Monday, August 13, 2012

Morris Arboretum

Click on the pictures for a larger view

Bathrooms: Yes, some with changing tables
Eating area: Yes, Compton Cafe on site, and vending machines, 
Attractions: 92 acres of lush gardens and sculptures, Out on a limb tree canopy walk, miniature village and Garden Railway, various historical buildings, and refreshing fountains
Around the Area: Quaint town of Chesnut Hill and Wissahickon Valley Park (Forbidden Drive)
Fee: Kids under 3: Free, Kids 3-17: $7.00, Adults: $16.00
 Or get FREE passes for the whole family with your Library Card with their Museum Pass Program

The kids and I took advantage of this gorgeous summer day to check out the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania.  We scored FREE passes for 2 adults and 4 children for FOUR days by checking out the passes through our local library's Museum Pass program.  That is a savings of $184 for our family!! I LOVE the Museum Pass!  

We were most excited to explore the "Out on a Limb" exhibit and to climb 50 feet above the ground into the trees! The kids had a great time pretending to be birds sitting on the eggs, and  jumping on the rope netting and seeing how far they were from the forest floor! The kids also had a great time putting the huge megaphones on their ears to listen to the sounds of the forest! 

Our next stop was to see the miniature Garden railway exhibit. This seasonal exhibit features renditions of storybook and historic buildings made of natural materials set in the garden complete with naturally made tunnels and overhead trestles.  The kids had a blast following all the trains and watching them appear over their heads,  moving under trees, and crossing over small waterways.  Of course...there is a Thomas train for fans! 

Our next favorite stop was the Log Cabin.  This exhibit provides some much needed cool shade, a refreshing dip in the stream and a splash of water from a old fashioned water pump! Parents will find some much needed R&R on the chairs while the kids tidy up the cabin, play school, build with Lincoln logs, or splash around and explore the stream! The kids LOVED this historic building.

Throughout the arboretum you will discover various species of trees and flowers, interesting works of art and sculpture, cool insects, and refreshing fountains and streams! 

  • Check the weather before planning your trip.  It's all outdoors!
  • Check the event calendar for lots of fun activities!
  • Wear comfortable shoes, there is a lot of walking!
  • Strollers and wheelchairs are fine! Most of the walkways are paved.
  • Visit the Visitors Center and get your "passport".  The kids get them stamped at various exhibits. The passport also has great educational information and activities related to the exhibits. Also, pick up some Family Fun cards for extension activities!
  • If you kids are anything like mine, you might need to dress them in bathing suit trunks!  Or at the very least bring a change of clothes and maybe some case someone gets wet!
  • Wear sunscreen!
  • Two words....insect repellent!
  • Pack snacks and lunches and eat at the dining behind behind the Visitors Center. There is a cafe on site and drinking and snack vending areas scattered throughout the arboretum if you are in a pinch.
  • Before or after your trip, head down to the quaint town of Chestnut Hill! The kids can eat and play at the Little Treehouse Cafe, and enjoy ice Cream from Brendenbecks! Bruno's is another great spot for food (right on the corner of Germantown Ave.and Northwestern Ave.) with easy access to  Wissahickon Valley Trail (Forbidden Drive). 

Have fun exploring The Morris Arboretum!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Imagination Kingdom Playground

Bathrooms: Yes
Eating area: YES (covered pavilion, and picnic tables)
Attractions: castle themed playground, baseball fields, 
Wheelchair Accessible Playground: Yes

Click on the pictures for a large image

The kids and I ventured out on one of the nicer, less humid summer days to Imagination Kingdom Playground and park located in Pemberton, NJ.  I can't believe this was our first time playing at this hidden gem! What an amazing playground for kids of all ages and abilities! The castle theme park is a favorite among my kids and from the expressions of oohs and ahhhs from the other youngsters, the theme had caught their attention too! 

So where do you begin? Every prince and princess should cross the bridge over the "blue waters" into the inner courtyard where their imaginations may lead them to climb a rock,scale the castle walls, or tackle the giant web thingy!! Whatever the kids decide to do, they will be busy for hours!

Whoever designed this playground understands kids and thought of everything. The large wheelchair accessible ramp and wide bridges allow for children of all abilities to be part of the fun and there is much to see at so many various heights!

There are sooo many places to climb and explore! But don't worry, the ground is covered by some sort of recycled material that is soft underfoot. It's gentle enough for little boys who don't like to wear shoes!

 You will  also find some really interesting equipment here that you may not have seen at other parks. We loved the musical section complete with bongo drums, and "Ring a bell" that you could actually ring with the musical notes provided instead of having to find a stick! The tire swing suspended from a giant catapult was cool, and the giant family sized see saw horse was great for young and older kids!

There is even a wonderful "tot" area that will challenge your little ones and keep them engaged! I loved the ABC and animal climb! 

This is a definite "destination playground"! This site is perfect for playdates, mom groups, birthday parties or for just a few hours of fun!  The whole playground was clean and well kept including the bathrooms that had a changing table! The  large covered pavilion is a great spot to seek shelter from the elements or  for lunch and snacks.  Bring a bat and ball or play some soccer in the fields just a few feet away. Most of the playground is in the sun...but there were some benches and tables in some cool shaded areas too. 

  My kiddos gave this playground two thumbs up and we think this "kingdom" is perfect for the little princes and princesses in your life! Check it out today!

Let your imaginations run wild!

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