Main Line Garden and Arboretum Guide
Venture outdoors to a local garden or arboretum for some safe, socially distant family exploration!
The Philadelphia region is considered to be the Garden Capital of America with more than 30 gardens and arboreta located within 30 miles of Philadelphia. Many of our local gardens and arboreta have reopened, with some new policies in place, and we have listed them here with important info for you so you can check before you go! Get creative to help your visit last longer- let your children bring cameras to take photos of their favorite plants, bring a journal to take notes or a drawing pad to make sketches, come up with a scavenger hunt before you go, or challenges for your kids to figure out while you explore. Pack a picnic (if the location allows it, and be sure to take home your own trash as many places aren’t providing trash service) or check for local restaurants or ice cream shops you can hit up for a cool treat after you explore to help make more of a day trip out of your adventure! And as always- if you visit share your pics with us on Instagram with #mainlineparent!
515 Painter Road, Media
Tyler Arboretum is a place of natural beauty and history dating back to the time of William Penn. Today Tyler serves the Greater Philadelphia region through horticulture, education, and the preservation of natural lands. The are now reopened to all visitors, without restrictions to members-only or timed ticket entry. They also plan to partner with other local businesses to provide low-key, socially-distanced events and other ways to help the community enjoy summer at Tyler. They are doing frequent cleanings, limiting the number of vehicles in the parking lot, and keeping the treehouses closed (for the time being, MLP will update when they open). They ask that you wear a face mask to enter the arboretum, when going in to their buildings to use the restroom, and other situations where you cannot maintain social distance from others. More info from the Director and President here.
631 Berwyn Baptist Road, Devon
Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens is a living, growing, vibrant classroom for people of all ages. The Arboretum and Gardens are open daily from 9 am to 7 pm, with the Education Center and Plant Shop currently closed. Please park only in designated spots in their parking lot, if it is full they are asking that visitors do not park on the street and just return another day to help limit the number of guests. Practice social distancing and wear masks when near other visitors, and follow signage as portions of the pathways are “one way only” to reduce interaction. Restrooms, water fountains, and trash cans are closed so plan accordingly. Please view their Policies and Guidelines for additional information.
Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College
500 College Avenue, Swarthmore
The 425-acre arboretum that makes up Swarthmore College is a living memorial to Arthur Hoyt Scott (Class of 1895). Known as a “garden of ideas” visitors are invited to walk their gardens to admire nature, cultivate ideas for your own garden, or participate in their programs. Many of their programs are now available in virtual format. Due to Covid the college facilities are closed to the public, and they encourage visitors to practice physical distancing and wear a mask.
786 Church Road, Wayne
The Chanticleer estate was developed as the summer home for the Rosengarten Family in the early 20th century. The property was left for the enjoyment and education of the public following the death of the son of the original family, and opened to the public in 1993. Chanticleer is now open to all with garden capacity limited to manage safe distancing. Guests arriving by car must make a parking reservation for the day and time you plan to visit (this is for members, too). Tickets can be purchased in advance or on site. Restrooms are not open, some paths are marked as one-way, and you must bring your own water (refilling stations are available in two locations). The historic Chanticleer House is closed, and painting in the garden is not permitted currently.
1829 East County Line Road, Villanova
Stoneleigh was once the home of three generations of the Haas family, who felt it to be an oasis of tranquility and natural beauty. They wanted to share it with others and it is not a public garden, open to all free of charge. During the pandemic there some additional guidelines in place for safety: parking is limited to the on-site parking lot and if it is full you are asked to come at another time, masks are required when 6 feet of distance between guests is not possible, follow the one way path directions, no picnics, restrooms are closed as well as the Welcome kiosk and drinking fountains.
Merion Botanical Park
100 Merion Road, Merion
This 13-acre park is owned by Lower Merion Township is lawn and planted trees and shrubs. Visitors can learn more about the plants by scanning the QR codes on the botanical signs. Visitors are welcome, and must obey the masks and social distancing rules set forth by the Governor.
1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square
Longwood Gardens was home to the native Lenni Lenape tribe, Quaker farmers, and later the du Pont Family. This living legacy of Pierre S. du Pont inspires people through garden design, horticulture, education, and the arts. Members and ticketbuyers are both welcome at Longwood Gardens, with timed admission tickets required daily from open to close with advance purchase (the only exception is for Garden Premium members). While the gardens are open, all summer performing arts events, Fireworks & Fountains Shows, and onsite education programs and summer camps are cancelled. Be sure to check the full list of visiting guidelines before you go, which include having your reservation printed or ready on your smartphone when you arrive to help speed along the check in process, wear a mask in both indoor and outdoor public spaces (where 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained), note that the Indoor Children’s Garden, Conservatory Music Room, Webb Farmhouse, and Picnic Area are currently closed, limited dining is available, and more.
Mt Cuba Center
3120 Barley Mill Rd, Hockessin, DE
Mt Cuba Center is a 500+ acre natural lands botanical garden in Delaware. Mt Cuba Center is open to visitors with advance ticket purchase required, a scanning station is located outside of the Main House for easy entry (no cash transactions at this time). The Main House restrooms are open, and sanitizer stations are in all common areas. Drinks, snacks, and merchandise are not available for purchase. There are signs and arrows indicating one-way traffic to help maintain distance, and their website warns that their rolling terrain and mulched paths provide limited even terrain and most areas are not fully accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. View all of their guidelines on their website. Please note that the time of this publication travelers between Delaware and Philadelphia are required to self-quarantine.
50 Lapsley Lane, Merion
The Barnes Arboretum at Saint Joseph’s University is home to a horticulture school, and visitors can explore the grounds to learn about rare plants from May to October.
Haverford College Arboretum
370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford
The mission of the Haverford College Arboretum is to steward the College’s historic tree collection while fostering a connection between their 216-acre campus, and those who work, visit, study, and reside there. At the time of the publication of this article the Arboretum website indicates that the Arboretum and campus trails are closed to the public, with only campus residents, students, faculty, staff, and emeriti allowed access.
Lead photo courtesy of Tyler Arboretum.
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