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.
A temporary outdoor escape, at 15th and South Streets, with food, beer and more
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s annual Pop Up Garden returns for its fourth year, transforming a forgotten outdoor area into a gorgeous, landscaped community space.View More
Celebrate fall with chrysanthemums, music and more
September 12-November 22, 2015View 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.
An immersive garden-wide after-dark installation
Through October 31, 2015View More
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.
A universe of stellar performers entertains under summertime skies
The Mann Center for the Performing Arts, one of the nation’s largest outdoor amphitheaters, is a top summer destination for music lovers in Philadelphia.View More
Pop-up park on the Parkway
Through August 23View More
The Oval is a seasonal pop-up outdoor public space that transforms an island of asphalt and surrounding lawns at 24th Street and the Parkway into an eight-acre public space devoted to family-friendly fun.
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
Carousel rides, mini-golf, burgers 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.View More
Where the spirit of the Revolution received its sternest test
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.View More
Philadelphia’s most popular town square
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.View More
One of the world’s premier horticultural display 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.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
Pick your own lavender — or pick up lavender home goods
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.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
Longwood Gardens’ celebration of spring
April 4 – May 31View More
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.
“Circle the Square” with fine art
June 5-7 & September 18-20View More
Now in its 84th year, the Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show has the long-running distinction of being the nation’s oldest outdoor original artwork show.