Have a green thumb? How about an artistic eye? Maybe you just want to take a stroll through a rambling park and enjoy nature. Whatever the case, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has a little something for everyone who enjoys the outdoors.
The arboretum spans 1,100 acres, and includes various gardens, tree collections, prairie and forested areas. Founded almost 60 years ago by the University of Minnesota Horticultural Research Center, the non-profit arboretum has since served as a place for gardening enthusiasts, artists, and nature lovers.
For me, the arboretum has been the destination of a once, sometimes twice, a year trip to enjoy the flora and fauna of the seasons. Spring and summer put on good shows with more than 5,000 plant species and varieties in every imaginable color, but autumn might be my favorite. Not as many flowers are in bloom, but the colors are spectacular. Especially on the Three-Mile Drive in the maple collection, where the maples form a veritable golden dome over the road. Rest assured, I will be marking my calendar for the best time to make a trip for the fall colors.
As for the rest of the arboretum, the walking paths, as well as an abundance of wooden park benches, throughout the gardens allow for an easy stroll and ample sit-and-relax opportunities. The Three-Mile Drive takes you on a winding journey through the different tree and shrub collections. Small parking lots along the way invite you to stop and get out and admire the collections on foot. Little signs announce the names of every tree, plant, and flower—a learning opportunity for non-horticulturists like me. And in addition to the nature attractions, the arboretum also has a restaurant and visitor center, and regular classes, programs, and events are held throughout the year.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska
Admission: $12 ages 13 and older