Skip to content
1927 Map of the Arboretum

Family Activities

A teacher and student examine insects

As part of our coronavirus (COVID-19) response, the Hunnewell Building and Visitor Center at 125 Arborway are closed to the public until further notice. Consequently, some of our family activity offerings are unavailable.The Arboretum landscape remains open to the public.

The Arnold Arboretum is a free, safe environment to experience the wonder of nature with children. Remember to maintain social distancing of six-to-ten feet and wear a mask. Explore the Arboretum with a variety of self-guided family activities. Sign up to receive family event notices.

Wonder Spots

Wonder Spots give Arboretum families an opportunity to explore the landscape through weekly 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. Wonder Spots debut on June 25 and will continue through August 27.

Everyday Nature Tasks: Simple Activities for Outdoor Fun and Learning

Nature can be a powerful antidote to all the uncertainty and disruptions that we find ourselves living in at the moment. To help with disrupted schooling, we have put together daily nature tasks that are simple, varied, and open-ended enough that children of all ages can participate at their own levels. Share this page and share your discoveries on social media using the hashtags #GetOutside, #EverydayNatureTasks, and #OutdoorLearning. Get outside every day and let the healing power of the natural world work its magic!

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.

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!

Tree of the Month

July’s Tree of the Month is the Asian smoketree (Cotinus coggygria). Smoketrees are attractive and attract attention for months, due to the delicate filaments that surround the tiny black seeds. The filaments appear in large puffs that do look amazingly like smoke. The Arboretum holds both the Asian species (C. coggygria) and our native species (C. obovatus), along with a number of beautiful cultivars. If you are visiting, use your phone and search on ArbExplorer to locate the 25 smoketrees that are part of our living collections.

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.

Arboretum Interpreters

Arboretum Interpreters will return to the landscape when it is safe to do so. These friendly and enthusiastic volunteers help you find your way to Arboretum destinations, tell stories about fascinating plants, and highlight the Arboretum’s work as a research institution and living museum.