Many people refer erroneously to Morris Arboretum as a ‘park’. In fact, Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is not a park; it is an arboretum which is a botanical garden specializing in trees.

Here are 5 differences between a park and arboreta/botanical garden:

  1. Parks are intended mostly for recreation vs. arboreta/botanical gardens which focus on Plant Science Research, Education, Conservation and Horticultural Display.
  2. Parks have functional landscapes and plantings such as playing fields and picnic groves, vs. arboreta/botanical gardens’ curated labeled living collections, interpreted exhibits, and managed habitat areas.
  3. Parks are typically publicly funded by taxes vs. arboreta/botanical gardens which are typically community supported by gifts, memberships and use fees.
  4. Parks encourage sports and dog walking vs. arboreta/botanical gardens where sports and pets are not permitted.
  5. Parks typically trend toward monoculture with little biodiversity (with exceptions for managed natural areas) vs. arboreta/botanical gardens, which are typically high in biodiversity.
So now you know the difference! Share your knowledge with friends.

Article contributed by Susan Crane, Director of Marketing, Morris Arboretum