With Norristown being a heavily populated urban area, most would not expect a large State Park to lie close by. However, the 690 acre Norristown Farm Park is located in close proximity to Norristown, just off of North Wales Road directly north of the city. The highlight of this unique park is the working farm that has been in continuous operation since colonial times. In fact, of the entire park, 80% is dedicated to growing crops.
If you are one of the many people that work in the urbanized Philadelphia region and feel the need for fresh air and a more natural setting, this may be your best option. What the city is lacking, Norristown Farm Park has: 71 species of wildlife (including fish, reptiles, and amphibians), 173 species of birds, 89 species of plants, and 216 species of wildflowers. Also, the park offers a wide variety of terrain for visitors to explore including forests, a flood plain, working farm fields, wetlands, and two streams.
If you are considering visiting Norristown Farm Park, below are a few of the activities anyone can do for free:
Hiking/Biking: 8 miles of trails winding through the park provide enough fresh scenery to keep any visitor occupied for at least half a day. The trails are also an excellent place to bicycle or rollerblade as the majority of them are paved.
Learn The History: The area now called Norristown Farm Park has quite an interesting history dating back to the times of the American Indian. In 1704, the land was sold by William Penn, Jr. to Issac Norris, the historical figure Norristown is now named after. Over time, buildings were erected on the land, of which 15 still stand today around the park. Another interesting part of the park’s history is that until 1975, patients of the Norristown State Hospital tended to the farm and its animals to aid in their treatment. Times have sure changed huh?
Fishing: Visitors to the park have 3 options to choose from if looking to fish. For bass or sun-fish, we’d recommend trying out Farm Pond. For all the trout anglers, your best bet would be either Stony Creek or Kepner Creek, both of which are stocked. If over the age of 16, remember to obtain a fishing license and trout stamp through the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Bird Watching: Over 170 different species of birds have been spotted at Norristown Farm Park, impressive! To catch a glimpse of some of the rarer ones, experts suggest watching from the Farm Pond area. The PA Department of Conservation states “Its remote location makes the site a bird watchers’ paradise. This tranquil setting features a viewing blind built in 2004 by a local Boy Scout and his troop as an Eagle Scout project.”
*For more information on Norristown Farm Park please visit the official website.