One of my family’s favorite places to visit throughout the year is the Dawes Arboretum. It’s located in Newark, Ohio. There is almost 2,000 acres of land to explore. If you love gardens, plants, trees, wetlands and more, you will want to see the beauty of this place. So if you are ever in the area, you should stop by for a visit. It’s really pretty! Another place you could always visit is Blackhand Gorge. It’s kind of close by.
A little information about Dawes Arboretum
“The Dawes Arboretum is dedicated to enriching lives through the conservation of trees and nature. Founded in 1929 by Beman and Bertie Dawes, The Arboretum was inspired by the couple’s love of trees and nature. Today we remain dedicated to our mission through providing exceptional educational programs and events as well as maintaining incredible horticulture collections on nearly 2,000 acres of beautiful grounds.” For more information, check out the Dawes Arboretum website!
Dawes Arboretum Visitor’s Center
The Visitor’s Center is a great place to stop before you head out to walk the property. You can grab a map of the property while you are in there. There is no cost to explore either. They do have a gift shop and an area to purchase light refreshments if you like. In the center, you can take a look at the Bonsai Collection. I love the Bonsai Collection. There is some outdoor seating where you can enjoy the bird watching garden. We liked sitting out there for a bit. We saw a lot of different birds. The garden area is really pretty.
The lower level of the Visitor Center includes a discovery center. My kids loved this area. It’s very kid friendly and there are hands-on nature and learning activities the whole family can enjoy.
In the Garden Gateway Area is where the Visitor’s Center is located. You can’t miss it. It’s the first thing you see when you park. In addition to the Visitor’s Center, you have the All Seasons Garden, Japanese Garden, Azalea Glen, Learning Garden, and Cypress Swamp. The Swamp area is pretty cool. One of my kids’ favorite areas. There are board pathways over the swampy area and they got to see wetland plants, frogs, and salamanders. As we walked through the All Seasons Garden, we saw a lot of butterflies.
The Japanese Garden is my favorite area of the Arboretum. The Japanese Garden was designed in 1963 by Dr. Makoto Nakamura, a lecturer in Landscape Architecture at the Kyoto University, Japan. In the garden, there are rocks, gravel, hills flowing water with garden bridges, and even a reflecting pool with a stone path the goes across it.
My youngest loved the stone pathway over the pool. It’s also a great place to stop and just take in the beauty. The garden is just so serene! The stone path is easy to cross too so no worries there.
We liked watching the koi fish that were in the pool. I love watching koi fish!
Ducks and Geese
There were tons of ducks and geese to watch too. Throughout the Japanese Garden, there are a few places to stop and sit. We sat on benches a few time to watch them.
The pond and landscaping was just absolutely beautiful!
And as previously mentioned, hills and rocks, gravel and sand. As much as I loved the water and pond area, I really enjoyed this part of the Japanese Garden as well. It reminded me of a giant zen garden.
Glacier Ridge and Woodlands
As you walk through the Glacier Ridge, you are walking up a hill. At first you don’t even realize it because it’s not that much of an incline as you are walking the path. Once you get to the top, you can see the valley below where once a glacier was located 10,000 years ago. Along this pathway, you will see all kinds of different trees. You can read which trees they are and information about them on the placard stands near them. Going onward you walk through the Woodlands which has a deep wooded trail. Lots of wildflowers here! I love wildflowers.
Red Barn Area
Eventually you emerge into a meadow. A very pretty meadow. As you walk through the meadow, you will see rustic areas including an old red barn. Which is probably why it was dubbed the Red Barn Area. There are other wooded areas, a pond with a board walk, and another wetland area. As you keep heading East on the property, you will see a natural area of unique cultural history. We saw windmills and other things in the meadow and wetland areas here. It was pretty neat. Another pond and a gorge along the way too.
Towards the end of your exploration of the property, you will cross a bridge (above photo) over a waterway. The lake wraps around most of the land area over there. This was a great place to sit and relax for a bit under the trees. After we sat for a bit and enjoyed the view and shade, we moved on.
After the lake, we made our way back to the front of the property. There is an outlook tower you can climb for a pretty fantastic view. There are these really large bushes that spell out Dawes Arboretum. They are so large that unless you already know about it, you can’t tell unless you climb the tower or saw it from the main road if you were just driving by.
It’s an easy place to walk although if you walk the whole place, it is a lot of walking. I think we spent about 4 hours walking the property. We did stop a few times to sit though. It’s worth a stop to check out all the gardens, ponds, trees, flowers, and everything else. It’s really gorgeous there!