The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania has been a place that we have wanted to visit for some time now. We love to explore gorgeous nature settings, and when we heard that they had a special holiday garden railway, we knew that we wanted to check it out.
Before traveling to this location, I personally had not known what an arboretum was. On the website for this particular arboretum they state “The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania inspires an understanding of the relationship between plants, people and places through education, research and horticultural displays.” It is basically this expansive public garden that is also used in the education of ecosystems and conservation, which is pretty awesome if you ask me. I believe that the more people are aware of how much we truly do need to cherish our environment, they more that we can work together as a team to build a stronger planet.
I was pretty excited as we were walking up to the railway, because they had a really nice paved path to get to it. This may seem like a small thing to get excited about but there were some reasons behind it (besides my currently sprained ankle.) Sometimes, in different parks and nature spots that we have traveled to in the past, you can get really lost into the forest, but everything was very nicely laid out at the Morris Arboretum, and very walkable. I will also provide a link to their website at the bottom of the post that you can check out if you need additional information about different services that they provide for accessibility.
When we arrived at the area with the railway, we saw a very neat sign that asked if you could find all the fairy houses in their Garden Railway. This honestly just added to the charm of this unique area, and even as an adult I have to admit, I was pretty excited to look for these fairy homes.
As we meandered around this immaculate system of railways, cars, and spectacular decorations, we loved how they really payed homage to the Philadelphia area. In fact, this location is right at the Northwestern region of Philly.
One of my favorite displays was definitely Boathouse row. I loved it because they had Boathouse Row with the Waterworks, which is pretty much how it is really laid out in the city. It was a really detailed replica of it, and we were impressed!
After visiting “The Holiday Garden Railway” we did explore the arboretum a bit. We stumbled upon this “Swan Pond” that you absolutely have to check out when you visit. The pond was inspired by English and Romantic landscapes, and is truly a place of beauty.
Another spectacular area to see is the “Loop de Loop” stickwork sculpture by Patrick Dougherty. In March of 2019, this artist worked with a group of volunteers to create a whimsical and fairy like art piece that is specific to this location. This structure was made completely of natural and organic pieces such as willow sticks and saplings. This magnificent work of art is to remain in its natural environment and was estimated to last for several years. Patrick Dougherty has created about 300 large scale temporary sculptures that are featured in gardens, museums, and universities all around the world, and I will leave a link on the bottom of this post if you would like to learn more about him.
I highly recommend a visit to the Morris Arboretum during the holidays for this unique display. Let me know in the comments if you have ever visited this location and what you thought of it as well. I hope you are having a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button. Happy Holidays!
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-For Additional Reading
If you are traveling to the Pennsylvania region, and are interested in learning about its history, a really amazing resource is the book “Pennsylvania A History of the Commonwealth” by which is edited by Randall M. Miller and William Pencak. It is so informative, and reviews the history of our state, in addition to the geography, architecture, archaeology, art history, and even stories of folklore and folklife that are specific to this area.
I personally recommend this book if you are planning a trip to Pennsylvania, or even if you are just interested in learning about the state in general. If you would like to check it out, click on the link below!
If you would like to check out the full list of travel books that I recommend make sure that you check out this comprehensive guide!
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