1. Treehouses and Cool Places

Dr. Seuss wrote a book entitled “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” and you too can go to some wonderful places at Tyler Arboretum.

There’s the Crooked Goblin Shack (so much for drawing in the lines), Pollinator Preserve (butterflies, moths, and bees galore), Meadow Maze (can’t get lost and don’t miss the stone wall at its center), Cape May Birdhouse (made big enough for people to nest there), Fort Tyler (what a view!), the Imagination Station (it’s like walking inside a huge log), the Hobbit Hollow and …

Pick up a map or scan the QR code with your phone at the Visitor’s Center to find of all these things, and more!

The granddaddy of all treehouses: Fort Tyler.

3. The Pond

I never go to Tyler without stopping at the Pond.

In 2022, our pond was restored by removing 1,850 yards of sediment funded by five generous donors. While there, you can see four categories of aquatic plants such as emergent yellow iris, submerged coontail, floating duckweed, and rootless algae.

In the summertime look for green frogs and bullfrogs, and don’t forget to check for tadpoles and froglets. Be on the lookout for turtles too, such as the Eastern painted turtle, red-eared slider, and snapping turtle. You may also spot a northern water snake, and many insects such as water striders, dragonflies, and damselflies. Last, but not least there are many, many birds in and around the pond: mallards, Baltimore orioles (sorry, not the baseball team), black-capped chickadees, or blue herons.

In the late spring or early summer, mallard families can often be seen raising their families on the pond. This year was no different and on June 9, 2023, a mallard hen with 9 ducklings were spotted on the pond. Mama mallard used the purpose-built nesting tube to tend and protect her eggs.

Plan your own expedition to the pond (a guaranteed feast for your eyes and ears) or join a tour where you may even help gather water samples and look for macroinvertebrates.

This nesting tube was home to a mama mallard her babies.

5.  Gnome Scavenger Hunt

Each season brings a new challenge and a chance for visitors to experience the arboretum with all their senses.

Pick up a laminated sheet at the Visitor Center and follow the clues that lead to four seasonally dressed gnomes.

These colorful characters are named after various pieces of Tyler history: Hoopes – named for the nursery where the Painter brothers bought many of their unique trees; Cedric – in memory of our beloved Cedar of Lebanon tree;  Minshall – for the family who purchased the land from William Penn; and Wister – named after Tyler’s first Executive Director John Wister.

The toddler-sized gnomes were made by families at Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El in 2022, and every season a group of volunteers help plan where the gnomes will go next and how they’ll be dressed. Then they work together, gathering the materials needed for an exciting scavenger hunt.

Currently, the focus of the scavenger hunt is pollinators.  Each gnome’s clothing and accessories hint at butterflies, bees, bats, and bluebirds.  In addition to locating the gnomes, you’ll be asked to locate other items, like the scent of a fresh herb, a white flower, the sound of a bee buzzing, a circle of stones, an apple in a tree, a mushroom to sit on, a caterpillar made of logs, and an insect on leaf….  There’s so much to hear, see, smell and experience!

Don’t forget to check off each item you find.  When finished for the day, return to the Visitor Center, and show the work you have done, so you can receive a very cool sticker.

All dressed up for the latest scavenger hunt - will you find him?

Imagination Station - looks like a portal to another dimension.

2.  Lucille’s Garden

“Gardens and children need the same things – patience, love and someone who will never give up on them.” – Nicolette Sowder

Food is our lifeblood and it is vital for today’s children to know what it takes to grow food, so they may tend our planet into a sustainable and vibrant future.

In the garden, many of the fruits, vegetables, and herbs are labeled but, if not, feel free to ask the volunteers and staff who are always at work there.  You can also find a large succulent garden, raised beds, container and vertical gardens, companion plants, a rain garden (designed to manage stormwater) along with a special children’s garden just at the right height for easy viewing.  This is a good place to find some shade under the umbrellas and have lunch at the picnic tables. Fun playtime can be had on the log bridge and wind tunnel.  Amidst it all, don’t forget to locate and thank the pollinators who can be seen flying from flower to flower.

So much to see, smell and hear in Lucille's Garden.

4.  StoryWalk©

Five diverse, seasonal, and timely children’s books about nature are chosen each year by a selection committee comprised of Tyler volunteers.

The selected story is then laminated and placed in 17 stations beginning on the path by the Goblin Shack, then left into the Woodland Walk near the big Cape May Birdhouse, and ending at Lucille’s Garden.

The current book for StoryWalk©, Miss Maple’s  Seeds, tells of Miss Maple who collects seeds, keeps them safe through the winter, and then releases them to grow in the spring.  Each featured book can be found and purchased at the Visitor Center.

Look for the next book, which will be on display in mid-October. Each StoryWalk© provides a chance for children and their caregivers to share a nature-focused story, which we hope will generate some great questions and meaningful conversations.

Complete a StoryWalk© and then you will find out what John Muir meant when he wrote, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than one seeks.”

Let the little ones practice their reading skills with this charming story.




It’s Always the Right Time to Visit

As you think about what to do with your children or grandchildren, we hope you will consider spending time at Tyler enjoying the fresh air and open spaces, as well as trying out any or all the five activities listed above. It is never too early (or late) for children to experience nature and learn why it’s worth protecting.

Check out our calendar for a list of fun and engaging things to do, or consider becoming a member and enjoy unlimited visits all year long.