The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky

Our mission is to showcase Kentucky landscapes and serve as a resource center for environmental and horticultural education, research and conservation.

About Us

The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, is a 100-acre public garden located on the campus of the University of Kentucky in the heart of Lexington, Kentucky. We receive over 200,000 visitors annually who can enjoy and learn about our three main features, the Walk Across Kentucky, the Horticultural Gardens, and the Kentucky Children's Garden.

Walk Across Kentucky

The Walk Across Kentucky is a two-mile paved loop through over 80 acres of wild-collected native plants from the seven physiographic regions of Kentucky.

Explore the Walk Across Kentucky

Horticultural Gardens

The Horticultural Gardens include the Home Demonstration Garden, the Perennial Teaching Garden, the Fragrance Garden and the Flight 5191 Memorial Rose Garden.

Explore the Horticultural Gardens

Kentucky Children’s Garden

The Kentucky Children’s Garden spans two acres and is a place for children and their families to connect with and learn about plants and the environment.

Explore the Kentucky Children’s Garden


Donations are critically important to our day-to-day operations and are gratefully welcomed and appreciated!

Arboretum Friends are everyone who contributes to The Arboretum. With your gift of $50 or more during the current fiscal year, you will receive an Arboretum Friends benefits card (good for 12 months) which unlocks discounts in Lexington garden centers and nurseries, and at other public gardens across the U.S.

Your gift to any of The Arboretum funds can be completed online at the links below, or mail-in a donation. All gifts are 100% tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

We cannot currently process online donations at this time, as UK is changing online gift giving services. We thank you for your patience. If you would like to donate to The Arboretum, please call Dawn Smallwood at 859-258-2049. 

Support The Arboretum

With your generous support, we offer educational programming, conserve Kentucky's native ecosystems and feature horticultural gardens and displays.

Support The Arboretum

Support the Development Fund

The Arboretum Development Fund seeks to increase our staff to expand our programming and educational activities, and to continue to care for our gardens.

Support the Development Fund

Support the Visitor Center Fund

The Arboretum Visitor Center Fund was established to allow expansion and renovation of the Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center at The Arboretum.

Support the Visitor Center Fund

Visitor Information

  • Group Events: If you are a UK-sponsored or UK-affiliated group who wants to use our space, you must submit a request at least 2 weeks in advance to UK Event Management Services.
  • Visiting Groups & Classes: To use the grounds for a class or group visit, complete and return our Visiting Groups & Classes Form. Please note this is not a reservation form to visit the Kentucky Children's Garden. 
  • Tours: we are not able to offer guided tours at The Arboretum at this time. All tours at The Arboretum are self-guided. 
  • Weather Emergency: If UK declares a weather emergency day, the free-standing restrooms will remain closed. Please note: The paved path through the Walk Across Kentucky is not plowed or salted, and visitors should take care.
  • BE CAREFUL: Bridges and paths can be slippery when wet or icy. Please take care when visiting.

For answers to more questions and to learn about our guidelines, see our FAQs.

Arboretum Grounds General Rules

  • No flying of drones. A special permit is required PRIOR to flying; email arboretum@uky.edu.
  • Professional photography requires a permit and an approved and paid reservation.
  • Weddings require a permit and an approved and paid reservation.
  • Dogs are NOT allowed in the Kentucky Children's Garden or Home Demonstration Garden.
  • No smoking or alcohol on any part of the grounds.

Hours of Operation

The Arboretum

  • The grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk.

Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center

  • Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Kentucky Children's Garden

  • The KCG is OPEN for the 2024 season! It will be open from April 3 to November 2, weather permitting.
  • Wednesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Contact Us

The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky

500 Alumni Drive
Lexington, KY 40503

Phone: (859) 257-6955

Email: arboretum@uky.edu

Contact Information

Molly Davis

500 Alumni Drive Lexington, KY 40503

+1 (859) 257-6955