Jersey Shore meets the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

20-month-old Ethan Walls plays in the sandbox at The Oval on the Ben Franklin Parkway. Rikard Larma/Metro
20-month-old Ethan Walls plays in the sandbox at The Oval on the Ben Franklin Parkway. Rikard Larma/Metro

A father and son play ping-pong, a mother watches her son in a sandbox and two dudes are on the lookout for bikini babes.

But this isn’t a Jersey Shore point. It’s a pop-up park on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Inside the eight-acre Eakins Oval, which sits at the foot of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the city’s department of recreation opened a temporary, or pop-up, park. With space to spread out, food trucks and live music, the parkway offers an oasis for the residents who can’t flock to Wildwood every weekend.

Buddies Mike Ford and Mike Barr, from Roxborough, expected sand to cover the entire oval. They imagined beach chairs and young women tanning.

“Why do you think we’re here?” he deadpanned. “I was expecting a lot of sand and beach and volleyball, but it’s still nice, though. It’s a good time.”

It feels like a block party. Life-sized chess and checkers boards, sand boxes, music and entertainment.

It can’t replace the Jersey shore, “But it’s nice and it’s free,” said Danielle Walls, from Fairmount Park, the mother of a 20-month-old who routinely dumps a bucket of sand on his head.

She and her son Ethan have been at the Oval almost every day since it opened last Thursday. “I go over and get wet every now and then when I’m hot, he’s happy and I’m not chasing him all day,” she said.


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