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.
This elegant bridge, complete with hidden troll dwelling, is based on the tale Three Billy Goats Gruff. Kids love crossing the bridge, but must be careful not to wake up the grumpy sleeping troll! Created in 2010 by Parris Bradley and John Stovicek using recycled materials.
Venture down this woodland path to find villages, hamlets, and castles, created for gnomes, fairies, wizards, goblins, and other magical folk. You never know which magical creature may be hiding nearby to enjoy Tyler’s hospitality!
Fairy House Building Area
Gnomes, fairies, elves and the rest of their friends are having trouble finding suitable housing due to vanishing local woodlands and meadows. You are invited to help by creating a special home in our enchanted community. Supplies for fairy cottages, gnome homes, and elfin mansions are available at the Gnome Depot, which stocks a full inventory of sticks, cones, bark, nuts, and other natural materials that will be needed for construction. Your creation will stay at the Arboretum for use by visiting wee folk, but we hope you will build magical sanctuaries at your house too!
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.
Wizard Herbology Workshop
Wizards are very powerful and can create all kinds of magical potions and spells. They often use plants and one of the important courses taken by apprentice wizards is called Herbology. Apprentices learn to identify many of Mother Nature’s plants so that they know which ones to use to help people, birds, butterflies, animals – and other Wizards! Visitors who venture inside will see some of their recipes – and the Wizard’s Magical Ball.
Kids’ Nature Play Area
An area created just for the young ones, this is a place for kids to dig in the dirt, climb up the mulch mountain, jump on stumps, or walk the log balance beam. A perfect place for lots of fun, movement, and discovery. Bring a lunch or snack to enjoy on the nearby picnic tables.
These whimsical frog sculptures arrived at Tyler as part of the original tree house exhibit that celebrated the fact that trees are indeed home to many creatures – including tree frogs! An instant success, our friendly frogs draw young visitors like a magnet and kids love to climb them, name them, and get their picture taken with them.
Our terraced Fragrance 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.
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.
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.
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 the trailhead. There are 7 trails to choose from ranging from 0.9 miles to 8.5 miles; trail maps are available in the Visitor Center.