Philadelphia's Hidden Gem
Do you ever feel the need to escape the hustle and hassle of Philadelphia? When you do, look no further than historic FDR Park, a green oasis in South Philadelphia.
With its beautiful natural resources including fields and lakes, FDR Park is the ideal retreat for all ages and personalities for relaxation and recreation. From fishing to golfing, boating to baseball, this park has it all.
The Friends of FDR Park is a nonprofit volunteer-run organization that works in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the nonprofit Fairmount Park Conservancy to support and steward FDR Park. Philadelphia Parks & Recreation is responsible for maintenance and permitting of the park, while the Friends of FDR Park organizes fellow volunteers in planting, greening, fundraising and programming the park.
History of FDR Park
The park was built to the design of Olmsted Brothers, an influential landscape architecture practice established by the sons of the eminent Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park in New York and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Typical Olmsted features appear in the design of FDR Park - a wide expanse of field greets visitors as they first enter the park, the flow of each area is subtly separated for specific activities, and the lack of any one site of architecture is viewed for its individual beauty. The parkland was constructed on the reclaimed marshlands of Greenwich Island, one of several islands in the area created by river channels present in the 18th and 19th centuries. The park was used in 1926 for the Sesquicentennial Exposition and subsequent improvements have moderately changed the original design, keeping the main character of the park west of Broad Street. The official name was changed from League Island Park to Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park in the late 1940s and a golf course was constructed. The park's boathouse (1916), overlook (1914) and American Swedish Historical Museum (1926) are reminders of the 1926 Exposition. In 2000, the park was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.
As Philadelphia's premier active use park, FDR Park boasts numerous special features and an abundance of recreational sites and sports fields that are open to the public.
FDR park includes:
20 tennis courts
8 ball fields
a rugby field
a golf course
the unique American Swedish Historical Museum
the internationally renowned FDR Park Skate Park
American Swedish historical museum
Founded in 1926, the American Swedish Historical Museum in South Philadelphia is the oldest Swedish museum in the United States. The Museum’s 20,000 square foot interior is currently divided into twelve exhibition galleries, reference library, curatorial storage and archives, offices, museum store, large dining room/conference area and kitchen. The Museum is available to rent for wedding receptions, corporate meetings, and parties.
FDR Golf Course
The nearest golf course to Center City featuring a 6,004-yard course for players of all golfing abilities. With spacious fairways and large-sized greens, FDR utilizes the surrounding natural wetlands as well as a canal that runs through the course to provide unique challenges.
Fleisher Arts Memorial offers adult painting classes within the park using the Alla Prima technique of landscape painting. The class is offered over a 5 week session and has limited slots from September 10 - October 8.
Over 20 tennis courts available for public use for leagues, lessons, and casual matches. Home of the South Philly Tennis Association.
Located beneath the overpass of 95, the skateboard park was created by skaters, for skaters. The park has several "areas", including the core park that lies under the aforementioned overpass, the neighboring and connecting pool section, and a mini ramp and vert ramp. South Philadelphia's FDR Skate Park has been described by professionals and in magazine articles such as Thrasher and Skateboarder to be a concrete, skateboard 'paradise'.
In addition to sports fields, there are trails perfect for walking and running, convenient fishing spots along Edgewood and Meadow Lakes, and lawns ideal for picnics with family or friends. Pack a picnic and enjoy the free, scenic beauty FDR Park has to offer. Please find map here with picnic areas identified.
Interested in having an event at FDR Park?
- Regarding sports, please contact the City of Philadelphia, Michael Grubb, Sports & Athletic Coordinator, at 215-685-1572
- About hosting events in the park, please contact the City of Philadelphia - Special Events Office at 215-685-0060.
Please be sure to always abide by the Rules & Regulations at all times.
FDR Park waters have good fishing health with similar species of fish that populate warm water lakes and ponds with Panfish or sometimes called Sunfish (Bluegills, Perch and Crappies), Largemouth Bass and Carp. No stockings and formal tests for the purpose of determining the fish population (Meadow and Edgemont Lakes and side lagoons in FDR) have been conducted for years, so there is no official status of the species levels. The invasive fish Snakeheads continue to be caught in the waters and is a focus of some efforts to reduce or eliminate.
Here is a link to the Snakehead history in PA: