Ah, the UI Arboretum. This is one of my favorite places to go. Yesterday we made a trip there to catch some fall leaves before they are gone.
The UI Arboretum and Botanical Garden is a 63 acre “living museum of documented plants.” 45 of the acres are planted and the other 18 will be developed in the future (they are currently in wheat, so they are pretty as well).
The Arboretum has two large ponds, a smaller pond, and a small creek. The ponds are the main attraction for my boys – of course, because playing in the water maximizes messiness!
There is a 1.5 mile gravel path that encircles the whole Arboretum. There are some cut-across paths so that you do not have to do the entire circle (which is helpful with little ones who can’t make the whole loop), and there are numerous bark paths off the main gravel path.
The gravel path is excellent for jogging, and a jogging stroller can handle it easily. You can also bike on the gravel path. Dogs are not allowed.
From the UI Arboretum website (http://www.uiweb.uidaho.edu/arboretum/about.html):
“Organized into geographical groupings of Asian, European, Eastern, and Western North American sections, and display plantings are hundreds of species and cultivars of North Temperate trees and shrubs and a xeriscape garden. In addition to native Idaho species, there are over 120 dedicated trees and groves, trails, water features, and 27 granite benches for viewing, study, contemplation, enjoying northern Idaho’s spectacular seasonal changes. Walking trails range from easy grades through steeper climbs to the most spectacular overview sites from which the Blue Mountains of Oregon can be seen.”
The Arboretum is beautiful year round, but if there is snow on the ground, the paths can be difficult to navigate, especially for little kids. This year we may try snow-shoeing (though skiing is prohibited).
There is a map on the website for locating the different areas/types of trees. Copies of this map are also available at each end (at the Red Barn and at the kiosk).
When I go with the boys, it takes a good hour and a half or two hours to get all the way around, due to many, many stops to find sticks and play in the water. When I go on my own, it is about a half hour stroll.
Educational tours are offered (check the website), and this year there was a summer concert. There is also a plant sale in the summer, held at the fairgrounds.
The ducks are also a favorite. You are not allowed to feed them, but they seem pretty used to people nonetheless.
Across Nez Perce Drive is the Charles Houston Shattuck Arboretum. I don’t have photos of this because I have not made it over there, but a friend tells me it is beautiful. It is a 14 acre slope that was planted with trees in 1910. I think everyone just calls this the “old Arboretum.”
At one end of the Arboretum is the Arboretum Red Barn, which was built in 1908. It is not open to the public, but it makes for a good photo.
I don’t think there is a water fountain at the Arboretum, but there is an outhouse near the Red Barn. Not a great place to change a baby, but better than nothing!
The Arboretum is in a valley adjacent to the UI golf course, south of the President’s Residence and UI water tower, and north of the rolling Palouse hills across West Palouse River Drive. The address is 1200 West Palouse River Drive. Mapquest this and it will give you directions through Moscow to the free parking lot by the Red Barn. (I used to park at the meters on Nez Perce Drive, which goes right through campus. I think the meters have been removed, though.) Note that you can also take Sand Road from Pullman, but it is partially unpaved, so can be slow and dusty. It is pretty, though, and well worth the few extra minutes.