The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky

The Arboretum grounds are free and open daily from dawn to dusk. Donations are always welcomed and appreciated. Please note that on days of UK Football home games, the Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center, the Kentucky Children's Garden, the outdoor restroom facility, and our parking lot are closed to visitors. Visitors are welcome to stroll the grounds on home game days, but they must park in a non-Arboretum location. 

Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center hours:

  • Tuesday through Saturday - 9 AM to 4 PM

The Kentucky Children's Garden (KCG) hours:

Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023:
Due to thunderstorms, the Kentucky Children's Garden will delay opening until 11 AM this morning. This is subject to change according to weather conditions. We will continue to update on the Kentucky Children's Garden hours as the day progresses.
  •   Wednesday through Saturday - 10 AM to 5 PM (weather permitting)
  • Please note you must purchase admission in the Visitor Center by 4 PM

Arboretum Grounds General Rules

  • No flying of drones (special permit is required PRIOR to flying; send email to
  • Professional Photography requires a permit and an approved and paid reservation
  • Dogs are NOT allowed in the Kentucky Children's Garden, Visitor Center or Home Demonstration Garden
  • Weddings require a permit and an approved and paid reservation
  • No Smoking or Alcohol on any part of the grounds

For answers to more questions and to learn about our guidelines, please visit our FAQ page.

With your generous support, we offer educational programming, conserve Kentucky's native ecosystems, feature horticultural gardens and displays, and serve as a destination for our community and beyond to enjoy. 

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

Choose from:

 All gifts are 100% tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. 


  • 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
  • If you want to use the grounds for a class or group visit, complete and return our class/visiting group form.  Please note this is not a reservation form to visit the KY Children's Garden. 

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