Haverford College Arboretum
GOOD FOR: Ages 0-4

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:1 College Lane, Haverford, PA
Hours:Sunrise to sunset daily; Whitehead Campus Center open during academic year
Fee: Free

haverford.edu/arboretum, 610-896-1101

Bathrooms: In Whitehead Campus Center (when open)
Water/Snacks: Water fountain in Whitehead Campus Center; café open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. during academic year

Haverford College offers a safe, extensive green space and nature walk in a close-in Main Line suburb.

Haverford College Arboretum
Photo by: Susan Charkes

Haverford College’s beautiful 200-acre campus, tucked off of busy Lancaster Avenue on the Main Line, is a hidden green haven that has been around since 1834. Like Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College, the Haverford Arboretum covers the entire college campus. It’s a great spot for families—especially those with young children—to get outdoors in a safe, controlled environment, and it offers a surprising variety of quiet natural experiences.

Near the visitor parking area, signs mark a nature walk, a short but interesting natural footpath along a small, wooded stream. Elsewhere on campus, stroller-friendly paved paths wind through open grassy areas and between groves of trees. A large duck pond near the main entrance is a favorite spot for kids to explore; it is home to a giant snapping turtle. A small playground is next to a spectacularly twisted tree that looks almost human.

Encourage your kids to smell, touch, and even listen to the different trees around the campus. A pinetum—a grove of various pine trees—covers an 18-acre northwest corner.

There’s a historical scion (descendant) of the “Penn Treaty Elm,” the elm tree under which William Penn supposedly entered into a 1682 treaty with the Lenape Chief Tamanend.

Remember: Although there is plenty of room and open space for running and expending excess energy, this is a place of study. Supervise children. Also note that bikes are permitted on campus, but not on the nature trail.

Plan B:

Rolling Hill Park has a natural playscape for young children, and more extensive trails and creek access for older children.

Where to Eat Nearby:

The vicinity of Haverford in either direction along US 30 is a venerable commercial area, with plenty of food and beverage options.


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