• What are your hours?

The Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

The Kentucky Children's Garden will be operating Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. during the months of April, May, September and October. Hours of operation will change to  Wednesday-Saturday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. during the months of June, July and August starting April 1, 2023.

The grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk. The actual time of "dawn" and "dusk" varies throughout the year. 

Help keep our grounds clean by disposing of your trash, recyclable materials, dog waste, etc. in the appropriate container. Paired trash and recycling containers are located throughout the grounds.

  • How long is the paved path?

Two miles

  • Are the grounds Accessible?

The Arboretum’s Horticulture Gardens have a variety of accessible paths with surfaces including compacted gravel, brick, and concrete. The outdoor restrooms and Visitor Center restrooms are accessible for persons using wheelchairs; each facility contains a stall with a grab bar. The Kentucky Children’s Garden can be accessed via a ramp for persons who use wheelchairs or have trouble navigating steps. The 2-mile paved path through the Walk Across Kentucky (WAKY) Native Plant Collection is not accessible because grades exceed 5% in some locations. 

If a wheelchair is needed during your visit, The Arboretum has two standard-width wheelchairs that can be borrowed when the Visitor Center is open. Currently, the Visitor Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 am – 4 pm. You must leave an ID or credit card at the Visitor Center with an associate while you use the wheelchair.

  • Do you allow organized walks or races at The Arboretum, e.g. a charity 5k?

Walks and races, along with other organized events, are considered on a case-by-case basis by the Director.

  • Do you allow people to practice sports? 

No, organized training and other group activities that interfere with visitors’ activities are not allowed. Check Lexington Parks & Recreation for available facilities. https://www.lexingtonky.gov/browse/recreation/parks-and-natural-areas

  • Do you have picnic tables? Can I reserve them?

Picnic tables (6) are available. They cannot be reserved. 

  • Do you have restrooms available?-

Restrooms inside the Visitor Center are open during regular VC hours Tuesday-Saturday 9a-4p

Outdoor Restrooms are available dawn to dusk

  • Do you allow weddings?

Please visit our page about weddings at The Arboretum and review the Wedding Contract Form. Call (859) 257-6955 or stop in the Visitor Center during open hours to inquire about availability. There is a $530 charge (event plus 6% sales tax) non-refundable fee to reserve use of the grounds for weddings.

  • Am I allowed to smoke on Arboretum grounds?

Smoking is prohibited on the University of Kentucky campus. The tobacco-free policy prohibits the use of all tobacco products (traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, chew, pipes, cigars, hookah or waterpipes, snus, snuff, etc.) on all grounds and parking areas and applies to all areas of the contiguous UK campus in Lexington, indoors and out.

  • Are dogs allowed at The Arboretum?

Dog are allowed on the Walk Across Kentucky paved path. They must be leashed at all times, and you are responsible for picking up and disposing of waste. Dogs are NOT ALLOWED in any garden or building, including the Kentucky Children's Garden. Seeing eye or service animals are allowed if properly marked.

  • What are the plants with red berries at the entrance?

Ilex verticillata (winterberry)

  • Do you all use chemicals to spray for weeds or around tree bases?

The Arboretum does not use chemicals to prevent weed growth or to encourage growth on lawn or turf areas. Therefore, our lawn and turf areas are much safer to walk on than many lawns in residential neighborhoods where lawn care companies spray a variety of chemicals harmful to insects, mammals and humans.  

The Arboretum is in the process of spraying the vegetative growth around trees in order to create places where “tree rings” of mulch can be placed that will provide long-term benefits for our trees, our staff, and our budget. We spray these areas with glyphosate and pre-emergent weed killers.

  •  What activities are prohibited?
    • Collecting of any type of plant materials
    • Receptions
    • Parties
    • Dances
    • Loud music
    • Food service
    • Alcoholic beverages (It is against state law to possess or serve alcoholic beverages on University property.)
    • Alterations to Arboretum plants or grounds (this includes hanging hammocks on our trees)
    • Candles/open flames/grilling
    • Scattering of ashes
    • Flying of Drones (Special permission required PRIOR to flying)
  • Are bikes allowed in The Arboretum?

 Due to federal safety guidelines, bicycles are not allowed on the paved path through the Walk Across Kentucky Native Plant Collection. We provide two connector routes to help provide a more complete bicycle network for Lexington. You may ride your bike from the adjacent neighborhood to our east using The Arboretum entrance at the end of Bellefonte Drive, go through our parking lot, along our entrance drive, and exit onto Alumni Drive. There is also a shared use path between our Shady Lane entrance and Commonwealth Court.

The Arboretum