Itinerary: Horticulture, Zoology + Marine Biology

Longwood Gardens, above, is just one of the many scientific opportunities in the region.


Philadelphia is the country’s sixth largest city, but there’s plenty of nature to go around also. With first-rate aquariums and zoos, there are always enough animals to liven up a trip to Philadelphia.

  • The Academy of Natural Sciences: A trip to Philadelphia isn’t the same without a visit to the city’s natural history museum. Check out old fossils and impressive exhibits documenting rare treasures from the earth’s past.
  • Adventure Aquarium: Discover the sights and sounds of the marine and animal world including sharks, stingrays, hippos, seals and more. The aquarium also features a new 4D theater with special effects.
  • Japanese House and Gardens: One of Philadelphia’s more unique attractions is the Japanese House and Gardens, a 16th-century structure that replicates an authentic and peaceful Japanese home and tea garden.
  • Longwood Gardens: Expand knowledge of botany at this premier horticultural display garden offering 1,050 acres of formal gardens, fountains, meadows, woodlands and nearly four acres of heated greenhouses.
  • Philadelphia Zoo: Go on a safari at America’s first zoo, home to more than 1,600 animals including 10 primate species at the PECO Primate Reserve.
  • Fairmount Park: As the nation’s largest urban park, Fairmount Park serves as the scenic surrounding to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is home to America’s first zoo, and offers multiple picnic grounds for an entire city. Exploring the lawns and winding streets will lead you to a handful of spectacular house museums, statues, and a Japanese teahouse.
  • The Morris Arboretum of The University of Pennsylvania: Every nook and cranny of this 92-acre horticulture display garden holds a special secret. Wander the winding paths to discover a spectacular collection of rare and unusual trees. Follow your nose to the formal rose garden. Make sure your camera is ready to snap pictures of the swan pond, fernery, and thousands of blooming plants.
  • The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education: Why just look at nature when you can be part of it? Interactive programs at the Discovery Center Museum, seasonal Butterfly house, or Environmental Art gallery put you right in the middle of nature’s magic. Day and evening programs are available.
  • Wagner Free Institute of Science: Get some historical perspective at this museum, chock full of interesting items like fossils, rocks and minerals, as well as plenty of other natural history specimens.

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