The Morris Arboretum is a cultivated park covering 92 acres (37 hectares). The ancient trees are reason enough to visit, and the park also offers gardens, fountains and wetlands, a nursery of exotic species, and a center for horticultural research.
When you walk the paths under the long-standing trees, it’s easy to imagine the park as John Morris saw it in the late 1800s. The visionary founder of the arboretum planted many different species from all over the world, which is what makes this area still special today. The arboretum is now owned and operated by the University of Pennsylvania. It’s well-maintained for public enjoyment and university research.
Stroll among more than 13,000 labeled plants, trees and flowers from Asia, North America and Europe at your leisure, or take a guided tour. There are many walks to choose from, including interactive educational experiences for the kids. If you are into art, look out for the modern sculptures along the way or take the special Sculpture Tour.
The arboretum offers Family Fun activities throughout the year, such as the Tree Adventure and the Out On A Limb canopy walk. Get high up with the birds to see the landscape from in between the branches of the taller trees.
Those interested in gardening will appreciate the glasshouse fernery and the exhibits in the arboretum’s other buildings. Find out how the gardeners propagate plants and trees inside the Horticulture Complex. If you just want to relax, take in the fragrant scent of the roses or sit by the marble fountain.
The arboretum is 15 miles (24 kilometers) from downtown Philadelphia along East Northwestern Avenue. There is an admission fee, and the hours vary per season. If you take a full-day excursion, head to the area behind the Visitor Center with a picnic lunch or order gourmet food from the café.