Author: Nicole Oddo, C’05
For all my love of Penn places, I had never been to the Morris Arboretum. You might say that is because it is not on campus. Or the fact that it is on the edge of Philadelphia city limits. Either way – living with a car in the city for the last few years and even in the Northwest section of the city – I had no excuse.
I waited until a beautiful fall weekend (it feels like I might have caught the last fall weekend before the snow). Every day, I kept an eye on the trees in my neighborhood in anticipation of my excursion.
After arriving on the grounds (and finding out that I got in for free with a Penn Alumni card) I drove up the winding road to the parking lot. Already, the scenery was beautiful.
First, we checked out the visitors center and picked up the map to discover just how expansive the place was. Immediately I wanted to check out the exhibit, Out on a Limb, that I had read about in The Gazette (read the article here). This exhibit gave a truly unqiue perspective and both children and adults had a chance to be up in the trees. While I am not always one for heights, the very secure exhibit gave such a unique vantage point over the park. From there, I knew we had a lot to explore.
The place was expansive and had a multitude of gardens. I enjoyed the rose garden and a groundhog sighting. You know you live in the city when you get excited to see groundhogs!
My favorite spot was the Pennock Flower Walk—a beautiful flower garden set behind gates that was originally part of the entry way to the Morris mansion. The brightly colored flowers and the walkway made the garden a little oasis in the midst of a very large park.
I highly recommend this Penn treasure and only wish I had discovered it earlier. I’ll be returning for the Holiday Garden Railway.