Center City District has built on what makes Sister Cities Park so beloved, retaining the intimate and natural feel of the park while offering new components for unstructured play that engage children from a broader range of ages, encourage safe risk-taking, and activates their imagination. Many of these new additions will be accessible year-round, keeping the park active all year long.
Play net and platform
Behind the peak of the mountain in the Discovery Garden, a spacious platform has been installed to take advantage of the beautiful Center City views from the summit, create room for additional seating for caregivers, and support a large climbing net for children. Play nets promote coordination and build gross motor skills by honing strength and reflexes, enable children to safely test mental and physical limits, and instill a sense of confidence and accomplishment when successfully navigated to the top.
Push-button water jets
Three push-button water pumps have been installed at the top of the mountain, controlling nine jets that spray water when activated (each button operates three). These push-buttons encourage active and physical play and make kids more aware of how they can use their body. The pumps will also encourage collaboration among children as they invent games using this new sensory experience.
The creek that flows down the side of the mountain has been extended, adding a new route that allows children to dam and redirect the water within the stream. This creates even more opportunity for experimentation and water play, as well as cooperation between children as they work together to explore this new challenge.
Sensory-friendly twig nest
A new hiding hut has been placed along the trail up the mountain, providing children with a sense of autonomy by giving them the ability to “disappear,” rest, or take part in a quiet activity like reading or coloring. The nest is made of tactile twigs and branches, and carefully assembled so that children remain visible to their caregivers at all times, but still retain a sense of privacy.
These improvements are supported by Brandywine Realty Trust, The McLean Contributionship, The Thomas and Tracey Gravina Foundation, Exeter Property Group, Pearl Properties, Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, Forst Foundation, PHLCVB, and many other generous individuals and families.
Located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Logan Square at 18th Street, Sister Cities Park was first dedicated in 1976 in recognition of Philadelphia’s commitment to the international Sister Cities program. Transformed in 2012 by the Center City District from a forgotten space into one of the nation’s leading multi-generational parks, Sister Cities Park is a favorite destination for families with children, school and daycare groups, local workers, seniors and visitors.
Modeled after the winding paths, mountains, and streams of Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Valley, the park’s Discovery Garden is treasured by children. Sister Cities Park’s Earth Fountain invites spirited play among dancing spouts of water, each jet representing one of Philadelphia’s Sister Cities. A children’s book cart and pint-sized Adirondack chairs provide time for quiet and relaxation. Sister Cities Park is active in the winter months as well, when the pond is converted into an Imagination Playground