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1927 Map of the Arboretum

Family Activities

A teacher and student examine insects

The Arnold Arboretum is a free, safe environment to experience the wonder of nature with children. Explore the Arboretum with a variety of self-guided family activities. Sign up to receive family event notices.

2022 Tournament of Trees

In honor of our sesquicentennial, we curated 16 contenders that help tell our story. That is one plant per decade since 1872, including a species still under production in our greenhouses. Each tree chosen represents a milestone in the Arboretum’s history. Together, they bring to life stories of plant discovery, collection, and collaboration across time and space.

Wonder Spots

Wonder Spots give Arboretum families an opportunity to explore the landscape through seasonal investigations about the natural world. Learn about plants and animals in locations throughout the Arboretum, getting to know our grounds while discovering and observing living things in new ways.

Grid of Children's Book Covers


StoryWalks are a wonderful way for families to read and talk about nature in the Arboretum landscape. Walk from page to page, learning about seasons, plants, and animals from a children’s book.

Arboretum Haiku and You

Take a Haiku Hike then write your own haiku. Find out about haiku, and what you can do to submit your own haiku to be included on the Arboretum’s Haiku page. You may just be a poet and don’t know it!

Carya illinoinensis by Ned Friedman

Tree of the Month: Pecan

“The Pecan, with its tall straight trunk and great head of cheerful yellow-green foliage, is one of the most impressive trees of eastern North America,” Charles Sprague Sargent wrote in 1895. Like all hickories, the pecan fruit is not truly a nut but a drupe—a fruit with a single stone or pit, surrounded by a husk. Today pecans and other hickories comprise a national collection of the genus at the Arboretum, conserved in cooperation with the USDA.

View this printable guide in Spanish.

Photo Hunt

A new twist on the scavenger hunt. Grab your digital camera or cell phone camera and start the photo hunt! Caregivers can download the instruction guide plus maps for your kids.

Wildlife Bingo

The Arboretum is a great place to observe wildlife. Check out the wildlife image galleries, then print Wildlife Bingo cards and search for critters in the landscape. As you find each item on your bingo card, cross off the square. The first person to cross off four in a row, wins! Remember, please do not disturb plants or wildlife when you visit.

Discovery Packs

Discovery Packs are not currently available but will be available again once the Visitor Center re-opens. Check out the Arboretum’s free Discovery Packs, supported by a gift from the Arnold Arboretum Committee. Join the Explorer’s Club and go on an adventure in the Arboretum. Living Museum or Science Lab backpacks can be borrowed from the Visitor Center and are suitable for families with kids over the age of three.

Be an Engineer

Engineer backpacks are not currently available but will be available again once the Visitor Center re-opens. Check out the newest addition to the Visitor Center! This backpack is for the budding engineer. Let your imagination and creative mind guide your way as you build a creation with bamboo sticks and stick-lets. This backpack can be borrowed from the Visitor Center and is suitable for families with kids over the age of three.