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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.

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

Oaks are very special at the Arnold Arboretum, they even have a path named after them on the south slope of Bussey Hill. While certainly known for their fruit (acorns), another trait is interesting at this time of year. Their leaves are usually marcescent, which means that they wither but remain on the branches into winter. Many oak leaves also turn brown because of the tannins in them. As you walk through the Arboretum look for trees with leaves still hanging on. If you are visiting, use your phone and search on ArbExplorer to locate the 1038 oaks in our landscape.

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.

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.