Facilities and Grounds
What is there to see and do at Briar Bush?
Briar Bush is a rich oasis in the middle of suburban Abington. Our 12.5 acres feature over a mile of trails winding through a mixed deciduous/coniferous forest. Inside the Museum and out on the trails, nature can be found at any time of the year.
Dede Long Nature Museum
Inside the museum, natural history murals, taxidermy and artifacts, touch tables, live animals and changing interactive exhibits enable visitors of all ages to make new discoveries. The Discovery Den is a perfect place for small children and their parents to play and the Reading Hollow has dozens of books for kids of all ages.
Our trails are open every day from dawn to dusk. Over a mile of trails wind their way through Briar Bush's 12.5 acres of land. They are lined with thick logs and mulched for easy walking. Benches along the trails provide places to take a break and listen to the peaceful sounds of nature all around you.
Butterfly House (Seasonal: May-July)
Thanks to generous funding from the Asplundh Foundation, Abington Township, Friends of Briar Bush and Think Green LLC, the Briar Bush Butterfly House opened in June 2009. Step inside to view the complete life cycle of Painted Lady and Monarch butterflies and learn about their fascinating body structure. Check out the butterfly house all year long-we will be adding new seasonal exhibits in the space.
Griscom Bird Observatory
Standing on the site of the original home of Florence and Everett Griscom, this cozy cottage remains a peaceful place to relax and view nature. Take a seat in one of our comfortable rocking chairs or benches which look out onto a complete bird habitat. A large diorama displays animal activity throughout the seasons. There is a handicap accessible bathroom. Keep an eye on this space: In 2015 Briar Bush received an IMLS grant to plan new exhibits for the bird observatory.
The word playscape is a combination of the words play and landscape. The idea is that the environment in and of itself has an extremely high play value. Our Nature Playscape takes components in our environment that naturally hone physical skills (like balancing logs, tree stumps and boulders) and organizes them into a reliable, low cost and experiential "play area" aimed at the developmental needs of children. The Playscape is open every day from dawn to dusk. Parent supervision is recommended.
In order to provide vital fresh water to the plants and animals living at Briar Bush, a pond was built in the late 1970's using Abington Township funds. Thanks to grants from PECO, Toll brothers, the ERM Foundation and individual donors, the pond underwent renovations from 2013-2015, during which it was drained and re-lined, and had a new pump system installed. Jenkinstown Lyceum donated funds to provide the new signage depicting life in the pond during all seasons. The pond is an ecosystem within itself, supporting a variety of plant and animal species.
Briar Bush Plants
Briar Bush is home to a variety of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. Click here for a growing list of plants.