Skip to main content

About us

We help people grow; that’s what we do.

Through the stewardship of our natural and cultural resources, the structured activities at our bustling recreation centers, and the preservation of our city’s rich history, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation connects people to new pathways in life.

Vision, mission, and values

Executive staff

History and archive


Philadelphia has one of the earliest and most important American urban park and recreation systems in the country. It originated with William Penn’s desire to create a “Greene Countrie Towne.” Our park and recreation history tells the story of urban park design and the development of the public recreation movement. It has shaped the history of Philadelphia’s

  • Architecture.
  • City planning.
  • Public art.

It has also influenced our important cultural institutions and the conservation of our natural resources.

Explore a brief overview in photos.

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Archive

Want to learn more about Philadelphia’s park and recreation system? Find out about our historic archive. Our collection consists of hundreds of:

  • Drawings.
  • Maps.
  • Photographs.
  • Stereographs.
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Reports.
  • History files.

These items tell the history of the park and recreation system. Our collection is particularly rich with original drawings from the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, the original drawings for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the history of the watershed parks, and information about our historic sites.

Rules and regulations

By following these rules and regulations, you’ll help us keep our parks and recreation properties clean and safe.


Parks & Rec works with a number of partners to make Philadelphia’s parks and recreation spaces even better. Some of our partners include:

  • The Commission on Parks & Recreation (PaRC): An advisory board for Parks & Rec that works with the public to preserve and improve programs and resources.
  • Fairmount Park Conservancy: An independent nonprofit organization that works in partnership with Parks & Rec on a variety of projects to sustain and improve the parks.
  • Philadelphia Parks Alliance: A 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to championing the public’s interest in outstanding parks, recreation, and open spaces.
  • Philadelphia Recreation Advisory Council: A partnership between community members and Parks & Rec created to support individual recreation centers and playgrounds.