PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This Germantown gem has urban farmland, kid-friendly hiding places, and a little secret: Awbury Arboretum.
“Pulled into this driveway, swervy long driveway, and absolutely stunning,” said Meisha Johnson, who called it “a hidden little oasis.”
“So we’re here at the Francis Cope House at Awbury Arboretum,” said Branda O’Neil, the administrative and facilities manager. “They donated the property to the public in 1916 so we’re 101 years old as a open and green public space.”
Awbury Arboretum packs a lot in 55 acres. Heather Zimmerman showed me the pollinator garden.
“The Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild has over a million bees in those boxes over there,” Heather said. (But don’t worry. They’re not out all at once.)
Awbury’s trees turn into a brilliant display in fall. The landscape is a favorite spot for wedding rentals and more casual sit-down affairs. We found India Young and toddler Landon Burke at a picnic table snacking on fruit.
“We were looking for a place where we could be in nature and have a picnic,” she said.
Awbury Arboretum also has farmland for amateurs and pros.
“We have some community gardens. Our teens have some farm space, a lot of urban agriculture,” Branda said.
“Our learning center is in the middle of an arboretum, so we get to admire all the plants and the animals,” said student Jordan Gershman.
“They also raise turkeys and chickens. and they sell vegetables,” said Heather. “If you want to explore and chat with the chickens, you can do that.”
Meisha queried one curious chicken. “So should we hang out like this, maybe once a week, you and I?”
On September 24, a new play space will open inside The Secret Garden.
“It’s walled and locked,” Heather explained. “You have to come get the key. It’s a very special place. We have a new natural playground. Step on logs, and there’s teepees built out of tree limbs, and they can build their own forts and shelters.”
Heather marveled how close she is to the city. “You can walk two blocks and you’re in the thick of traffic and homes, and then five minutes later, it’s absolutely quiet,” she said. “I can hear the crickets and cicadas and birds.”
Meisha said, “365 days a year, any day, you can walk in for free and just enjoy 55 acres of this kind of beauty.”
Awbury Arboretum is at The Francis Cope House, One Awbury Road, Philadelphia, PA 19138.
For more information, go here.