Family Activities

Family Activities

The Arnold Arboretum is a free, safe environment to experience the wonder of nature with children. Explore the Arboretum with a variety of self-guided family activities. Sign up to receive family event notices.

Head Start Family StoryWalk Family Exploration
Join a family walk to experience the sights and sounds of the Arnold Arboretum on tours geared toward children ages four to eight. Walks are free and led by Arboretum staff or volunteers. Meet at Visitor Center. Adults may bring a maximum of three children. Free, registration is requested.
Cotinus Tree of the Month
In July, look for Cotinus coggygria, the smoke tree. In summer its unique hairy panicles look like clouds of smoke, giving rise to its common name. Use your phone and search on ArbExplorer to see how many smoke trees you can find in the landscape.
Discovery Packs Discovery Packs
Check out the Arboretum’s free Discovery Packs, supported by a gift from the Arnold Arboretum Committee. Be part of 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. more »
Building Lab kit Be an Engineer
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.
Arboretum Interpreters Arboretum Interpreters
On weekend days in the spring and fall, look for Arboretum Interpreters in the landscape. These friendly and enthusiastic volunteers will help you find your way to Arboretum destinations, tell stories about fascinating plants, and highlight the Arboretum’s work as a research institution and living museum.
Photo Hunt 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 Wildlife Bingo
The Arboretum is a great place to observe wildlife. Check out the wildlife image galleries, then print Wildlife Bingo [pdf] 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.