Morris Arboretum

Morris Arboretum
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Nature Play at Morris Arboretum

Nature Play


Nature Play is every day in the Sculpture Garden at Morris Arboretum. The concept of Nature Play is to give children space to discover the wonders of the natural world in an intuitive and unstructured way. Nature Play is a specific, designated area that gives kids space where such behaviors were previously ‘not allowed.’

In their article “Nature Play,” the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association says, “This type of unstructured, make-it-up-as-you-go play [has] existed since the dawn of humanity, with changes in its details but not in its essence. It [has] long served human children well: firing their imaginations, building their physical endurance and coordination, testing their initiative and courage, nurturing their people skills, and fostering life-long friendships with other kids and with nature.” (“Nature Play,” conservationtools.org)

This new space is Morris Arboretum’s “yes” area. Yes to going off the path. Yes to touching. And best of all, YES to climbing. As one parent expressed, “Love it! It was a nice break for my three kiddos from the gardens where they could look but not touch.” Nature Play helps children learn self-reliance, explore their interests, make independent observations and decisions, and solve problems. Such experiences encourage a lifetime of environmental stewardship and connections with the natural world.

Featuring large cut trees and stumps for climbing, various nature objects for building and creating, and tools for exploring, this space will also serve as an outdoor classroom for many Growing Minds classes and schools visiting on field trips. Open daily in the Sculpture Garden.


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Know Before You Go

For the safety of our visitors and to preserve the structural integrity of our tree collection, climbing or sitting on the limbs of trees is not permitted. Thank you!


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Map of Morris Arboretum

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Alerts & Updates


Advance Tickets Required for All Visitors (Including Members)

The Morris Arboretum is excited to announce that is reopening to the public on Thursday, June 18th. Members may reserve tickets starting Monday, June 15th with non-member tickets available Wednesday, June 17th. Please know that we are working to keep you as safe as we possibly can.

  • The City of Philadelphia mandates that all visitors age 2 and older wear face coverings.
  • If you feel sick, stay home.
  • One-way circulation on paths to facilitate social distancing.
  • The Visitor Center, the Shop, and Compton Cafe are temporarily closed, but picnicking will be permitted in certain areas.
  • The Garden Railway, Out on a Limb, the Fernery and the Log Cabin are temporarily closed.
  • Restrooms are open and sanitized regularly.
  • Hand sanitizing stations throughout the Arboretum.
  • Bring your own water and snacks.
  • Guest passes, Library passes, and RAP reciprocal admissions are not accepted at this time.

Unfortunately, Out on a Limb will be closed on Wednesday, January 29th through Friday, January 31, 2020 due to scheduled maintenance.

The Garden Railway will not be operational from 2:00 PM Friday (July 19) through the weekend (July 20-21). The trains will open for normal operation on Monday, July 22nd. Our Train Master reported that the trains will not operate in the excessive heat, citing electrical, track and rolling stock failures.

The Arboretum is open as usual. Click here for hours.

Garden Railway trains are not running Saturday, September 8th and Sunday, September 9th due to inclement weather.

Please note: The Rose Garden is closed for maintenance every Thursday morning until noon.

Weather conditions may limit garden access to certain features even if the garden is open – please check the web site or call (215) 247-5777 for updates before visiting. Our visitors’ safety in the garden is our top priority. Therefore when inclement weather is predicted, we will make decisions about closing the garden accordingly.

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