The sky was blue, the flowers were blooming. It was a perfect day to visit the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. We arrived first thing in the morning; early enough to beat the crowds and the full blaze of the sun. We had heard that the Arboretum was a beautiful spot and so we were looking forward to our first visit, but to say that we were impressed by what we found would be an understatement.
The grounds are absolutely breathtaking, and so much larger than I had expected. With over 1,000 magnificent acres to explore we could have enjoyed being lost there for days. The variety of plants is astounding, but that’s not all they offer. To give you an idea of what you’ll find, here’s a partial list of some of our favorite spots we discovered:
- Rose Garden
- Herb Garden
- Azalea Garden
- Hosta Glade
- Japanese Garden with Koi Fish Pond
- Sculpture Garden – One of the best I’ve seen in the state
- Maze Gardens/Labyrinth
- Natural Playground –Stick huts, logs and such. Kids love it!
- Air Conditioned Children Learning Center
- Arboretum Café
- Scenic 3 Mile Drive
- Solar Powered Tram Rides
- Additionally, they offer a variety of classes and family programs such as story times and yoga in the garden
Click here for the full Arboretum Visitor Map
This year they’re exhibiting “Nature Connects: Art with Lego Bricks”- Featuring 26 large-scale, nature-inspired LEGO sculptures arranged in 13 displays and created by renowned artist Sean Kennedy, and placed throughout the grounds.
A few things to know going in..
- If you have little ones, bring a stroller because there’s going to be a lot of walking
- If it gets too hot then make a pit stop in the Visitor or Learning Center where there are loads of buttons to push and nooks to find.
- Don’t miss the Learning Center even if it is a nice day outside. We went on the weekend and they had art & craft activities going on. We made leaf prints that are still hanging on our fridge. They also have a plant-looking play area, trivia, a sensory seed table, and a greenhouse where you can grab a water bottle and spray all the plants (including a banana tree).
- Come hungry. The food in the Arboretum Café was amazing. Homemade soups, salads, fresh bakery and fruit and all Certified Green. Indoor & Outdoor seating available.
- If you happen to get a particularly irritating bug bite or bee sting, stop by the front desk in the visitor center for some bug bite ointment. I’m not sure what it was, but it came in a little vile and my 3 year old daughter talked about it for the next week!
We spent about 4 hours there, but easily could’ve spent another 4 and not covered everything this Minnesota gem has to offer.
Visitors age 13 & up: $12*
Children 12 & Under: Free admission
Members: Free admission year-round; children up to age 12 accompanying members in vehicle are free
University of Minnesota Students: Free
Free Thursdays all day: November through March
Free every third Thursday of the month after 4:30 pm: April through October
sKIDaddlers was started by 2 local Minnesota moms with a love for traveling and a knack for research. Learn more about us and what you can find on our site here.