The Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse was in full swing during the seasonal opening earlier this month as children, parents and caregivers joined the Berenstain Bears for a day of fun and games. Play-A-Palooza, Smith’s annual opening celebration, is a daytime party aimed to impress the 10 and under crowd.
Maggie and Scott Brown reside in Southwest Philadelphia with their 2-year-old twins. The tiny duo had a lot of fun on the tot-lot as their parents participated and watched from an adjacent bench.
“This is such a wonderful playground because it has so much space and a safe surface for younger toddlers to play,” said Maggie Brown. “Our children really enjoy the tot-lot slide and the train.”
Many families were out and about enjoying the spring weather and decided to visit Smith playground. It was by happenchance that they visited during Smith’s opening festivities.
Frequent Smith playground visitors Temwa and James Wright eagerly waited for Play-A-Palooza day.
“As soon as we parked the car, our three children wanted to jump out and run to the playground,” said Temwa Wright. “Wow, this place is so huge. It’s like kiddie heaven. My husband and I like the age-specific sections of the playground because our children are three-, five- and 11-years-old. This gives them a chance to get out of the house, run around and do some physical activity.
“This especially helps the boys with falling asleep at night. We missed the grand opening last year, but anxiously awaited the opening this year,” Wright added.
In addition to the normal park attractions, children enjoyed egg and spoon relays, sack races, face painting and water balloon tosses.
The Philadelphia Zoo on Wheels booth made a special appearance allowing kids an up close and personal interactive exhibit with live animals, touchable animal bio-facts and information about the Zoo’s conservation programs.
Families enjoyed complimentary water ice and soft pretzels while journeying from activity stations to playground attraction like the popular Ann Newman giant wooden slide.
When the opening celebration activities came to a close, the park remained in full excitement mode as parents continued to sit and enjoy the mild weather while children ran, shouted and played until the park closed for the night.
Founded over 100 years ago, Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse is a non-profit organization that welcomes over 146,000 visitors annually from more than 200 zip codes for free and accessible one-of-a-kind play experiences that meets children’s physical, behavioral and developmental needs.
Smith’s facilities include three floors of activities in the 24,000 square foot Playhouse; the 106-year old Ann Newman Giant Wooden Slide and TD Bank Tree Walk; 6 ½ acres of new outdoor play equipment designed for children of all abilities and tailored to different age ranges, including infants and toddlers; equipment and toys to inspire imagination, creativity, and social interaction; and unlimited opportunities for children and caregivers to enjoy quality time together.
Charisse Davis of Overbrook Park attended the celebration with her five-year-old and son and mother.
“I received emails from Smith so I knew about today’s celebration,” she said while watching her son. “However, this is our first time attending Play-A-Palooza.
“With the exception of the long face-painting line, we are having a great time,” Davis added. “I like that this park is different and this is not an average playground. There is always so much to do.”