Map all locationsNature, Parks and Gardens
Nature, Parks and Gardens
The Philadelphia region is known as the “Cradle of Liberty” as well as the “Cradle of American Horticulture.” Both traditions began with the enlightened settlers who brought to the New World their curiosity about the natural world. William Penn was so inspired by the eastern hardwood forest that greeted him that he named his colony Penn’s Woods, or Pennsylvania.
His desire to establish a “greene countrie towne” was fundamental to his vision of the colony as a place of religious freedom. Today, the Philadelphia region is blooming with parks and gardens, many of which grace the city’s historic homes and art museums.
A romantic Victorian landscape garden
Stroll through the classical English landscape structures and sculpture gardens at Morris Arboretum, a 92-acre Victorian arboretum. Watch for birds as you enjoy the elegant beauty of the 19th-century grounds, complete with a formal rose garden, majestic old trees and unusual plants from North America, Asia, Africa and Europe. And the arboretum’s soaring permanent exhibit let’s you get a bird’s eye view of the forest on a 450-foot-long canopy walk more than 50 feet above ground level.
America’s birthplace of gardening
John Bartram purchased the 102-acre farm along the west bank of the lower Schuylkill River, three miles southwest of colonial Philadelphia, in 1728, and turned it into America’s first garden. Today, visitors can join a morning bird walk, catch a breeze along the River Trail, stroll through the upper kitchen garden and the fragrant flower gardens or visit the riverside meadow, brimming with grasses and wildflowers.
Relaxing waterfront respite in the heart of the city
The Race Street Pier on the Delaware River Waterfront is a relaxing respite in the heart of the city.
Animals and plants thrive at America’s first zoo
One of the best laid-out and most animal-packed zoos in the country, the Philadelphia Zoo is set among a charming 42-acre Victorian garden with tree-lined walks, formal shrubbery, ornate iron cages and animal sculptures.View More
Explore the natural world
Six miles of hiking trails traverse the 340 acres of woods, streams, ponds, and fields of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, the one of the first environmental education facility established within the limits of a major metropolitan area in the country.View More
A public fishing pier, picnic spot and nature oasis to open in mid-2015
Built as a place for passive recreation, Pier 68 will be an angler’s delight with a dedicated space for casting lines and built in fish-cleaning stations. Native trees and plants will provide shade in the picnic grove and a cutout in the pier surface will allow visitors to watch the tide rise and fall.View More
Explore the wineries of the Brandywine Valley
Take a tour of incredible wineries located in the beautiful, historic Brandywine Valley.View More
A romantic Victorian landscape garden
Stroll through the classical English landscape structures and sculpture gardens at Morris Arboretum, a 92-acre Victorian arboretum. Watch for birds as you enjoy the elegant beauty of the 19th-century grounds, complete with a formal rose garden, majestic old trees and unusual plants from North America, Asia, Africa and Europe. And the arboretum’s soaring permanent exhibit let’s you get a bird’s eye view of the forest on a 450-foot-long canopy walk more than 50 feet above ground level.View More
Carousel rides, mini-golf, burgers and more
Franklin Square, one of Philadelphia’s five original public squares laid out by William Penn in his original plan for the city, boasts several family-friendly attractions, including a miniature golf course, classic carousel, burger joint, storytelling bench, picnic area and more.View More
Undergoing renovations to become one of the city’s great green spaces
Now openView More
Located at the foot of City Hall, Dilworth Park has undergone a major — and awesome — transformation into a modern and welcoming outdoor space with new plantings, lawns, a programmable fountain, a cafe with outdoor seating and two iconic glass entrances to the underground concourse.
Fantastic skatepark in the heart of the city
Located on the Schuylkill River Banks, Paine’s Park is a public, riverfront oasis for skateboarders and visitors alike.View More
Pop-up park returning for two weekends this October
The Oval, a popular pop-up open-air public space on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, returns for two weekends in October. After a fantastic summer of family-friendly fun, food trucks, live music and an incredible beer garden, The Oval is returning with an autumn-centric celebration.View More
Home of the Centennial Arboretum — 27 acres of majestic Asian, European and North American trees
With a small pond, a creek, a wetland and a network of paths, picnics are a favorite family activity at this historic arboretum in Fairmount Park.View More
Celebrate the 2014 vintage along the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail
October 4 to 5View More
As summer turns to fall, it’s harvest time at the region’s wineries. Last year’s crop is already turning into wine and, once again, it’s time to celebrate the harvest in the Brandywine Valley.
Celebrate fall with chrysanthemums, music and more
Open through November 23View More
Longwood Gardens celebrates the harvest season with Autumn’s Colors, a festive showcase of fall colors, and the Chrysanthemum Festival, when more than 20,000 blooming chrysanthemums take over Longwood’s four-acre conservatory.
“Circle the Square” with fine art
On the first Friday through Sunday of June, a popular outdoor art show fills Rittenhouse SquareView More
Eco-friendly public space along the Delaware River Waterfront
The Delaware River Waterfront continues to enhance and expand its amazing public spaces with the opening of Washington Avenue Pier.View More
The Quaker way of life preserved for 300 years
Duck into the partially hidden garden along busy Germantown Avenue for a 2.5-acre oasis of color and scent at the historic Wyck House and gardens. You’ll be whisked back to the Colonial and Victorian eras as you walk through the rose garden, vegetable garden, lawns and other plantings, many of which are direct descendents of the original 19th-century plantings.View More