Go Back in Time at Morris Arboretum


Morris Arboretum invites visitors to travel back in time for a glimpse of the Arboretum’s history with activities and games this August.  Programming experiences will be self-directed adventures and print-at-home games to bring to the Arboretum for discovery in the garden.

The Compton mansion that Lydia Morris stipulated should be torn down after her death (in 1932) stood for another 36 years until 1968 when it was demolished after years of neglect. This August Morris Arboretum will ‘rebuild’ the mansion by painting the foundation at the top of the hill, labeling the rooms that are known and posting archival photos of the interiors. Visitors can explore what it might’ve been like to live in this architectural enormity known as the Compton mansion.

Other historic features lost over the years will be shown with archival photos where they once stood: the Tea House in the Japanese Overlook garden, the rock pond near the Katsura tree, the flower garden pergola, the Palm House next to Out on a Limb and cantilever bridge. Visitors are encouraged to take selfies in the footsteps of history, imagining how Lydia Morris might have looked perched on her bench, and see other archival photos of visitors enjoying the garden long ago.

Games from different eras will be re-created for today’s visitors such as limbo, hopscotch, the floor is lava, and pitching pennies, and will take place at the end of the Oak Allée. A downloadable version of Bingo in the form of “I Spy” will be available on the website to bring to the garden.

August is a wonderful time to visit the Morris Arboretum to enjoy the cooling power of trees, visit old favorites like Out on a Limb, the Rose Garden, the Pennock Garden in its summer glory, and go exploring to discover something new in the 92-acre garden.

Please note new safety measures. Advance tickets are required for all visitors.


Morris Arboretum is one of more than 30 Philadelphia gardens in America’s Garden Capital. This 92-acre horticultural display garden features a spectacular collection of mature trees in a beautiful and colorful landscape.  The Morris Arboretum offers educational programs for many audiences ranging from youth to professional, and is a leader in botanical and horticultural research.  The official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Morris Arboretum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and accredited by the American Association of Museums.  For more information, visit: www.morrisarb.org

Photo caption: John and Lydia Morris’s mansion shown in its glory. The mansion fell into disrepair after Lydia Morris’s death in 1932, and was ultimately torn down in 1968. This August Morris Arboretum will ‘rebuild’ the mansion by painting its outline at the top of the hill and displaying archival photos of interior rooms for visitors to enjoy. Advance tickets required for all visitors at Morrisarb.org/tickets.

Welcome Back to the Garden!

Reserve your tickets at MorrisArb.org

Susan J. Crane

Director of Marketing

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania

100 E. Northwestern Ave

Philadelphia, PA 19118

215-247-5777 x121

Mobile: 267-972-2948