The pop-up summer park the Oval reopens Friday, expanding beyond Eakins Oval this year and more Instagram-worthy than ever, with extra public furniture and whimsical structures, more public art, and a sizable public road closure, too.
The outdoor attraction, formally known as Oval+, will close the outbound outer lanes of Ben Franklin Parkway to traffic from 20th Street to Eakins Oval through Aug. 26, decorating the closed lane and some intersections with big, bright street murals by Mural Arts Philadelphia. The bike lane will remain open.
Staffed park hours are 11 a.m. through 11 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, July 20 to Aug. 19. Beer Garden hours are 5-11 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, and 2-11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Friday's grand-opening activities will begin at 5 p.m. when a phalanx of food trucks arrives, and conclude with a 9 p.m. outdoor screening of The Greatest Showman — the first of four Food and Flicks Fridays this season.
This year's highlights include an 800-square-foot sandbox, a misting station, climbing wall, beer garden, and a weekly rotation of activities Wednesday through Sunday:
"People of all ages wanted opportunities to play," said Jamie Gauthier, executive director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy, which partners with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation to create the Oval every year.
She hopes the splashy Mural Arts street art, designed by illustrators at the local company The Heads of State, will entice pedestrians and cyclists to enter and explore this summer's pop-up park.