15+ Philly Playgrounds with Shade to Keep Kids Cool

Franklin Square offers plenty of shade, and a host of other activities, including mini golf and carousel rides. Photo courtesy of Franklin Square
Franklin Square offers plenty of shade, and a host of other activities, including mini golf and carousel rides. Photo courtesy of Franklin Square

Families are fortunate to have plenty of playgrounds in Philadelphia from which to select. Even better, many of these locations have shade to offer a reprieve from these steamy Philly summer days. We rounded up a few of our favorite shady playgrounds in the city to help you beat the heat.

Looking for other ways to stay cool? Check out these nearby water parks and favorite Philly splash pads for more splashing fun. Find more outdoor play options in our Guide to Philly Parks & Playgrounds.

We've double-checked all of these locations for any new COVID-19 restrictions and closures, but be sure to check again before you head out the door. Things are changing rapidly. Current recommendations include face coverings for those age 2 and up, keeping 6 feet of distance from others who are not in your household, and packing plenty of hand sanitizer. Note: Some parks may be in use by summer day camps until early afternoon.

Ready? Consider incorporating a few of these playgrounds with shade into your rotation today this summer.

Three Bears Park has plenty of shade for those hot summer days. Photo from Three Bears Park

1. Three Bears Park — Center City

Open dusk to dawn
If you're looking to keep cool, this park is one to remember, even if it is fairly basic as far as playgrounds go. Three Bears Park, located in Center City's Society Hill, features slides, monkey bars, swings, and plenty of padded surfaces for your little one to run around on. And, of course, there's a namesake statue of two adult bears and a cub, which kids love to climb. There are also plenty of benches and tables when your kids are ready to break for lunch or snack time. 

2. Liberty Lands — Northern Liberties

Open but not accepting any event registrations for the remainder of 2020
Located in the Northern Liberties section of Philly, this modest but shaded playground sits amid a larger public park with a community garden area. Once your kids set foot onto the mulched play area, they can choose from swings, a playset, a spacious play car, and a spring rider. Any climbers in your group will also delight in the dome-shaped jungle gym.

3. Weccacoe Playground — Queen Village

This playground is open.
This shaded park in the Queen Village area of the city offers a lot of play options for kids of various ages, with several swings and two playset areas, including one playground that would work well for toddlers. The larger of the two playgrounds features a slide, bridge, climbing bars, and sliding poles. There's even a stand-and-spin for kids who don't mind getting a little dizzy.

4. Markward Playground — Filter Square

This playground is open.
This pretty Philly playground sits on the eastern banks of the river. Head to Schuylkill River Park to find the Markward Playground in a shaded spot. We love the springy padding underfoot, the variety of slides, climbing bars, and swings. There's even a spring see-saw! Additional activities at this Philly park and rec center include tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball fields, and O'Connor pool.

Capitolo Playground. Photo by Samantha Madera courtesy of the City of Philadelphia

5. CAPITOLO Playground — South Philly

Opens daily at 2:30pm after summer camp lets out
Located at 9th and Federal, this playground offers kids plenty of fun. Trees provide some shady spots and a relatively new toddler playground has a couple of canopies to escape the sun. 

6. Tip Top Playground — Northern Liberties

This playground is open.
In addition to a basketball court, this park has a small playground with slides, swings, and climbing equipment. Big trees offer a bit of shady and benches provide a great place for parents to rest.

7. Seger Park — Center City

This playground is open.
This Center City park offers a splash pad, a fun playground, and plenty more, including: basketball courts, tennis courts, and a dog park. There is a fenced-in tot section with bucket seat swings, tunnels, and slides. In addition to shady trees, there are spots to picnic and benches to sit and watch the kids play.

8. Shissler Recreation Area — Fishtown/East Kensington

This playground is open.
What's better than a shady playground in the summer? How about one with a sprinkler park? This playground offers the basics on a rubber surface area with plenty of benches for parents.

RELATED: Best Toddler Playgrounds Around Philly

9. Franklin Square — Center City

This playground is open.
With two sections of play equipment, one geared toward those 5 and younger, and another for the older crowd, you can't go wrong. At the shady Franklin Square playground, you'll find swings, slides, see-saws, sliding poles, monkey bars, and more. Plus where else can you a round of play mini-golf afterward and satiate hungry bellies with burgers, shakes, and fries? 

10. Sturgis Playground — East Oak Lane

This playground is open.
If you're near Philadelphia's Olney neighborhood, check out this playground renovated in 2013. It's situated in a park boasting approximately five acres, which also features a baseball field, spray pad, and recreation center. 

11. Pleasant Playground — East Mount Airy

This playground is open.
Visitors to this playground can enjoy a play area and a section designated for water sprinklers, which are ready to shoot up from the ground at the push of a button. 

12. Vernon Park — Germantown

This playground is open.
Kids can play at this neighborhood playground by sliding, running, climbing, and swinging. Fun fact: At one time, Vernon Park belonged to a horticulturalist who is said to have planted various trees and shrubs on the land. You can think of him while sitting below the canopy of trees that shade you from the blistering summer sun.

13. Papa Playground — West Philly

This playground is open. The sprayground opens 3-7pm weekdays due to summer camp, and noon-5pm on weekends.
Trees provide lots of shady at this location. Kids can expect a variety of play equipment in addition to grass areas for playing ball. There is even a sprayground area to get good and soaked.

Photo courtesy of Houston Playground

14. Houston Playground — Northwest Philly

This playground is open. The playground and sprinkler are closed to the public during camp hours of 9am-3pm, Monday-Friday.
Children can find swings, twisty and straight slides, and an oversized tic-tac-toe board at this playground. But what makes it really unique is the giant water dragon that sprays water to cool off visitors during hot months. Parents can watch from shaded benches or run through the sprinkler. You know you'll want to!

15. Burke Playground — South Philly

This playground is open.
Playground equipment including a rocket ship-shaped structure is sure to please at this South Philly playground. Some mature trees offer shade and benches provide a spot to rest. 

16. Smith Memorial Playground — Fairmount Park

Open Tuesdays through Sundays. The playhouse is closed due to construction.
No shoutout to Philadelphia parks is complete without a nod to this expansive playground with more offerings than you'll find in most other play areas. Smith Playground has large climbing nets, spinners, tunnels, and train and boat playground sets. There are shaded outdoor spots where you can catch a break from the heat. What's more, there's a playhouse (currently under construction), perfect for toddlers and preschoolers, with playrooms that can provide a reprieve from the high temperatures.

Now that you've got the lowdown on some of the most canopied Philly playgrounds, make the most of a day with family and friends. After you've enjoyed your afternoon out, let us know what you thought of the playground you visited by going to our Facebook page.

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