Pennypack Park, Philadelphia
Ok, Fairmount park is more well known, larger, has more attractions, including the Philadelphia Zoo. and is closer to center city. But, since I live close to Pennypack.. I enjoy it as a get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Pennypack Park is rich in natural beauty and is prominent in the history of Philadelphia. Pennypack Park contains over 1,600 acres of woodlands, wetlands, fields and meadows. It is the largest watershed park within the Fairmount Park system. Much of the park today is a part of the original Wells Spring Estate of Thomas Holme, who surveyed and mapped the original land grant to William Penn.
To bird watch along the Pennypack Creek is to follow in the steps of the brilliant artist John James Audubon and Alexander Wilson, the father of American ornithology, who reportedly lived near Shady Lane for short periods of time.
In 1958, the area bordered by Pine Road, Verree Road, Bloomfield Avenue and the Pennypack Creek were set aside by the Fairmount Park Commission as a bird sanctuary. Trained environmental educators offer various birding opportunities during the seasons, so please contact the Pennypack Environmental Center for current programs.
Fairmount Park Commission set aside approximately 20 acres of ground in 1961, to be used as an equestrian center. This area is located off Krewstown Road, just north of “Ninety Foot" Bridge, adjacent to the municipal barn. The Huntington Valley Riders and Drivers Club currently use this area for their events.
Pennypack Park currently supports a diverse range of outdoor sports. The macadam bike trail enables old pros and little ones alike to travel from Pine Road in the north to the mouth of the Pennypack Creek where it empties into the Delaware River.
Rollerbladers, baby carriages, joggers and leisurely walkers all share the trail. For the more adventurous, there are other trails utilized by equestrians and mountain bikers. The Pennypack also has many beautiful scenic areas for picnics as well as isolated areas ideal for the bird watching enthusiasts.
Many historic structures are still intact throughout Pennypack Park. In 1697, the Pennypack Bridge, one of the oldest stone bridges still in use in the United States, was built on King's Highway, now known as Frankford Avenue.
The Pennypack Baptist Church, another of the Park's historic sites, was built in 1688. The Verree House on Verree Road was the site of a raid by British troops during the Revolutionary War. The trained eye can rediscover abandoned railroad grades, remnants of early mills, mill races and other reminders that generations of mankind have gathered in the "Green Heart" of Northeast Philadelphia.
Take one look at Pennypack Park and you'll think you're in the Italian countryside-- and you'll be damn wrong! In fact, you'll be right in the city of Philadelphia! A large stone-arch Italian-style bridge transverses this park, on a mountain on the banks of the Pennypack River. Paths, bridges, hiking, etc. are all great here! For more information, check out my Pennypack Park page under Must-see sites