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The University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum opened in 1887 as the summer residence of John and Lydia Morris’ brother and son, Compton.
John was a noted plantsman and civic activist who embraced the modern world of technology the Victorians had at their fingertips. John and Lydia traveled extensively in Africa, Asia, and Europe, taking back to Compton designs, artwork, paintings, and plants.
They shared a love of history and art and set up a tradition of putting sculpture in the garden, which continues today. The Morrises were interested in public affairs and development and believed in economic influence.
John and Lydia Morris also set out plans for a Compton school and lab dedicated to horticulture and botany. With the Quaker family’s stewardship and imagination, Compton was made the University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum in 1932.
In the live collection of the Arboretum, more than 13,000 named plants of about 2,600 varieties are growing. Those include parts of the North American, Pacific, and European temperate floras.
This historic collection traces its history to the curiosity of John Morris in plants from around the world and contains plants that E.H has collected in China.
Wildlife & Birding
The natural areas of Morris Arboretum include wetlands, meadows, and woodland along the Wissahickon Creek. Such areas offer a perfect habitat for a large variety of year-round animals and birds. Local birds are to be heard, as are migratory raptors and warblers.
There’s a lot of fun stuff for parents, kids, and families to do at Morris Arboretum. Check out some of the family-friendly games which are targeted at children during their visit and include the entire family.
For more family-friendly entertainment, visit a local art museum for a fun twist on historical pieces.
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