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1927 Map of the Arboretum

Visitor Tips and Guidelines

Groups and individuals using the Arboretum should be aware of the following rules:

  • Picking or destroying plant material is strictly prohibited.
  • Climbing trees is not allowed nor is walking in plant beds or mulched areas.
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times. Owners are responsible for removal and disposal of their dogs’ wastes.
  • Motor vehicles are not allowed without a special permit for individuals with mobility issues (contact the Visitor Center at 617.384.5209 for more information).
  • Picnicking, fires, and barbecues are prohibited.
  • Organized group sports and commercial film crews are prohibited.
  • Bicycles are permitted only on paved paths. A bike rack is available just inside the Arborway Gate.
  • Smoking is prohibited on the property.

Parking

Beginning Friday, April 10, the City of Boston and Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be reducing public parking along the perimeter of the Arnold Arboretum to marked, handicap parking only.

The grounds are closed to vehicular traffic except by permit for special-needs individuals. All paved roads of the Arnold Arboretum are accessible to strollers and wheelchairs. The two highest elevations within the Arboretum are Bussey Hill (198′) and Peters Hill (240′). A wheelchair (first-come, first-served) is available for loan; bring your driver’s license to the Hunnewell Visitor Center during regular hours.

Weddings, Memorial Services,
and other Group Activities

The general public is free to conduct small wedding ceremonies, other group activities, or have their wedding photographs taken on the Arboretum grounds. ALL EVENTS ARE LIMITED TO 40 PEOPLE, and we do not reserve or schedule specific locations.

We do appreciate being informed about event plans. Please call 617.384.5209 or email to inform us of the date, time, and intended location of your ceremony as well as a contact person and phone number.

The Arnold Arboretum offers a unique, beautiful, and safe environment. Please help us keep it that way. There is no fee for group events but donations are welcome. Donations may be made by check made out to the Arnold Arboretum or by cash in person in the Hunnewell Visitor Center.

Memorial services: The policy of the Boston Parks Department, which reflects the General Laws of Massachusetts, is that the spreading of ashes is not allowed in the parks. Since the Arboretum is a public park of the City of Boston, we must comply with their regulations.

In addition to the general rules, the following restrictions apply to group events, ceremonies, and photography:

  • Vehicles are not allowed within the Arboretum gates or anywhere on the grounds; guests must walk to the ceremony; vehicles must be parked outside the Arboretum gates.
  • Food and drink are not allowed on the Arboretum grounds, nor can the Arboretum provide indoor facilities; wedding receptions must be held elsewhere.
  • Any trash generated must be removed prior to your departure.
  • Furniture is not allowed on the Arboretum grounds.
  • No event or directional signs are allowed. We suggest that you specify the exact location in the invitations and place an attendant at the nearest gate to guide your guests. Download a map.
  • The ceremony must have no impact on the Arboretum grounds or plants.
  • Areas cannot be roped off, and other visitors to the Arboretum cannot be prevented from entering the area of the ceremony.

Food and Dining

While the Arboretum does not serve food, it is located close to many restaurants and retail food businesses in Jamaica Plain (zip code 02130), Roslindale Village (zip code 02131), and West Roxbury (zip code 02132). Stop by the Hunnewell Visitor Center for maps of local eateries. We would be pleased to help you explore nearby neighborhoods for a true taste of Boston!

The Arnold Arboretum welcomes visitors but must also protect its world-class collection of plants and historic landscape. Picnicking on the grounds is not permitted, and barbeques are prohibited.

Preventing Ticks on People & Pets

Diagram with tick species

Experts predict that natural areas and parks like the Arboretum may host larger than usual tick populations this year. This problem stems from a variety of environmental factors, which have been compounded by a mild winter. Here are some tips to protect yourself:

  • Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
  • Walk in the center of paths.
  • Wear long pants, long socks, and close-toed shoes if you plan on going off the road or paths.
  • Consider pretreating clothing and shoes with an insect repellant containing Permethrin and/or using an insect repellant on your skin containing DEET.
  • When you get home, conduct a full-body tick check on yourself, children, and pets. If a tick is discovered, collect the tick for potential testing (to determine if the tick is a carrier of the organism that causes Lyme disease), and consult your doctor immediately.

Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and tickborne diseases. Keep your dog on a leash.

More Information:

Learn more about ticks from the University of Rhode Island TickEncounter Resource Center.

Read about the science behind the increased tick population.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidelines for preventing tick bites.