Morris Arboretum

Morris Arboretum

Connecting people, plants, and place.

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Garden Railway

The Holiday Garden Railway

The Morris Arboretum’s popular Holiday Garden Railway returns Friday, November 25th!

The Garden Railway is now open for the season and is dressed in its wintery finest! Open through December 31, free with admission during regular hours. The Arboretum is closed on December 24 and 25.

Check for weather closings.

Open Daily, May 28 - September 5. Open Weekends through October 10.
Weekdays 10:00am - 4:00pm, Saturdays and Sundays 10:00am - 5:00pm

Summer Garden Railway 2016: Awaken the Senses

Morris Arboretum has just the ticket to kick off summer – the Grand Opening of the Garden Railway display on Memorial Day weekend, celebrating its 19th year! This year’s theme is "Awaken the Senses" Grand Opening activities will take place on Saturday, May 28 from 1-3pm. Take part in a kids craft and enjoy free ice cream (while supplies last).

  • Imagine the scent of baking wafting from Randy’s Donut Shop and Ye Olde Cakery Bakery
  • Listen to the swoosh of the trains as they whizz by on the outdoor quarter mile track
  • See the octopus as he crawls out of the treasure chest of the underwater sea world
  • Touch the various natural materials on the Touch Board of samples used in the miniature world of the Garden Railway

Garden Railway Events

Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Weekends

Saturday, July 16 & Sunday July 17
Saturday, August 13 & Sunday, August 14
Saturday, September 10 & Sunday, September 11

Free with garden admission.

Come visit the Garden Railway and see Thomas & Friends take over the tracks.


Garden Railway Thomas the Train Weekend

Circus Week at the Garden Railway

Saturday, July 2 - Sunday, July 10
Saturday, August 27 - Monday, September 5

Free with garden admission.

Come see the Big Top and the circus trains, learn the history of the circus and watch for a few surprises.


Circus Week at the Garden Railway


About the Garden Railway

Visitors of all ages will be wowed by a quarter mile of track featuring seven loops and tunnels with fifteen different rail lines and two cable cars, nine bridges (including a trestle bridge you can walk under!), and bustling model trains, all set in the lovely garden of the Morris Arboretum. The display and buildings are all made of natural materials – bark, leaves, twigs, hollow logs, mosses, acorns, dried flowers, seeds and stones – to form a perfectly proportioned miniature landscape complete with miniature rivers. Each building, while an exact replica of the original, is unique in its design. Philadelphia-area landmarks such as a masterpiece replica of Independence Hall are made using pine cone seeds for shingles, acorns as finials and twigs as downspouts.

The Garden Railway is supported, in part, through the generosity of Gwen and Ed Asplundh and by a gift given in memory of Joe Shuttleworth. “Gwen and I are very pleased to support the wonderful Garden Railway. Ever since I was a kid, I have loved trains large and small. For years, I had a large train layout in my basement. There is something very special about an outdoor railway, especially the very unusual and beautifully done railway at the Arboretum. I enjoy watching the trains myself, but most of all, I enjoy watching the looks of delight on the faces of the other ‘kids’ young and old.” –Ed Asplundh


Railway Special Events

Holiday Garden Railway Grand Opening

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26 | 1:00 - 3:00pm
Free with garden admission.

Come see the Holiday Garden Railway dressed in its wintry finest! Take part in a fun craft for the kids and enjoy the carolers and winter garden.


Holiday Garden Railway


Friday Night Lights

FRIDAYS, DECEMBER 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 | 4:30 - 7:30pm
Ticket prices: Member adult $9, Member child $3, Non-member adult $16, Non-member child $8

Enjoy the Holiday Garden Rail all lit up and decorated for the season. White lights sparkle along the rails and miniature greens adorn the buildings. Pick up some hot cocoa or coffee at the Compton Café to warm up your walk. Apple fritters and snacks will also be offered.

If the trains cannot run due to inclement weather you will automatically receive an email notification and a full refund of your ticket purchase. Tickets must be re-purchased to attend on an alternate date.

Visitors to Friday Night Lights on December 2, will delight in an appearance by Pennsylvania Ballet’s George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker Sugar Plum Fairy and Mouse King from 5-6pm. Bring your camera and pose with these enchanting dancers for your family holiday photo!

At Friday Night Lights on December 9, Flourtown’s St. Genevieve School Bell Choir will ring lovely melodies and seasonal favorites from 5:30-6:30pm. A tasty treat from Bredenbeck’s Bakery in Chestnut Hill will be given to guests (while supplies last) at the December 16 event.


Friday Night Lights









About the Holiday Garden Railway

Visitors of all ages will be wow-ed by a quarter mile of track featuring seven loops and tunnels with fifteen different rail lines and two cable cars, nine bridges (including a trestle bridge you can walk under), and bustling model trains, all set in the lovely winter garden of the Morris Arboretum. The display and buildings are all made of natural materials – bark, leaves, twigs, hollow logs, mosses, acorns, dried flowers, seeds and stones – to form a perfectly proportioned miniature landscape complete with small streams. Each building, while an exact replica of the original, is unique in its design. Philadelphia-area landmarks such as a masterpiece replica of Independence Hall are made using pinecone seeds for shingles, acorns as finials and twigs as downspouts.

The buildings are all meticulously decorated for the holidays with lights that twinkle along the tracks and around the surrounding landscape. The Garden Railway Display has become one of the Arboretum’s most beloved attractions since it opened in 1998, and the Holiday Garden Railway is quickly becoming a favorite holiday tradition for many families.

The Garden Railway is supported, in part, through the generosity of Gwen and Ed Asplundh and by a gift given in memory of Joe Shuttleworth. “Gwen and I are very pleased to support the wonderful Garden Railway. Ever since I was a kid, I have loved trains large and small. For years, I had a large train layout in my basement. There is something very special about an outdoor railway, especially the very unusual and beautifully done railway at the Arboretum. I enjoy watching the trains myself, but most of all, I enjoy watching the looks of delight on the faces of the other ‘kids’ young and old.” –Ed Asplundh


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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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Alerts & Updates

The Holiday Garden Railway is not running today due to the rain.

The lower portion of the Rose Garden will be closed due to renovations to the turf after a long, hot, dry summer with record attendance. The top gate will be open to allow for visual access, just not foot traffic. While we will hope to reopen quickly, some variables are unpredictable. We look forward to welcoming visitors back on our newly restored Rose Garden turf soon.

Please note that weather conditions can change quickly, check back or call (215) 247-5777 before heading out for a visit.

Weather conditions may limit garden access to certain features even if the garden is open – please check the web site or call (215) 247-5777 for updates before visiting. Our visitors’ safety in the garden is our top priority. Therefore when inclement weather is predicted, we will make decisions about closing the garden accordingly.

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Alerts & Updates

The Holiday Garden Railway is not running today due to the rain.

The lower portion of the Rose Garden will be closed due to renovations to the turf after a long, hot, dry summer with record attendance. The top gate will be open to allow for visual access, just not foot traffic. While we will hope to reopen quickly, some variables are unpredictable. We look forward to welcoming visitors back on our newly restored Rose Garden turf soon.

Please note that weather conditions can change quickly, check back or call (215) 247-5777 before heading out for a visit.

Weather conditions may limit garden access to certain features even if the garden is open – please check the web site or call (215) 247-5777 for updates before visiting. Our visitors’ safety in the garden is our top priority. Therefore when inclement weather is predicted, we will make decisions about closing the garden accordingly.

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