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?