Awbury Arboretum
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:1 Awbury Road, Philadelphia, PA
Hours:Grounds open dawn to dusk daily; office (Francis Cope House) open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fee: Free
Contact:; 215-849-2855

Bathrooms: At the Francis Cope House (when open)
Water/Snacks: Water fountain outside the Francis Cope House

Unlock a secret garden, walk between tall rows of growing vegetables, and run after butterflies at this Germantown oasis of green.

Francis Cope House at Awbury Arboretum
Photo by: By Davidt8 via Wikimedia Commons

Awbury Arboretum’s 55 acres provide a breath of fresh air in the midst of the historical, bustling neighborhood of Germantown. Set on a high hill topped by the 1862 Francis Cope House (where the arboretum’s offices are located), Awbury’s forested, parklike grounds are traversed by winding, easily walkable trails and some paved drives near the Cope House.

Trails start near the office, where maps may be obtained. In summer, the meadows are full of butterflies, while the pond is home to turtles and frogs. Birds are abundant here, and not just urban birds. Soaring hawks and musical warblers alike are attracted to this green refuge in Northwest Philadelphia. For kids who love to be near water, take the woodland trail that heads down to the wetlands, where a pond and creek invite exploration. A short walk downhill from the Cope House is a Community Apiary with beehives that educate young visitors about bees’ lives and their importance to flowers, trees,and food plants. Kids can sit in a stump circle to observe the hive activity, and the beekeeper conducts regular children’s programs. Near the apiary is a huge basswood tree that looks like a fairy tale monster. Ask the office staff to unlock the Secret Garden, which is northeast of the office; a kid need not be a fan of the classic children’s book to get a thrill from a visit. The garden is romantically spooky with its stone walls overgrown with vines.

Across Washington Lane is the arboretum’s 16-acre Agricultural Village. Here, the Weaver’s Way Co-op runs a 2-acre farm and children’s garden that works to educate the community about growing food. Take your kids into the fields, read interpretive signs, and talk to a farmer about what’s underground. This is an opportunity for kids to see what carrots look like before they get picked, de-leafed, peeled, and plastic-bagged.

The arboretum has an active calendar of children’s programs and summer camps. Visit for more information.

Remember: At the Agricultural Village, areas outside the Weaver’s Way Co-op are not open to the public. Also, picnics are not permitted.

Plan B:

Wissahickon Valley Park has hiking and bicycle trails, plus fishing in the creek.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Head over to Germantown Avenue, toward Mount Airy, to find restaurants and shops.


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