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Discover a Pennsylvania Paradise
Pennsylvania is famous for its forests, so it’s only natural that we have some of America’s best and most beautiful botanical gardens as well as its most serene woodland sanctuaries. Find fields of flowers, atriums of glass full of butterflies, cutting-edge technology, and living museum exhibits of the rarest trees on the continent. Pennsylvania has it all. And besides being beautiful, flowers are scientifically proven to increase happiness and positive thoughts. So get up and get out this spring; turn the TV off, hide the remote, and pick one of the many Pennsylvania gardens from the list below for your next outdoors destination.
Bartram’s Garden, Philadelphia
Visit the nation’s oldest botanical garden in one of its largest cities, Philadelphia, the garden capital of the United States. Bartram’s Garden is a museum like you’ve never seen it before. Its living collections display some of the rarest trees and plants in the world and its attractions, including the franklinia plant, yellowwood, and river walkways, offer unrestricted exploration of a woodland realm that is truly magical.
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square
The crown jewel of horticulture around the world makes its home near Philadelphia and Lancaster. The 1,050-acre showcase of plants and fountains is a remarkable display of natural beauty. The Main Fountain Garden just recently reopened this spring after an extensive revitalization.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh
Located in Pittsburgh, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is an enthralling attraction with plenty to do, see, and celebrate as spring launches itself into full bloom. Admire the award-winning “green” design that made Phipps the first building in the world to earn the status of LEED Platinum Certification for Buildings by the U.S. Green Building Council. Attend the Used Bulb Sale, visit the Butterfly Forest, or learn something new at an educational seminar about sustainability and permaculture.
Hershey Gardens, Hershey
What started as Milton Hershey’s vision for a simple rose garden has now turned into a breathtaking attraction in the Hershey-Harrisburg area. Visit the seasonal display garden made up of thousands of tulips, walk the tranquil paths of the Japanese garden, and stroll through the M.S. Hershey Tribute Garden which pays homage to the original plan of a rose garden.
The Arboretum at Penn State, State College
Visit Penn State’s free-of-charge serene garden retreat and find inner peace at the featured attraction, The Lotus Pool, located at the Oasis Garden. Penn State’s Lotus Pool is unique because the lotus seeds used were found in a dry Manchurian lake bed in the 1950s. Carbon dating places the seeds’ age at over 800 years old!
LEAF is a living museum in Erie that features over 225 different species of trees. As a living museum, the “exhibits” are changing constantly as the trees grow and diversify. Visit LEAF this May for the LEAF in Bloom Spring Walking Tour Event, which hosts guided tours at 1PM and 3PM.
Tyler Arboretum, Media
Started in the mid-1800s as a private collection, Philadelphia’s Tyler Arboretum is now one of the oldest and largest collections of horticulture in the northeastern U.S. Unlike many others of its kind, Tyler Arboretum also has many natural areas such as trails, the pond, Pink Hill, the North Woods, and the Meadows, as well as a 1,400 square-foot butterfly atrium.
Hope Hill Lavender Farm, Pottsville
Discover four different species of lavender at Pottsville’s Hope Hill Lavender Farm. Hand-harvested for culinary use, oil, and dried bouquets, the farm’s 1,600 lavender plants make it a unique—and fresh-scented—attraction; treat yourself to lotions, shampoos, candles, and more from the gift shop.
Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, Oakdale
True to its ideals of sustainability and environmentalism, the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is the only botanic garden in the country that is built on reclaimed land, its site having once been a 460-acre coal mine. Explore its 20 gardens, four woodlands, and amphitheater this spring and immerse yourself in this unexpected garden that has risen from the ashes (literally) of the Pittsburgh coal industry.
Crabtree Gardens, Drums
Enjoy the Crabtree Gardens’ educational center by walking its Meditation Path or unwind in its yoga studio among trees, flowers, birds, and butterflies. You can also learn about the Gardens’ system of composting and recycling.
Laurel Hill State Park, Somerset
Take a trip to Laurel Hill State Park if you’re ready to tackle its trail system through thousands of acres of state park and forestlands. Be sure to stop for a breathtaking view of the 63-acre Laurel Hill Lake.
Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, New Hope
Discover more than 800 species of flora at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, including the native Pennsylvania trees: red cedar, black walnut, and sycamore.
Quiet Creek Herb Farm, Brookville
You’ll never want for learning at Quiet Creek Herb Farm which uses its conservation system and eco-minded technology to educate its visitors about sustainable living and ecological thinking. Stroll through rows of organic vegetables or admire the power of renewable energy on this education-based experience.
Chanticleer Garden, Wayne
By far one of the most beautiful gardens in the world, Chanticleer is a stunning “great garden” reminiscent of that timeless Austen-style romance. Visit the Teacup Garden, Chanticleer Terraces, the Ruin, and the shady Bell’s Woodland. There’s an incredible amount of flowers and trees to see, all kept by seven horticulturists.