Morris Arboretum

Morris Arboretum

Connecting people, plants, and place.

University of Pennsylvania

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Nature Play at Morris Arboretum

Nature Play


Nature Play is every day in the Sculpture Garden at Morris Arboretum. The concept of Nature Play is to give children space to discover the wonders of the natural world in an intuitive and unstructured way. Nature Play is a specific, designated area that gives kids space where such behaviors were previously ‘not allowed.’

In their article “Nature Play,” the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association says, “This type of unstructured, make-it-up-as-you-go play [has] existed since the dawn of humanity, with changes in its details but not in its essence. It [has] long served human children well: firing their imaginations, building their physical endurance and coordination, testing their initiative and courage, nurturing their people skills, and fostering life-long friendships with other kids and with nature.” (“Nature Play,” conservationtools.org)

This new space is Morris Arboretum’s “yes” area. Yes to going off the path. Yes to touching. And best of all, YES to climbing. As one parent expressed, “Love it! It was a nice break for my three kiddos from the gardens where they could look but not touch.” Nature Play helps children learn self-reliance, explore their interests, make independent observations and decisions, and solve problems. Such experiences encourage a lifetime of environmental stewardship and connections with the natural world.

Featuring large cut trees and stumps for climbing, various nature objects for building and creating, and tools for exploring, this space will also serve as an outdoor classroom for many Growing Minds classes and schools visiting on field trips. Open daily in the Sculpture Garden.


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Know Before You Go

For the safety of our visitors and to preserve the structural integrity of our tree collection, climbing or sitting on the limbs of trees is not permitted. Thank you!


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