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Pictured: Race Street Pier

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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.

Featured Listings

  • Morris Arboretum

    A romantic Victorian landscape garden

    Morris Arboretum

    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.

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  • Bartram’s Garden

    America’s birthplace of gardening

    Exploring Bartram’s Garden

    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.

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  • Race Street Pier

    Relaxing waterfront respite in the heart of the city

    The new Race Street Pier.

    The Race Street Pier on the Delaware River Waterfront is a relaxing respite in the heart of the city.

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  • The Oval

    Pop-up park returning for two weekends this October

    The Oval, an exciting new public space on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

    Reopens July 15
    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.

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  • Nightscape: A Light and Sound Experience at Longwood Gardens

    An immersive garden-wide after-dark installation

    The chance to see stunning sights at Longwood Gardens will continue after dark with the immersive after-dark-only installation Nightscape.

    July 1
    The chance to see stunning sights at Longwood Gardens will continue after dark in the summer and fall of 2015 with the launch of the immersive after-dark-only installation Nightscape: A Light and Sound Experience.

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  • The Philadelphia Zoo

    Animals and plants thrive at America’s first zoo

    As you approach PECO Primate Reserve, imagine for a minute that a group of primate conservationists have taken up residence in an abandoned timber mill to help save primates from around the world.

    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.

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  • Spring Blooms at Longwood Gardens

    Longwood Gardens’ celebration of spring

    April 4 – May 31
    At Longwood Gardens, tulips, dogwoods, wisteria, native azaleas, columbines, snapdragons, bluebells and more herald spring’s arrival both indoors and out during the Spring Blooms display, on view through May 31. Breathe in the fresh air and relish the beauty of the gardens, where every day something new bursts into bloom.

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  • Franklin Square

    Carousel rides, mini-golf, burgers and more

    Franklin Square, one of Philadelphia’s five original public squares, boasts several family-friendly attractions, including a miniature golf course, classic carousel, burger joint, storytelling bench, picnic area and more.

    Franklin Square, one of five public squares laid out by William Penn in his plan for Philadelphia, has undergone a dramatic renovation. The park now boasts a miniature golf course, classic carousel, burger joint, storytelling bench and picnic area.

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  • Valley Forge National Historical Park

    Where the spirit of the Revolution received its sternest test

    Experience history at Valley Forge.

    With more than 3,600 acres of rolling hills and well-worn trails, Valley Forge is now a magnet for runners, bicyclists and picnickers as well as history buffs.

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  • Rittenhouse Square

    Philadelphia’s most popular town square

    In the picturesque, tree-lined streets surrounding Rittenhouse Park, you will find charming townhomes, luxurious spas, amazing eateries, jewelry stores and the highest of high-end fashion boutiques.

    Rittenhouse Square is as popular with residents as it is with visitors. In the picturesque, tree-lined streets surrounding the park, you will find charming townhomes, luxurious spas, amazing eateries, jewelry stores and the highest of high-end fashion boutiques.

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  • Longwood Gardens

    One of the world’s premier horticultural display gardens

    Spring at Longwood Gardens.

    When you’re at Longwood Gardens, it’s easy to imagine that you’re at a giant, royal garden in Europe. Stroll along the many paths through acres of exquisitely maintained grounds featuring 11,000 different types of plants.

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  • Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education

    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, one of the first environmental education facilities established within the limits of a major metropolitan area in the country.

    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.

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  • Peace Valley Lavender Farm

    Pick your own lavender — or pick up lavender home goods

    Those who imagine themselves to be dwelling carefree amidst the gentle hills of Provence can pick their own lavender, in season, at the Peace Valley Lavender Farm.

    It’s all about lavender at the Peace Valley Lavender Farm. Visitors are invited to pick their own lavender to bring home along with lavender goodies from the gift shop. The six different types of the plants are available for about $1 per ounce.

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  • Pier 68

    A public fishing pier, picnic spot and nature oasis to open in mid-2015

    The upcoming Pier 68 Park is the latest development of the Master Plan for the Central Delaware, which aims to to turn six-miles of the Central Delaware River waterfront into a fully developed public space.

    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.

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  • Brandywine Valley Wine Trail

    Explore the wineries of the Brandywine Valley

    Paradocx Winery is one of five wineries on the trail.

    Take a tour of incredible wineries located in the beautiful, historic Brandywine Valley.

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  • Morris Arboretum

    A romantic Victorian landscape garden

    Morris Arboretum

    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.

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  • Dilworth Park

    Undergoing renovations to become one of the city’s great green spaces

    Rendering of the renovated Dilworth Plaza, opening in 2014.

    Now open
    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.

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  • Paine’s Park

    Fantastic skatepark in the heart of the city

    http://photos.visitphilly.com/PainesPark_2013-6-M.Edlow-400vp.jpg

    Located on the Schuylkill River Banks, Paine’s Park is a public, riverfront oasis for skateboarders and visitors alike.

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