Morris Arboretum
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:100 East Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, PA
Hours:10 A.M. to 4 p.M. daily and until 5 p.m. weekends, April through October; Thursdays until 8:30 p.m., June through August. Closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
Fee: Adults, $16; children ages 3–17, student and active military, $7; children under 3, free; seniors (65+), $14; hike, bike, or SEPTA adults, $7, kids, $3; members and PennCard holders, free
Contact:, 215-247-5777

Bathrooms: At the visitor center
Water/Snacks: Water and seasonal café available at the visitor center; picnicking on benches permitted when café is closed
Map: (click on Plan Your Visit)

Get a squirrel’s-eye view of the trees, “Out On A Limb.”

Photo by: Courtesy of Morris Arboretum

Morris Arboretum takes its trees seriously. For families, that means a seriously fun adventure among paths, ponds, wetlands, gardens, plants, and rare trees. Located in Chestnut Hill along the Wissahickon Creek, the 92-acre historical grounds provide plenty of opportunities to play and learn about nature at the same time. Originally a summer home for the local Morris family, the arboretum has been open to the public since 1932, dedicated to promoting an understanding of the relationship among people, plants, and place. Kids can pick up a “Passport to Tree Adventure” booklet that invites them to do a series of activities all around the arboretum.

For children, the centerpiece of the arboretum is “Out On A Limb,” a 50-foot-high structure designed to give the experience of living at treetop level. It features a giant bird’s nest with child-scale blue robins’ eggs, and a “squirrel scramble”—huge rope nets to walk, slide, and bounce across. From the walkways there’s a beautiful bird’s-eye view of the woods. To find it, follow signs from the visitor center a short distance—or follow the excited kids who have been there before.

Many contemporary sculptures—some interactive, all designed to complement the natural landscape—are scattered throughout, including a giant bell. Stroller-friendly paved walkways wind around the rolling hills, as do gentle woods footpaths, connecting open fields, formal gardens, and shady woods. Among the horticultural highlights are a formal rose garden, an azalea meadow, a Japanese hill and water garden, and a fernery.

During winter, young children delight in the Garden Railway, dozens of model trains that wind in and out of rustic plantings and overhead. Visit the Morris Arboretum website to download winter family fun cards and other activity booklets.

Remember: Don’t miss the Swan Pond, the Mercury Temple and (underground) Grotto, and a 1908 log cabin by a stream, which served as the playhouse for young Lydia Morris when her family summered here.

Plan B:

The entrance to Wissahickon Valley Park is at the bottom of the hill as you continue down Northwestern Avenue. The park offers walking, hiking, biking, and fishing.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Germantown Avenue has a few restaurants, but more places to eat are in Chestnut Hill farther east down the avenue.


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