For people who couldn't make the trek to the real beach on a 97-degree Wednesday afternoon, dropping by the Eakins Oval "beach" may have been the next best thing.

The pop-up beach on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in front of the Art Museum opened Wednesday to an afternoon crowd of about 40. Sandboxes, life-size chess and checkers sets, and lawn chairs in the shade brought families to the football-field-size site, which will be open until Aug. 18.

There was no water to swim in at the former parking lot, but mist blown by a row of fans drizzled the small crowd. Most people Wednesday, however, seemed content in the shade - even if that meant not playing on the beach.

Lawrence Clarke came to Philadelphia from New York City specifically for the event. Lounging on a deck chair beneath tall trees and holding a large bottle of water, Clarke said this beach was exactly what he was looking for.

"It's open, they have activities for the kids, and you can pretty much sit out and relax and just enjoy yourself on a nice summer day," he said.

- Theodore Schleifer