I took my boys and a couple of their friends (that's the four of them pictured above, looking down from 50 feet up) to the Morris Arboretum in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, Pa., to check out their Tree Adventure. At the Tree Adventure, visitors can walk through acres of trees and plants, learning how important trees are to the environment and to humans.
The high-point for kids at Tree Adventure is the “Out on a Limb,” a “450-foot long walkway that soars 50 feet above the ground, and gives visitors a bird’s-eye view of the forest.” On the walkway is a giant bird’s nest where kids can sit on a robin’s eggs and rope netting that allows kids to scamper between two trees like a squirrel. Once back on the ground, there are plenty of other natural areas for kids and adults to explore.
The best way to let you know what The Tree Adventure has to offer is to show you.
If you want to know what it’s like to hear like an animal, try the megaphones. When I put these megaphones on my ears, everything was amplified. I could hear people’s voices around me more loudly and birds singing that I couldn’t hear when I took the megaphones off.
Here’s a view of the giant bird’s nest. All four kids who were with me fit in there nicely, plus a couple of other children.
Informative signs that teach visitors about the importance of trees and tree facts are everywhere. Children are given a passport when they arrive, and there are questions for which they are encouraged to find the answers while they are in the park. When they return with their full passport, they are given a pin. It encourages them to pay closer attention to their surroundings.
In addition to the trees, there are many other plants, including a large garden full of medicinal plants. The garden looked a bit beaten up, but considering that Hurricane Irene had just blown through less than 36 hours before, it held up very well.
The grounds of the arboretum are lovely. Everywhere you look, there are scenes like this one of a stream. It looks absolutely peaceful now, but right before I took the picture there were four boys jumping back and forth and splashing away in it. There are some spots at the arboretum that are off-limits, but for the most part, the boys could jump in streams, climb some rocks and roll down a nice, long hill.
Just when we at the end of the visit, we saw a garter snake crossing the path. The boys saw a lot that they enjoyed throughout the afternoon, but this snake was one of the most exciting.
If you live in the Philadelphia region or you're planning a trip to the region, make the Morris Arboretum and its Tree Adventure one of your destinations. Here are a couple of tips I have if you choose to go:
- Wear comfortable walking shoes and weather-appropriate clothing that can get dirty.
- Take some water or other hydrating beverages with you if it’s going to be warm out. You'll do a lot of walking outside.
- There are several spots that are perfect for stopping and having a snack or picnic. You don’t need to, but it would be nice to pack a little something to stop and eat.
- Give yourself at least three hours, preferably more, to explore everything.
- Don’t forget your camera.