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University of Washington Botanic Gardens


Washington Park Arboretum
Center for Urban Horticulture

Youth and Family Programs

More for Families


Washington Park Arboretum: With 230 acres of landscaped gardens, natural areas, and wetlands, plus a world-class collection of 10,000 trees, shrubs, and other plants—there is plenty of material for wide-eyed, hands-on learning!

Self-guided adventures: Explorer Packs for groups of up to 15 students K-6th and Family Adventure Packs are available for groups looking for a self-guided and hands-on educational experience.

School Fieldtrips: Experience hands-on, inquiry-based explorations of Washington Park Arboretums. Bring your class, grade or school as you join our Garden Guides for a 90 minute field trip aligned with Washington State K-12 Learning Standards.

Elisabeth C. Miller Library: Located at the Center for Urban Horticulture, the library has a Children’s Collection of 400 nonfiction and fiction books on gardening, botany, and natural science projects.

Upcoming Family Events

Free Weekend Walks Every Sunday at 1pm

Cool Seeds Abound

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 1.26.25 PMPterocarya stenoptera, common name Chinese Wing Nut, has gorgeous lime green seed catkins 12-14″ long each bearing up to 80 seeds. That’s pretty amazing in itself but when these seed catkins are dripping off of each limb of a tall tree the effect is stunning.

The Wing Nut genus resides in the walnut family, or Juglandaceae, and is used for ornamental purposes in gardens around the world.   Its native habitats are in China, Japan, and Korea, growing in areas from sea level to elevations of about 1500 feet.  Like its cousin nut trees – the Walnut, Pecan & Hickory – this large deciduous tree has pinnate leaves and grows quickly with a rangy habit.Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 1.26.59 PM

We have a few different Pterocarya species in the Washington Park Arboretum collection.  I like to stop and admire the large P. stenoptera specimen along Azalea Way; it was acquired in 1951 and is now about 60′ feet tall.   Because it has many low-hanging limbs, you can touch the seed catkins, which are surprisingly rigid and tough.

You can learn about this tree and many others in our collection if you join our Free Weekend Walks for September.  Our tour theme is “Fruits, Nuts & Seed Pods” because right now is the time to marvel at the bounty which is the result of spring pollination.  Guides meet visitors at the Graham Visitors Center every Sunday at 1:00 pm and off you go to explore our great park.

Posted on 11 September 2015 | 1:30 pm

Last modified:
March 25 2015 11:24:33