Guided Tours

Guided Tours

Spring tour with docent

From flowers and fragrance to fruits and textures to the bare bones of winter’s deciduous plants, the Arnold Arboretum is a dynamic landscape throughout the year! Come for a tour led by our knowledgeable docents and dedicated staff to experience the Arboretum in a new light.

Tours are geared toward the general adult visitor. Meet in front of the Hunnewell Building unless listed otherwise. Registration is requested for theme tours. All free tours are for individuals. Groups should request a private tour, see below.

Our regular free tour is ongoing with Saturday and Sunday tours. Starting May 2, Monday and Thursday free tours at 10:30am will introduce you to the highlights of our collections. Enjoy a 90 minute walk though the landscape as it bursts with all the many flowering trees and shrubs of May. On a number of week-ends, we have added extra tours so all our visitors can experience the Arboretum with a great guide. Check the calendar for additional tour times. These tours are free, no registration is necessary.  Our private tours are perfect for groups of more than 4 or 6.

The Bonsai and Penjing Pavilion will be open for visitors when our volunteers are on hand with stories of the dwarfed plants, their history and maintenance on select Thursdays and Sundays noted on our calendar.

On May 5, you can learn about the Arboretum’s first 25 years: How the Arboretum became the Arboretum. Then sign up to do a tour in our greenhouses with the first of our monthly Seed to Tree tours on May 7. Lilacs will be blooming and beckoning. Three special lilac-themed tours are coming up: the evening of May 7 and during the day on May 8 and May 13. They all meet at the map table by the ponds for an hour tour.

For cancellations due to inclement weather, please call 617.384.5209. Find directions to the Arnold Arboretum.

Private Tours

Adult Groups

Our Visitor Engagement staff will work with you to provide a memorable experience, whether you are a group of avid gardeners seeking to gain horticultural knowledge or simply want a guided stroll through an historic landscape of remarkable beauty.

Walking and bus tours are available—groups must supply their own bus, and bus size restrictions apply, including a height restriction of 11 feet. For more information and to request a tour, please fill out a tour request form at least three weeks in advance. If needed, please call 617.384.5209 or email.

Youth Groups

Pre-school through Grade 6: Contact Nancy Sableski, Manager of Children’s Education, at 617.384.5239. For formal school visits see School Programs.

Middle and High School: If your middle or high school class is studying a topic related to the Arnold Arboretum’s area of focus (horticulture, environmental studies, ecology, botany, etc.) email us. We do not currently offer standard programs for youth in this age group for non-related classes or after-school groups, summer youth groups, or student clubs, but we can always help educators prepare for a self-guided visit.

Higher Education Groups

As part of its education mission, the Arboretum provides academic tours to college and university groups studying relevant subjects. These tours are free of charge and led by Arboretum staff members whenever possible. To schedule an academic tour, course instructors or academic advisers should fill out a tour request form at least three weeks in advance. On the request form describe the scope of the course or other specifics that would allow us to place you with the most appropriate staff member(s). For additional information, please call 617.384.5209 or email.