Morris Arboretum
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Morris Arboretum
100 East Northwestern Avenue
Chestnut Hill
Philadelphia, Pa 19118
Cross Street: Germantown Avenue
215.247.5777
General Information
The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is an interdisciplinary center that integrates art, science and the humanities. Thousands of rare and lovely woody plants, including some of Philadelphia's oldest, rarest, and largest trees, are set in a romantic, 92-acre, Victorian landscape.

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania began in 1887 as "Compton," the summer home of John and Lydia Morris, brother and sister. The I.P. Morris Company, an iron-manufacturing firm founded by their father and later run by John Morris, was a source of family wealth.

The land the Morrises purchased in Chestnut Hill was barren, with poor soil that drained too quickly; but with diligent care they surrounded their home with a landscape and plant collection devoted to beauty and knowledge. "Two Lines," a sculpture by George Rickey marks the former mansion site. The Widener Visitor Center was formerly the carriage house.

John was a noted plantsman and community leader who explored the new world of knowledge available to Victorians. John and Lydia traveled widely in America, Asia, and Europe bringing ideas, artwork, crafts and plants back to Compton. They shared a love of history and art, and established a tradition of placing sculpture in the garden that continues today. The Morrises were active in civic affairs and preservation, and believed in the power of education. It was their earnest hope to be judged "worthy stewards."

John and Lydia Morris laid plans for a school and laboratory at Compton devoted to horticulture and botany. Through the stewardship and vision of the Quaker family, Compton became the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania in 1932. Listed on The National Register of Historic Places, it is an interdisciplinary resource center for the University, and is recognized as the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Science, art, and humanities are pursued through a variety of research, teaching, and outreach programs that link the Arboretum to a worldwide effort to nurture the earth's forests, fields and landscapes.

  • Garden Etiquette:
  • Please do not climb on the trees or sculptures or wade in the fountains.
  • Picnicking is restricted to the dining area behind the Visitor Center unless otherwise stated for special events.
  • No cooking is allowed.
  • No bicycles, rollerblades, skateboards, Frisbees or other game equipment.
  • No commercial photography or filming unless prior arrangements are made with staff.
  • Personal use photography with tripods is OK as long as you don't go into the flower beds or damage any plants.
  • No wedding photography unless you are renting the facility for your wedding reception.
  • No pets allowed.
  • No admittance outside of regular visiting hours 10-4 daily, (10-5 Saturday & Sunday, April-October), 10-8:30 p.m. on Thursdays only in June, July and August.

    Volunteer: Volunteering at the Morris Arboretum can be a rewarding and stimulating experience. You will learn new skills, make new friends, and become a valued member of the extended volunteer staff. The Arboretum could not accomplish all that it does without the help of its volunteers who play an integral role in the organization. Listed below are some of the areas in need of assistance, with a contact person for each area. Thank you for considering this volunteer opportunity. We hope to see you at the Arboretum soon.

    Yoga: This summer, experience the incredible beauty of the Morris Arboretum as a backdrop while practicing mindfulness with one the many Yoga classes taught by Jennifer Schelter, called “one of the most inspiring people in Philadelphia” by US Airways Magazine.  Founder of Yoga Schelter, Jennifer teaches with a flair for humor and technical mastery.  Join her as she leads each class in a celebration of horticulture, body, mind and spirit.

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