The Dorrance H. Hamilton Fernery is the only remaining freestanding Victorian fernery in North America. Originally built in 1899 under the supervision of John Morris, the fernery stands today as a historical time piece, documenting the British obsession with ferns and glasshouses during the Victorian era. The building was constructed using locally mined stone and utilized cutting edge technology in glass cutting, steam heating, and architectural elements.
In the century following the original construction, the fernery slowly fell into disrepair, with several small renovation projects to protect it from destruction. Finally in 1994 the fernery was fully restored to its original grandeur with a gracious donation from board member Dorrance H. Hamilton and other contributors who responded to a major matching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This $1.2 million renovation included restoring the roof to the original curvature, replacing and updating the heating and electrical systems, installing an advanced climate control system, and restoring the waterfall, ponds and stone walls. The blue flagstone plaza was also installed during this project to welcome visitors, and provide a shaded relaxing place to stop and enjoy the arboretum.
Nestled in a curve of land below the rose garden, the fernery has become an iconic part of the Morris Arboretum. Its glittering rooftop welcoming visitors into a peaceful space filled with ferns, trickling waterfalls and reflecting pools. A wonderful place to explore in all seasons.
In response to the unprecedented public health crisis related to Coronavirus (COVID-19), Morris Arboretum will close to the public as of March 14, 2020 until the University of Pennsylvania feels that is it safe to re-open. Learn more about the Univerisity's response on the University of Pennsylvania’s dedicated Coronavirus website: coronavirus.upenn.edu. Please know that this decision was made after careful deliberation and that our priority is to do all we can to ensure the safety and well being of our staff, volunteers, and visitors. Information pertaining to public health is rapidly evolving and, as such, it is not yet known when we will reopen. We will be vigilant in our efforts to keep our website up-to-date and we will communicate directly to members and class registrants via email with the latest details.
The following information is provided in anticipation of some of the questions you may have relative to the following categories:
Individuals who have registered for a class
It is our intention to provide a refund to individuals who have registered for a class that occurs during this temporary closure. We are working as quickly as possible to process your refunds in the manner in which you paid. If you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We appreciate your patience at this time. We know that early spring is the most natural time to come out to the Arboretum for a walk in the gardens to enjoy the fresh air, but maintaining public health must be our priority. We look forward to seeing you in the gardens just as soon as we are reassured that it is safe for all of our visitors to return. We will keep you updated on any developments, but in the meantime, if you have any questions about your membership, please contact email@example.com.
Any individuals that have planned events will receive outreach directly from a staff member to discuss your options.
We will continue to update the community as soon as information is available and is consistent with the evolution of this dynamic situation. Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We appreciate your understanding during these challenging times and we thank you for your support. Please stay connected with us through Facebook, Instagram, and our website.
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.