A Historic Public Garden and Educational Institution
By Amy Grant
John and Lydia Morris, heirs to iron manufacturing firm the I.P. Morris Company, purchased this Chestnut Hill estate for their summer home in 1887. Affectionately known as Compton, the land was initially barren but the Morrises eventually persevered in creating a landscape and sculpture garden devoted to beauty and knowledge.
The Morrises believed in the power of education and laid plans for a school and laboratory at Compton devoted to horticulture and botany. In 1932, the estate was turned over to University of Pennsylvania and soon became an interdisciplinary resource center focusing on research, teaching, and outreach programs. Today, the Morris Arboretum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is recognized as the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Highlights here include: 92 acres of lush and colorful gardens featuring 12,000 labeled plants, trees, and flowers. Specialty gardens designed by John and Lydia and some of the finest local architects of their time including an Azalea Meadow, an English Park, Wetlands, and a Swan Pond.
Admission: Children under 3: Free, Youth (3-17 years): $9.00, Students: $9.00, Adult: $17.00, Seniors (65+ years): $15.00
Hours: Open Daily 10am to 4pm; closed on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day
Location: 100 E. Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118
Tip: Picnicking in the garden is allowed in the designated picnic area behind the Widener Visitor Center.