Programming and Events

►Denotes pre-registration required!

Send an email to to pre-register for classes, programs and workshops (unless otherwise noted). Please be sure to include your name, email address and phone number for any registrations. 


Saturday Sept. 30 - Visitor Center, Kentucky Children's Garden & parking lot CLOSED (UK Football home)


The Urban Forest Initiative Presents the 6th Annual Tree Week Oct. 6 - 15, 2023

A celebration of trees and all the ways trees affect our lives!

For a full listing of Tree Week events, please visit

Tree Week Events at The Arboretum

Arbor Day - Saturday Oct. 7, 2023

Fall Plant Exchange

Time: 8:30 to 9:30 AM

Location: Grass overflow parking lot

Bring plants and garden-related items (books, seeds, tools, decor, etc.) to the grass overflow parking lot at 8:30 AM. The exchange starts at 9 AM and usually lasts for 30 minutes. Pre-registration not required. All ages welcome, but only one person per family may participate in the exchange.

The UK String Project presents nature-inspired music

Time: 9:30 - 10 AM

Location: Near the Kentucky Children's Garden entrance

The UK String Project (UKSP) provides instrument instruciton on violin, viola, and cello for children ages seven and up. The program's mission is to offer a comprehensive music education that includes instruction in various subjects related to string playing, including technique building, performance and music theory. The UKSP also provides a platform for the UK School of Music students serving as student teachers to gain valuable teaching experience.

Opening Program

Time: 10 AM

Location: Near the Kentucky Children's Garden entrance

The opening program includes the reading of the Arbor Day Proclamation by LFUCG 3rd District Council Member, Hannah LeGris; recognition of Lexington's Tree City USA, UK's Tree Campus USA, and UK’s Healthcare Tree Campus USA programs; and recognition of our sponsors, including Kentucky Utilities and Dave Leonard Tree Specialists.

Kentucky Children's Garden open until 5 PM - free admission for all thanks to the generous support of Kentucky Utilities!

Time: 10:30 AM (approximate time)

Location: Kentucky Children's Garden

Activities planned inside the garden include plant a seed, tree cookie necklaces, leaf art, giant bubbles, tug of war, potato sack races, parachute games, leaf stamp painting, furs and skulls, and the model trains

Arbor Day Exhibitors

Time: 10:30 AM to 5 PM

Location: Along the path between the Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center and the Kentucky Children's Garden

Confirmed exhibitors inlcude the UK Entomology Club, the UK Herpetology Club, Climate Conversations, FoodChain, Glean Kentucky, the Lexington Public Library, Live Green Lexington, the Tree Sweater Gang, and Wild Birds Unlimited.

Arbor Day Tree Planting

Time: 11 AM

Location: Arboretum entry drive

Help us plant this year's Arbor Day tree, a black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) donated by Dave Leonard Tree Specialists!


► Woody Plant Propagation with Dr. Bob Geneve & Shari Dutton

Date: Sunday, October 8, 2023

Time: 11 AM to noon

Location: Horticulture Barn (former UK Campus Motor Pool building), 1505 College Way

Join Dr. Bob Geneve (Department of Horticulture Professor in the UK Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment) to learn about and participate in native woody plant seed propagation. All ages welcome. Pre-registration required. Send an email to with this information: your name, your phone number, and number attending (adults and children)

More information to come!

The Dirt on Urban Soil (and How to Improve it to Grow Healthy Trees)

Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Time: 4 - 5:30 PM

Location: Meet outside the Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center

Join Hannah Angel and Jess Slade as they present hand-on activities and a program about how to care for the living ecosystem beneath our feet in order to grow healthy trees. Participants will have opportunities to see (and feel) our urban soils and learn about their connection to the trees growing in them. Participants will learn how to identify the soils on their own property, how to improve these soils over time, and how to select trees that will grow well in our urban environment.  

This event is kid-friendly. 

Tree ID Walk with Rob Paratley

Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Time: 5 PM

Location: Meet outside the Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center

All ages welcome. No registration required. 

A tree tour at the UK-LFUCG Arboretum led by botanist Rob Paratley, focusing on the identification, natural history, and ecology of native trees that we typically see on our streets and in our yards.  We can learn a lot about where to plant trees and how to care for them by knowing where and how they thrive in our forests and woodlands.  Selecting native trees also avoids the problems with exotic invasive trees like Bradford pear or Tree-of-heaven.   We will walk parts of The Arboretum's Walk Across Kentucky to observe and learn about some of our state's diverse tree flora.

Moss Walk with Kristen Hillegrass

Date: Friday, October 13 , 2023

Time:  2 - 4 PM

Location: Meet at the kiosk in the parking lot

No registration required.

Kristen Hillegrass will lead this walk which will be primarily through The Arboretum Woods. Kristen is a PhD student in UK's Biology department in Dr. McLetchie's lab, doing research on bryophytes. She has experience identifying and keying out moss species. She is also a teaching assistant for Dr. Baskin's History of Plants on Earth class, and she teaches students about mosses for a portion of the lab she instructs for her class.

► Plein Air Landscape Painting Workshop with the UK School of Art & Visual Studies

Date: Friday, October 13 , 2023

Time:  3 - 5:15 PM

Location: Meet at the kiosk in the parking lot

Free, but pre-registration required!  Visit to register. 

Join advanced painting students from the School of Art and Visual Studies for a plein art landscape painting workshop at The Arboretum. A Spanish speaker will be present at the event. 

Suitable for beginner, intermediate or advanced painters, or those who just want to get outside and try something new! We will practice painting from observation, an exciting way to engage with nature for this year's Tree Week!

There are 10 Plein Air painting boxes available, but participants should bring the following:

  • Paint medium of choice, we suggest watercolor for beginner artists, but acrylic and oil paints are also applicable
  • Paintbrushes
  • Any mediums or solvents required (for acrylic and oil paint)
  • A surface to paint on: watercolor paper, stretched or unstretched canvas, gessoed wooden panels, etc.

Saturday Oct. 14 -  Visitor Center, KY Children's Garden & parking lot CLOSED (UK Football home game)

Friday Oct. 27 -  LAST DAY for 2023 Season in the KY Children's Garden