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Welcome to Fairmount Park
Rowers on the Schuylkill
Every city touts its own beauties, but few cities anywhere can lay claim to the sylvan beauty on the banks of the Schuylkill River that are known as Fairmount Park. The Park (4,180 acres) is the largest landscaped park in the U.S. We can walk, bicycle, rollerblade, or drive along Kelly and West River Drives today and feel ourselves deep in the country. In the depths of the Wissahickon Ravine and at other points in the park, the city's tall buildings are not visible over the treetops, and if it were not for the hum of traffic on the Drives, we could be in the pastoral world that Thomas Eakins painted. It was Eakins who immortalized the scullers on the Schuylkill — some of these paintings such as "The Biglen Brothers Practicing" are exhibited today at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The "Mount" for which the park was named is the rise on which the museum stands.
Fairmount Park was the site of the Centennial Exposition of 1876, and several buildings from that earlier fair still stand, notably Memorial Hall. One of the world's largest municipal parks, Fairmount contains several million trees; the oldest zoo in the U.S.; Boathouse Row; cherry blossoms to rival those along D.C.'s Potomac Basin; Robin Hood Dell, an outdoor venue for soul-filled summer singers; the Mann Music Center, the Philadelphia Orchestra's (and others') summer amphitheater; picnic areas; tennis courts; miles of bicycle paths; bridle paths; an azalea garden; hundreds of statues and monuments; and two dozen or so 18th- and 19th-century buildings, which comprise an unusual historical patrimony.