Philadelphia may be known for its rich history and bustling city life, but it also has a diverse range of wildlife that can be observed in various locations around the city.
From birds to mammals, there is no shortage of opportunities to see these creatures up close and personal.
Whether you are a local or a visitor, taking the time to explore the natural beauty of Philadelphia can be a rewarding experience.
Many of the city's parks and recreation areas offer opportunities to observe wildlife in their natural habitats. It's a chance to see animals that you may not typically come across in your daily life.
One of the most exciting aspects of wildlife watching in Philadelphia is the unpredictability of what you may see.
You could come across a majestic bald eagle soaring through the sky or a family of deer grazing in a nearby meadow. The thrill of spotting these creatures can be a thrilling experience for nature enthusiasts of all ages.
In this blog post, we will be highlighting some of the best spots to see wildlife in Philadelphia.
Whether you are a seasoned wildlife watcher or just starting, we hope to provide you with some inspiration for your next adventure. So, grab your binoculars and get ready to explore the natural wonders of Philadelphia.
1. Morris Arboretum & Gardens
Morris Arboretum & Gardens is a beautiful spot to see a variety of plants and trees on an old estate. It is a popular destination for nature-lovers who enjoy strolling along well-maintained paths and admiring the collection of flora.
The arboretum features a Zen garden, a treehouse, and a pond with swans and geese, among other attractions.
Visitors can also explore the fernery greenhouse and the miniature railroad display. The knowledgeable docents are always available to answer any questions and provide educational insights.
Morris Arboretum & Gardens is a must-visit spot for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some peace and tranquility surrounded by nature.
2. Schuylkill Banks
Schuylkill Banks is a riverside park that offers a peaceful refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The park features a well-maintained jogging/biking trail that runs along the river, providing stunning skyline views. Visitors can spot wildlife such as fish, birds, and occasionally even turtles.
The park has benches and shaded areas for rest and relaxation. It's a great spot to escape for a quick outdoor break or to spend a leisurely afternoon.
The park's compost restrooms are a great example of its responsible and forward-thinking approach to sustainability.
3. Independence National Historical Park
Independence National Historical Park is not just a place to learn about American history, but also a spot to see some wildlife.
The park is home to a variety of birds, including the American goldfinch, red-tailed hawk, and eastern bluebird. Visitors can also spot squirrels and chipmunks scurrying around.
The park's green spaces provide a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city, and a chance to connect with nature.
Whether you're a history buff or a nature lover, Independence National Historical Park is a must-visit destination.
4. John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum
If you're looking for a beautiful and serene spot to see wildlife, look no further than this hidden gem.
With hiking trails and boardwalks that offer stunning views of the wetlands, you'll have the opportunity to see a diverse range of flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for nesting bald eagles, herons, turtles, and more.
The visitor center is also worth a visit, with educational displays that showcase the importance of preserving this unique ecosystem.
Don't forget to wear sturdy shoes and bring bug spray, as the trails can be muddy and tick-infested. All in all, this wildlife refuge is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and anyone looking for a peaceful escape from the city.
5. Pastorius Park
If you're looking for a peaceful spot to observe wildlife, check out Pastorius Park.
The park is well-shaded with beautiful trees and a small pond in the middle. It's a great place for a picnic or a quiet outdoor date.
The park is welcoming to families and leashed animals, although some people do disregard the leash laws.
Despite this, it's a lovely medium-sized park with a lot of nature to see.
6. Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
Looking for a place to escape the city and see some wildlife up close and personal, then Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education is the perfect spot.
With abundant wildlife and well-maintained trails, this nature preserve is a welcome refuge for nature lovers.
The center offers a range of activities, from preschool classes to plant sales, and farm plots to easy hiking. The knowledgeable team at the wildlife clinic is also a credit to the mission of the center.
It's a great place to take the kids for a nature day, but remember, no dog walking is allowed on trails to preserve the natural order of… nature.
7. Andorra Natural Area
Andorra Natural Area is a great spot for families to see wildlife. The trails are easy and the terrain is varied.
Visitors can see many different types of birds, especially at the "treehouse" during dusk.
There are educational programs and information available for those who are interested. The park is also popular with dog owners.
Even though there are no spectacular views, it's still a beautiful and peaceful place to visit.
8. Girard Fountain Park
Girard Fountain Park is a hidden gem for wildlife enthusiasts. This quaint park offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city and is home to a variety of birds and small animals.
Visitors can spot squirrels, chipmunks, and even the occasional deer.
The park's centerpiece, the Ben Franklin "key" bust, is a unique addition to the natural surroundings. Don't forget to admire the fire department mural on your way out.
If you're looking for a peaceful spot to observe wildlife, Girard Fountain Park is the perfect destination.
9. Upper Roxborough Reservoir Preserve
If you're a nature lover and want to see some wildlife, Upper Roxborough Reservoir Preserve is a great spot to visit. This nature preserve is maintained by volunteers, and it's a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
You can enjoy a leisurely walk or take your dog for a stroll while taking in the beautiful views of the Centre City Skyline.
Although it's best to visit early in the morning, you should avoid going alone. There's always a chance of encountering some wildlife, so it's better to be safe than sorry.
The area is clean and safe, making it a great tourist attraction for those who want to see God's handiwork up close.
10. Fairmount Fish Ladder
Fairmount Fish Ladder is a must-visit spot for nature enthusiasts. This place offers a unique blend of industry and ecology that is hard to find elsewhere.
Apart from the breathtaking views of the Philadelphia Art Museum, Waterworks, and Boathouse Row, visitors can witness a wide variety of wildlife in their natural habitat.
However, one should note that the road leading to this spot can sometimes be closed, and there is no parking available. So, it's best to explore this area on foot.
In short, if you're looking for a serene and picturesque spot to see wildlife, Fairmount Fish Ladder is the perfect place for you.
11. Liberty Lands
Liberty Lands is a two-acre park with a community garden, playground, and other amenities. This public park is a great spot for wildlife enthusiasts, as it offers plenty of open space and natural surroundings.
Visitors can enjoy watching birds and other small animals, as well as take a stroll through the community garden.
The playground is perfect for families with young children, and there are plenty of picnic tables and benches for visitors to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Whether you're a local or just passing through, Liberty Lands is definitely worth a visit for those looking to experience a bit of nature in the heart of the city.
12. Big Cat Falls
Big Cat Falls is a must-visit spot for wildlife enthusiasts. The exhibit features a unique Big Cat Crossing where visitors can see the cats walking above them.
The trail to spot the cats is lovely, and visitors can learn a lot about big cats from the informative presentations.
The addition of Zoo360 has made the exhibit even more exciting, with leopards often hanging out just above the visitors' heads.
The tigers are always ready to steal the show, especially in the early morning. Big Cat Falls is a fantastic tourist attraction for animal lovers and those interested in big cats.
13. Manayunk Canal
Manayunk Canal is a charming spot to experience wildlife in its natural habitat.
Visitors can walk, jog, or bike along the canal path while observing various species of birds, turtles, fish, and even beavers.
The trail is flat, paved, and less than 2 miles each way. Although bikers can be a bit overwhelming during busy hours, the path is generally peaceful and scenic.
It's an ideal location for those who want to unwind and appreciate the beauty of nature.
14. Benjamin Rush State Park
Benjamin Rush State Park is a great spot for nature lovers to see wildlife. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful walk while observing deers, butterflies, groundhogs, and ladybugs.
The park offers nice flat trails that are perfect for hiking, biking, and bird watching. Although chances of encountering wildlife are low, visitors can still enjoy the beautiful scenery and natural environment.
The park also features community gardens and a radio-controlled aircraft field, making it a great place for families to spend a day outdoors.
With clean and well-maintained facilities, Benjamin Rush State Park is definitely worth a visit for anyone who enjoys nature and outdoor activities.
15. Tacony Creek Park
Tacony Creek Park is a 302-acre watershed preserve that offers stunning views of native trees, wildflowers, and creeks.
It's a great place to see a variety of wildlife, including deer, ducks, hawks, and geese.
The park has well-maintained walking trails, paved paths for biking, and areas for fishing.
Though the park could use better signage and maintenance, it's a wonderful spot to escape city life and enjoy nature.