Minnesota Landscape Arboretum: Garden Getaway
A garden oasis close to the city, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s 1,000 acres of gardens and forests are a year round escape.
The Arboretum was founded in 1958 by the University of Minnesota, Minnesota State Horticultural Society and the Lake Minnetonka Garden Club, as a place to research plants suitable for Minnesota’s cold climate. Today, cold-hardy plant varieties are a highlight of the more than 5,000 plant species.
Among the Arboretum’s 32 gardens are an Annual Garden, Dahlia Trail Garden, Fern Walk, Hedge Collection, Japanese Garden, and Rose Gardens. Several native areas, including a prairie and bog, also surround the gardens. The Maze Garden is a family favorite, featuring 1,600 shrubs aligned in a maze, with colorful panels marking dead ends, and tunnels at entrances and exits. Throughout the grounds, stroll more than 12.5 miles of paths and hiking trails. Gardens can also be enjoyed by car or bike on the Three-Mile Drive tour.
After a tour, stop at the Oswald Visitors Center’s restaurant, serving soups, salads, sandwiches and daily hot food items. The center also offers speakers, exhibits, workshops and educational events. Be sure to check the calendar class times, fees and registration. Nearby, the Arboretum’s Apple House is a popular fall destination to buy fresh apples and other locally made goods.
After you visit the Arboretum once, it will be hard to stay away long. Come back each season to enjoy the changing colors, from the blooms of spring to the brilliant fall leaves – or snowshoe through the quiet snow covered trails in the winter.
If You Go:
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is open year round, 363 days a year. It only closes for Thanksgiving and Christmas day. It’s open each day at 8 a.m. until either 8 p.m. or sunset, whichever comes first. Entrance fees are required for non-member adults and free for children and University of Minnesota students with a student ID.
If you plan to come several times a year, consider an individual or couples membership, which will give you free admittance to the Arboretum, and discounts on classes, the gift store and the fall Apple House. Members also receive restaurant coupons.
While You’re There:
The Arboretum is just west of the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre. If you’re planning an evening at the theatre, make a day of it and stroll the grounds prior to your show.
The Arboretum is located in Chaska. Take Hwy 494 west to Hwy 5, which becomes Arboretum drive, and watch for the signs.
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