The 16 Best Botanical Gardens That Are “Must Visits” in Pennsylvania

Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve fountain shack in late autumn
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Written by Stephanie Harper

Updated: November 11, 2023

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Every state across America has its own special reasons for standing out. When it comes to Pennsylvania, this particular state is well-known for its breathtaking Appalachian Mountains, the opportunity to experience all four seasons, and the 83,000 miles of rivers. Spending time in Pennsylvania means you’ll have access to the great outdoors in significant ways. It’s a total dream for folks who love to explore and uncover new things! If botanical gardens and arboretums entice you, Pennsylvania will be the most exciting states for you to visit. There are so many different exquisite flowers to admire throughout the botanical gardens and arboretums in the area. These are some of the stunning stops that absolutely shouldn’t be skipped.

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens Orangery Green House

The Longwood Gardens is a magical place to see.

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Longwood Gardens is a destination to make time for when you’re in Pennsylvania. Some of the plants in bloom at Longwood Gardens include the sugar maple, chrysanthemums, and Mexican Sage. There are multiple gardens to see at Longwood such as the Eastwood Conservatory, Acacia Passage, and Forest Walk. Longwood Gardens offers tons of exciting events including the Martha Redbone Roots Project, the Outdoor Magic of a Longwood Christmas, and a performing arts festival called the Indoor Performance Series. People who show up for one of their pre-planned events will also get the chance to see the colorful blooms planted everywhere.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Glass Art Structures at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

You’ll find art among the plants at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

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It’s never a bad time to explore Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. This botanical garden is full of wonderful plant collections including orchids, bald-cypress trees, and staghorn ferns. As far as fruits and spices go, you’ll come across miracle fruit, lychee, prickly apple, dragon fruit, guava, and so many other edible treats. There are loads of events that take place there to add to your yearly calendar. Some fun things to do include their Hometown Harvest, their Green Power Drive, and their kid-friendly story time sessions that take places on a weekly basis.

Hershey Gardens

White pergola and pathway at Hershey Gardens in Pennsylvania.

The pathways at Hershey Gardens are stunning.

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The name Hershey doesn’t only represent the popular candy bar brand you find on shelves at grocery stores. Hershey Gardens is one of Pennsylvania’s loveliest and most breathtaking destinations. Along with their award-winning conservatory filled with lush flowers and plants, there’s also a butterfly atrium, a children’s garden, and a horticultural wing. The Zoology Zone at Hershey Gardens gives visitors the chance to admire creatures and critters from all around the globe, including scorpions, frogs, and tarantulas.

Bartram’s Garden

bartrams-garden

Bartram’s Garden is full of gorgeous blooms.

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Taking a stroll through all 50 acres of Bartram’s Garden means getting the chance to analyze some of the most beautiful plants and flowers in Pennsylvania. The American Beauty Berry, Autumn Crocus, and Blue Mist Flower are just a few examples of flowers that bloom in Bartram’s Garden. Educators take students to Bartram’s Garden for field trips since this botanical garden is the perfect backdrop for some hands-on academics. This garden hosts more than 5,000 children every single year through field trips that take place on property.

Morris Arboretum & Gardens

Swan lake Morris arboretum

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The blissfully beautiful flowers at Morris Arboretum & Gardens will potentially give you a greater respect for nature. The rose garden was started back in 1888, which means it’s been standing for quite some time. As of now, it’s full of roses, fruits, veggies, and a special specimen chestnut tree. Along with all the blooms, edible foods, and trees, some of the exhibitions are enticing enough to attract visitors of all age ranges. This arboretum features a tree top canopy walk, a whimsical wood trail, and a garden railway which serves as the largest outdoor model train display in the entire country.

The Arboretum at Penn State

Penn State Arboretum in the middle of summer red and yellow flowers with benches in the background

The Arboretum at Penn State is an impressive college stop.

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Penn State is a wildly popular University for college students to attend. If you get a chance to enroll at Penn State, odds are, you’re doing pretty well in your academic life! The Arboretum at Penn State is present on campus and full of loads of beautiful flowers. Their H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens sprouts asters, sunflowers, and even pawpaw, one of the more unusual fruits that grow in Pennsylvania. The flavor of a pawpaw is super tropical and tangy, like a blend of mango and banana.

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

Botanical garden in Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is worth exploring for all its gorgeous plants.

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One of the most special things Pittsburgh Botanic Garden offers is the Garden of the Five Senses. This unique pathway was designed for visitors of all ages, including little ones. Different sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feels surround visitors as they pass through the exhibit. The Hillside Pollinator Garden is another section full of native plants that attract buzzing pollinators throughout the year. If you’re not a big fan of bees, you might want to skip this area! The Allegheny Plateau Woodland is available for exploring at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, too. It’s full of herbaceous plant species, shrubs, and trees. The flowering cherry tree is an attention-grabber.

Tyler Arboretum

Black and white abstract wooden structure at Tyler Arboretum in Pennsylvania

The walkways at Tyler Arboretum are majestic.

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A magnificent detail about the Tyler Arboretum is that you can host weddings on property. This is a common reality for most botanical gardens and arboretums, but this particular location has endless backdrops for memorable photo opportunities. Some of the flowers that bloom across the 650 acres include hydrangeas, lilacs, and magnolias. You can book a tour through Tyler Arboretum for yourself or for an entire group. The guided tours give visitors the chance to keep an eye out for some of the birds that fly around the arboretum as well. The eastern bluebird has been spotted soaring through the area on more than one occasion.

Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens

Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens

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A little exploration at Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens will go a long way. There’s just so much to see! Some of the garden highlights on the property include blossoming poppies, witch hazel, and Siberian squill. Of course, the flowers you’ll see here (and at any botanical garden) vary based on the weather and season. Something called “Wednesday Walkabouts” is offered virtually through the official website. Exhibitions for students, artists, and photographers take place on a regular basis.

Erie Zoo Botanical Gardens

monkey island

Erie Zoo Botanical Gardens has a mix of plants and animals.

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Nature has always provided a never-ending melting pot of exciting things to see and uncover. When you’re checking out different flowers that pique your interest, it makes sense to keep an eye out for animals that are just as interesting. At Erie Zoo Botanical Gardens, it’s completely possible to do both. There are 10 gardens to walk-through, including the Julie King Garden, the Wild Things Garden, and the Adventure Garden. As far as their animals go, this zoo is home to African wild dogs, alpacas, and even tigers. Additionally, Angora goats, black-handed spider monkeys, and Canadian lynxes are also on the premises.

The Louise Arnold Tanger Arboretum

Wheelbarrow in a garden

The Louise Arnold Tanger Arboretum is full of greenery.

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At the Louise Arnold Tanger Arboretum, the Dwarf Conifer Garden was planted in 2015. It hasn’t been around for long, but that doesn’t make it any less exquisite. Conifers are evergreen trees and shrubs that are often confused with pine trees, as they produce arillate fruit and needle-shaped leaves. One of the other popular exhibitions is called Thieves & Vagabonds. It exists to give visitors a taste of history, as it chronicles some of the most pivotal moments that took place between the 18th and 20th centuries. Lastly, visitors interested in bees should check out the pollinator garden for deeper exploration.

Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve

Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve fountain shack in late autumn

Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve is a picturesque botanical garden in Pennsylvania.

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If you’re in need of a guided wildflower walk, visit Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve. Sometimes, exploring nature is a tad confusing when you can’t decipher exactly what you’re looking at. The guided wildflower walks help break down every single detail along the way. Some of the flowers that have bloomed on property include feather bush, thimbleweed, and Virginia sweetspire. Along with all the beautiful flowers in bloom, there are also a few ponds, habitats, meadows, and woodsy areas to stroll through.

Merion Botanical Park

Beautiful Park, Pennsylvania USA

The plants in Merion Botanical Park are absolutely gorgeous.

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Merion Botanical Park has been around for 70 years. It is home to a massive plant collection of beautiful blooms. This park educates visitors about all the native plants by explaining what their best uses are. Across all 13 acres of the park, you’ll find different trees and shrubs including red maples, horse chestnuts, and river birches. About 85 species of birds have been spotted in the park as well. There’s a chance you’ll see a black vulture, green heron, or Canada goose flying around while visiting this destination.

Chanticleer Pleasure Garden

The swimming pool at the Chanticleer Garden in Spring, Wayne, suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

The Chanticleer Pleasure Garden is a botanical garden in Pennsylvania for visitors and locals.

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Chanticleer Pleasure Garden is a destination where people can lay eyes on some of the most beautiful blooms throughout the year. In previous weeks, snowdrops, monstrous apple cacti, and Lantau Lady Amazon swords have sprouted. Various classes are taught at Chanticleer including art sessions and gardening guides for people who want to pursue this industry as their full-time career. Some of the workshops taught include fall gardening care, how to use and divide bulbs, and how to split bamboo. They also teach about the role of tree canopies in the landscaping world.

Malcolm Gross Rose Garden

Malcolm Gross Rose Garden

The Malcolm Gross Rose Garden is a stunning wedding venue.

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Malcolm Gross Rose Garden is known as a top-notch wedding venue for brides and grooms ready to tie the knot. Since it’s full of so many gorgeous flower varieties, it makes sense that couples in love would want to make it official in such a stunning place. The website doesn’t mention any of their specific blooms by name, but it’s obvious there’s a wide range of flowers during every season. Along with serving as an unforgettable wedding day backdrop, the Malcolm Gross Rose Garden also offers walking loops for exercise, dog parks for pet parents, and the South Mountain reservoir where picnic tables and grills are rented out.

Winterthur Museum & Gardens

Winterthur-Museum-Gardens

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Another place to add to your itinerary for Pennsylvania is Winterthur Museum & Gardens. According to the official site, the museum is full of decorative pieces of art. Loads of historical books fill the library shelves. As far as the garden goes, there are just about 1,000 acres of meadows and farmland. A man named Henry Francis du Pont had the creative vision to plant a garden full of flowers that would bloom year-round. Now, the garden exists as a full-fledged masterpiece, full of exquisite liveliness and bright color. If you adore peonies, you’ll be in luck traveling here.


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About the Author

Stephanie Harper is a professional writer who graduated from Cal State Northridge with her English degree. She loves writing about animals, travel, and other lifestyle topics.

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