Kids and Families
Crooked Goblin Shack
Kids love visiting the house that Goblins built. Unfortunately, goblins are not very good builders because everything they do is crooked. They walk in crooked lines, they talk a crooked language called goblindeegoop, and everything they create is crooked. Created by Mark Cook Landscape and Contracting, LLC for the 2010 Philadelphia Flower Show and generously loaned for the enjoyment of Tyler’s visitors.
Nestled beneath the trees near the Pond, you will find a small cabin. This is a replica of the cabin Henry David Thoreau lived in on Walden Pond while writing one of his most popular works, Walden. Known as a writer, poet, environmentalist, abolitionist and transcendentalist, Thoreau was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change and natural decay; at the same time he advocated abandoning waste and illusion in order to discover life’s true essential needs. In our version of his quaint cabin, visitors can find chairs to sit in and books to read together next to the fireplace while looking out the windows to the trees and wildlife beyond.
Venture down this woodland path to find villages, hamlets and castles, created for gnomes, fairies, wizards, goblins and other magical folk. Nestled between the Native Woodland Walk and the North Woods, visitors get a peek at the lives of these elusive creatures in miniature displays created and maintained by our talented volunteers. You never know which magical creature may be hiding nearby to enjoy Tyler’s hospitality!
What Lies Beneath?
Tucked away beneath the trees, this mysterious old door begs the question “What Lies Beneath?”A troll? A wizard? A family of elves or hobbits? A mythological protector of the woods? It’s up to you to decide! To answer that question, visitors of all ages are encouraged to use their imaginations to create a story or poem inspired by this unexplained door. Submit your story to “The Tyler Arboretum Writing Project” at www.tylerarboretumwritingproject.com. Created by in 2010 Pine Street Carpenters, Inc.
Wizards are very powerful and can create all kinds of magical potions and spells. Venture inside to look into the Wizard’s Magical Ball, gaze at galaxies and come up with a spell of your own. Kids will love becoming a wizard, cat or owl for a fun photo opportunity!
Enjoy art in nature! Inspired by an angled, towering white oak, the designers of Outlook created a cantilevered platform that relies on the strength of the leaning tree. An arching suspension ladder of steel cables and bars is counterbalanced against the tree with a web of cables reaching out to nearby trees. The oval platform recalls the shape and structure of a leaf. Like a gigantic leaf held up to the sun, laminated plywood defines the veins against a translucent floor. Designed by PDK Architects and built by Hessert Construction.
Our terraced Fragrant Garden is the perfect spot for sensory exploration. Kids and their grown-ups love to rub leaves of herbs to discover those that smell like pizza, lemonade, pineapple, mint candy and more. The Fragrant Garden is tended by volunteers from the Philadelphia Chapter of the Herb Society of America.
Vegetable Demonstration Garden
Visit our Vegetable Garden and discover where your food comes from. Carrots are roots, lettuce is leaves, broccoli is young flower buds, and tomatoes are fruits. We have a special section designed just for kids to explore vegetables and other cool plants. The Vegetable Demonstration Garden is a quarter-acre plot that introduces visitors to growing vegetables using a variety of techniques and plant selection. Pollinator plants line the outer fence, with a variety of annuals and perennials inside the garden presenting diverse opportunities for the backyard gardener to pick up ideas and inspiration. The site includes its own composting system, and utilizes sustainable gardening techniques to conserve water and avoid the use of synthetic chemicals. Interpretive signs detail these strategies and provide cultural insight for the different plants. There are teaching elements for children of all ages, and artful decorations that are as fun to look at as they are to make at home. All of the food is harvested weekly and donated to the Media Food Bank, to be distributed to the Media community.
Tyler’s Pond is a popular spot to visit any time of the year. The unique wooden deck, built in 1990, allows easy access right to the edge of the water and serves as a perfect viewing spot to look at the variety of wildlife that call the pond home. Look for the many animals and insects that live in or near the pond. In the spring, frogs and toads gather in the pond to mate and lay eggs. Later tiny tadpoles can be seen around the pond’s edge. Turtles emerge in early spring and on warm days may be seen on logs. Several species of fish call the pond home and in summer and fall many species of dragonflies and damselflies dart and swoop through the air hunting insects.
Stopford Family Meadow Maze
The Stopford Family Meadow is a meadow labyrinth that invites adventurers to travel its paths to find their way to the center. The meadow grasses are mown in the winter. In spring the maze is filled with daffodils and by mid-summer the grasses and wildflowers have grown high to once again create the walls of the maze. Along the paths and around the maze perimeter there are Discovery Stations that educate and entertain. From the Raptor Roost, located at far end of the Maze, visitors can get an “eagle’s eye” perspective of the meadow. And the nearby Basking Circle is the perfect place to look for a sleepy snake or pretend the stone enclosure is a fort, castle, or other make-believe space.
The Butterfly House offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about, photograph and get a close-up look at local butterflies in all stages of development. The exhibit features a 1,400-square-foot screened structure filled with natives including monarchs, sulphurs, hairstreaks, red-spotted purples, great spangled fritillaries, painted ladies and swallowtails stopping on a flower to sip nectar or flying about the house. In addition, the butterfly caterpillars are busy munching on the leaves of appropriate plants so that they can grow big enough to turn into a chrysalis and then emerge as a new butterfly!
Pack some water and snacks and go on a discovery hike in our natural areas. Trails lead through wild-flower filled meadows, cool woodlands, and along and across gentle streams. The trails are clearly marked and all trails begin and end at their designated gates. There are 7 trails to choose from ranging from 0.9 miles to 8.5 miles; trail maps are available in the Visitor Center or you can click the link to view and print the Trails Map from home.