Norristown Farm Park is a one-of-a-kind resource, run as a park by Montgomery County but like no other park in the system, or perhaps anywhere.
Historically, the farm was part of the Norristown State Hospital, providing occupational therapy and sustenance for the patients there. It's still an operating farm, though, with the arable land used for corn or soybeans, which subsidizes the park's operations.
Among the crops, the park offers paved and unpaved trails, meadows, streams, woods, and wildlife, all available to the public. The park is only lightly developed, but you will be able to find a few benches and picnic facilities here and there.
This visitor guide is to introduce you to the park, and to give you an idea why it's worth it to make the park a regular destination for you and your family. It will tell you about things you can do there, show you what you'll see as you walk around, and give you some logistical information. Explore this guide, and then go and explore the park!
Norristown Farm Park is surprisingly big! You can literally walk for miles without retracing your steps.
The park has many paved roads and paths, as well as unpaved trails, to enjoy. Biking is allowed on the paved roads, and on some of the trails through the woods.
You can drive to the park (parking lots off Germantown Pike and Whitehall Road), or walk or bike in via these entrances or via Stanbridge Street in Norristown, the State Hospital grounds off Sterigere Street, or the East Norriton Park complex on Stanbridge Street.
Here is a nice map of the park, including the trails, paths, parking, and other facilities. Challenge: identify trails added after this map was prepared.
Keep an eye out for wildlife! NFP has a large deer population, and even has coyotes and foxes, though they are shy and you will have to be stealthy and observant to see them.
You will see birdhouses in many locations. These are bluebird houses that are part of a nationwide initiative to repopulate bluebirds across the country. Watch for the bluebirds that inhabit them.
Fishing for trout in the park’s creeks is popular, and made possible through the efforts of the Stony Creek Anglers, who run a trout nursery on site and stock the creeks.
Plan on staying for a couple of hours, unless you’ve rented the pavilion for a large family event or you’re a patient trout fisherman. A trip to NFP is not really a full-day affair.
NFP has only a few picnic tables and grills outside of the pavilion area. If you are coming to picnic, make sure you have a blanket and some cooked foods!
The park is open year-round, and each season offers its own distinct attractions: Spring has trees and wildflowers blossoming, Summer has lush greenery and lazy afternoons, Autumn has vivid colors, and Winter has crisp, bright sunlit days.
NFP closes at dusk. The exact time changes as the seasons pass, but is posted near each parking area. Don’t let your car get locked in when they close the gates.
Park rangers patrol the park regularly.
Other web pages dedicated to Norristown Farm Park:
Local historian Rev. Judith A. Meier researched the history of the land that was to become the Norristown Farm Park. Before it was the farm associated with Norristown State Hospital, it was a collection of local estates, mainly farms but with some industrial facilities such as mills, dating back to the early 1700s.
Here are just some of the things you can do here:
Take a walk on miles of paved roads or unpaved trails.
Or run on them if you are in a hurry.
The paved roads are also great for skating...
... and skateboarding! (no real skate park here, though.)
Bring the kids for a little outdoor exercise.
The whole park, fields and all, is yours in the winter.
Rover will have a great time at the park.
Landscapes, animals, and plants are everywhere you look.
Dozens of species live in the park; see how many you can spot.
Stocked trout streams await the patient fly angler.
Bring victuals and enjoy a meal in the peaceful outdoors.
Or just find a bench and sit a spell.
Most important, though: Simply come and enjoy the park!
Here are the next three upcoming events at the Park. The complete schedule can be found on the county's Norristown Farm Park page here).
All programs are limited space, and pre-registration is required. For times, meeting locations and registration, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note that programs may be canceled at any time; you will be notified if you are registered.
Masks and social distancing will be required.
Check out the Farm Park's Environmental Education page on Facebook!
Want to see what the park is like before committing to a visit? Here are some photo galleries to show you what you are missing.
But don't let these pictures substitute for an in-person visit!
Nature is abundant in the Farm Park, and over the years the FPPA's newsletter, The Park Enthusiast, has explored many of the animals and plants that you may come across during your visit.
Come to the park and see for yourself!