Washington Park Arboretum holds a world class collection of woody plants that can be explored independently, as well as through tours, classes, and activities hosted at the site.
Add a loaner backpack to your independent exploration–filled with field guides, magnifiers and activities–and you’ve got the makings of a day of adventure that will intrigue kids of all ages.
About the Arboretum
All parts of the Washington Park Arboretum (except the Japanese Garden), are open to the public and are free of charge. The Arboretum has 230 acres of landscaped gardens, natural areas, and wetlands, plus a world-class collection of 10,000 trees, shrubs, and other plants—plenty of material for wide-eyed, hands-on learning.
All year round you’ll find something of interest along the trails that wind through the park:
In winter, visit the Joseph A. Witt Winter Garden to enjoy the fragrances of honeysuckle and witch hazel, and admire paperbark maples and birches. The Camellia Collection blooms throughout the winter months. And the Pinetum features the great diversity of conifer species. Over 200 species and 3,000 individual conifers are featured in the Arboretum.
In spring, walk along historic Azalea Way, a 3/4 mile path through the heart of the Arboretum lined with flowering cherries, azaleas and dogwoods. Loderi Valley features large-leaved, fragrant rhododendrons sheltered by magnolias.
In summer, explore the five eco-geographic regions of the Pacific Connections Garden. See stunning hydrangeas, magnolias, and sorrel trees.
In autumn, celebrate fall color with a stroll through the beautiful Woodland Garden to view one of the largest collections of Japanese maples in North America. Enjoy the vivid colors of sour gum, buckeye, witch hazel and more.
Before you get started, the Graham Visitors Center has maps, restrooms, and a gift shop. Limited parking is available at the Graham Visitor Center and along Foster Island Drive E. Visitors are encouraged to use public transit.
Washington Park Arboretum, 2300 Arboretum Drive E, Seattle, 98112 (Google map).
About Family Adventure Backpacks at the Arboretum
Family Adventure Packs at the UW Arboretum are backpacks supplied with field guides, scavenger hunts, magnifying lenses and activity ideas for children K-6. Each pack is designed for up to 5 persons. Cost to rent a Family Adventure Packs for two hours is $7.
Family adventure packs are available on a first-come first-served basis at the Washington Park Arboretum Graham Visitors Center. No pre-registration is required. Choose from two Family Adventure packs:
Wetland Wonders lets you experience Foster Island with binoculars, field guides, family games and activities.
Family Tree lets you explore the Arboretum at your own pace with field equipment, maps, and activities.