouse, opened for the first time.
Today, FDR Park hosts a playground, baseball diamonds, a renowned skate park, a network of lakes, the Swedish American Museum, and 126 acres of woodland.
About the Fairmount Park Conservancy
Fairmount Park Conservancy brings parks to life. They work with the City of Philadelphia and its communities to steward our parks and nurture our shared environment, cultural resources, and public health.
They lead capital projects and historic preservation efforts, foster neighborhood park stewardship, attract and leverage investments, and develop innovative programs throughout the 10,200 acres that include Fairmount Park, six other watershed parks and more than 130 neighborhood parks and gardens around the city. For FDR Park updates and up-to-date info about the Conservancy’s upcoming events, visit myphillypark.org.
When is FRD Park open?
The park is open year-round.
- April through October: 6 am – 9 pm
- November through March: 6 am – 6 pm
Outside of these times, the gates to the park are closed to car traffic.
FRD Park map
This is the current park map as of September 20, 2022.
Where is parking at FRD Park?
There are parking lots for car users marked on the map above. These parking lots provide 900 parking spaces.
Parking lots are open free of charge year-round for all park guests, except in the event of Eagles games at the nearby stadium.
During Philadelphia Eagles games, overflow parking can be found at FDR Park for a fee. Pedestrians and bikers are still welcome to enjoy the park free of charge during these days, but all vehicles will need to pay the fee to utilize the parking lots. The fees collected from overflow parking directly benefit FDR Park by providing funds for programming and supplies!
Does the park have restrooms?
There are restrooms open during park hours.
10 Things to Do at FDR Park this Fall
1. Explore the Southeast Asian Market
South Philly is home to a vibrant Southeast Asian community, with many Khmer, Lao, Vietnamese, and Thai residents who have enjoyed FDR Park for decades.
The Southeast Asian Market is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 AM – 6 PM through November. You’ll find rows of outdoor stalls selling street food, fresh sugarcane juice, tropical fruit smoothies, homemade spice blends, bubble teas, produce, clothing, jewelry, and more. Eater Philly named FDR one of the top places Where Philly’s Cambodian Community Leaders Go to Eat. Click here for location details and map.
Want to experience the market with an expert guide? Join one of the upcoming Flavors of FDR: Food Market Tasting Tour.
2. Drop by the Pop-Up Play Space
Fairmount Park Conservancy partnered with Tiny WPA to build a temporary Pop-Up Play Space on the FDR Park Clubhouse Lawn. The Pop-Up Play Space was officially completed in late July and will remain open to the public until the new, permanent Anna C. Verna Playground is finished in Summer 2023.
The Play Space is open during park hours, and there is additional FREE drop-in programming at the Pop-Up Play Space with Let’s Go Outdoors.
3. Kayak on the Lakes
Did you know that FDR is the only Philadelphia park with publicly accessible lakes and an active boating program? The park, often referred to as “The Lakes” by locals, has three connected bodies of water: Pattison Lagoon, Edgewood Lake, and Hollander Creek.
The Conservancy is partnering with Discovery Pathways to offer guided kayak tours this fall. Kayaking is open to families with kids over 8 years old.
Saturday Kayak Tours (pay-what-you-can):
Sunset Kayak Tours (pay-what-you-can):
Fairmount Park Conservancy also offers FREE Community Boating Days for FDR Park neighbors, no pre-registration is required.
- Saturday, 10/1 | 10:00AM – 1:00PM
4. Bailar at the Boathouse
Want to learn how to dance salsa and bachata? ¡Vamos a Bailar en FDR! While not meant for younger children your teens will likely enjoy this.
Join Fairmount Park Conservancy at the historic FDR Park Boathouse to experience culture, meet new people, and discover a fun way to keep yourself fit by moving your feet, hosted by DJ Val Flores & Philly Outdoor Bachata & Salsa.
Enjoy an all-levels dance lesson from 7 – 8 PM followed by a social dance from 8 – 11 PM (pay-what-you-can):
5. Shred at the Skatepark
Tucked away beneath the I-95 overpass is the FDR Skatepark. This world-renowned skatepark was created over time by skaters, for skaters and adorned with an ever-changing collection of tags and art that make for an engaging visual experience.
The skatepark is located on the south side of FDR and is open during park hours – skaters of all ages are welcome.
6. Take a walk in the park
Did you know that the Conservancy’s We Walk PHL program, in partnership with the Departments of Public Health and Parks & Recreation, is currently offering 18 places to take a walk in the park?
The Fall 2022 season, which runs 9/1 through 10/31, provides opportunities to join FREE weekly walks with the goal of promoting the healthy benefits of walking in nature while building stronger relationships among neighbors.
The We Walk PHL group meets at the FDR Park Boathouse on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8:30 AM.
7. Go fishing
Remember ‘The Lakes’ we talked about earlier? They aren’t just for kayaking and looking pretty. Try out the seven lakes for a relaxing afternoon of fishing and see what you catch! There are convenient fishing spots situated around the main lake by the Boathouse, but don’t forget to venture out into the Meadow area for access to more secluded spots too!
8. Enjoy bird watching
Like some of the bird-watching attractions in New Jersey, FDR Park offers diverse bird habitats in Philadelphia along their new South Philly Meadow trails. There have been nearly 205 species cited in the park. Check out programming and events by BirdPhilly, a project by the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club in conjunction with Philadelphia Parks & Rec and the Fairmount Park Conservancy!
9. Learn more about the Park Plan
With many exciting changes coming to FDR Park over the next several years through the FDR Park Plan, a Walk and Talk tour is a great way to learn more about the plan in person and ask questions. The FREE 2-hour tour meets at the Boathouse and is led by Fairmount Park Conservancy Executive Director Maura McCarthy and FDR Park Director Justin DiBerardinis.
Volunteering is a great way to give back to our parks, and with 348 acres, there’s a lot to maintain at FDR Park! The Annual Love Your Park Fall Service Day will take place on Saturday, November 12. Volunteer at FDR Park or a host of other parks across Philadelphia. Learn more at www.myphillypark.org.
- Check out the Friends of FDR Park GivePulse page for the latest volunteer opportunities.
- United by Blue is also hosting a FDR Park Waterway Cleanup on Saturday, 9/24.
More FDR Park Activities Families will Enjoy
We’ve highlighted 10 things to do at FDR park, but there are still more FDR Park activities families will enjoy.
- Paved loop for biking and driving
- 15 tennis courts
- 8 softball and baseball fields
- Soccer field
- Picnic groves and pavilions (to reserve one for your event, check out our Permits page)
- a playground
- Historic American-Swedish Museum (There is an admission fee.)
- Upcoming Events at FDR Park
Coming soon to FDR Park
Coming soon to FDR Park is the Anna C. Verna Playground. The $5 million, 2.15 acre playground will be located near the Pattison Lagoon and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2023.
All of its nature-based play equipment will be handicapped accessible, including an all-ages, 20-swing mega-swing set overlooking the lagoon; log and boulder scrambles; rolling hills with slides; and two massive tree trunks incorporated into tree houses. Learn more at https://myphillypark.org/fdr-playground-groundbreaking/.
Looking for more things to do in Philadelphia with kids?
Check out these great articles to help you plan a fun Philly day trip with the family.