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University of Washington Botanic Gardens


Washington Park Arboretum
Center for Urban Horticulture

Ready to learn more about UW Botanic Gardens? Take a tour!

Free Arboretum Tours

Gingko by Joy Spurr

Weekend Walks: Washington Park Arboretum. Meet 1:00pm on Sundays at the Graham Visitors Center January through November. 60-90 mins. No preregistration necessary. See schedule

  • June - Pacific Connections Garden
  • July - Hydrangeas
  • August - PNW Natives
  • September - Fruits and Nuts

First Thursday Tram Tours: Washington Park Arboretum. Meet at 11:00am on the first Thursday of each month at the Graham Visitors Center. One hour tours highlight seasonal interest. Limited spaces available, so registration is required. Register online.

Family Nature Walks

looking at ducks photo

We now offer programs specially designed with kids and families in mind. Tours typically include hands-on activities, games, and exploration for families with kids ages 6-12. Fun themes include mushrooms, migratory birds, flowers and the mysterious Park in the Dark night-time walks.

School Field Trips


All of our school fieldtrips are designed in accordance with Washington State Learning Standards. We foster meaningful learning by providing inquiry-based, hands-on programs. Current programs:


Private Group Tours

Tours for are 60-90 minutes and led by trained guides. To reserve a guided tour, please call 206-685-8641 or send an email. Three weeks advance notice required. Fee: $50 (up to 10 people), $75 (up to 15 people), or $100 (up to 20 people). Tours are held at the Washington Park Arboretum unless indicated otherwise. Advance payment is required.

Select a theme or request a custom tour.

  • Tram Tours: Learn about current seasonal highlights, new plantings, Arboretum history and educational programs from the comfort of a 13-passenger tram. ($100 fee regardless of group size)
  • Winter Seasonal:  Visit the Joseph A. Witt Winter Garden to enjoy the fragrances of Honeysuckle and Witch Hazel, admire Paperbark Maples.
  • Spring Seasonal:  Take a walk along historical Azalea Way lined with flowering Cherries, Azaleas and Dogwoods. Loderi Valley features large-leaved Rhododendron trees sheltered by Magnolias.
  • Summer Seasonal:   Explore the five eco-geographic regions of the Pacific Connections Garden. See stunning Hydrangeas, Magnolias and Sorrel trees.
  • Fall Seasonal:  Celebrate fall with a stroll through the beautiful Woodland Garden to view one of the largest collections of Japanese Maples in North America. Enjoy the vivid fall colors of Sour Gum, Buckeye, Witch Hazel and more.
  • Foster Island Ecology: Visit the plants and wildlife that live at the Arboretum's shores. Take a walk to Foster and Marsh Islands where great blue herons, turtles and beavers reside.
  • Native Plants and Ethnobotany: Visit the Arboretum's Native Knoll and upland forest to learn native plant ID and Puget Coast Salish uses of native plants.
  • Center for Urban Horticulture Green Building & Garden Tour:  Get a behind the scenes tour of UW’s first LEED Certified building and its surrounding display gardens. 

Self-Guided Tours

tour photo

Year round, the UW Botanic Gardens Trail Map can be used for self guided tours to some spectacular thematic gardens, taxonomic collections and loop trails with interpretive signage.

Special Arboretum Tree Tours

  • October: Fall Colors: Japanese maples, witch hazels, sourgums, sorrel trees, buckeyes, strawberry trees, mountain ash. Tree tour trail map

Beyond the Botanic Gardens

photo by Joanna Livingston

International Tours

Take a tour of exotic lands led by the UW Botanic Gardens Director Sarah Reichard. The plant themed tours visit formal botanic gardens and preserved natural areas. Travelers enjoy early morning bird watching, nature hikes through pristine valleys and delicious local cuisine.

Download the audio tours to tour on your own

clip artEnjoy tours at your own pace of the Pacific Connections Garden at Washington Park Arboretum and the demonstration gardens at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Hear from experts including garden designers and curation staff as they share stories about the significance of each garden to humans and the natural world.

Use the links below to download files and listen anytime on your personal MP3 player or smartphone at home or in the gardens.

To use the audio files on your personal MP3 player, right click on a file name and save to your computer. To listen here on the website, simply click the file names. You may need to download an audio player from the list below in order for the files to work.
Realplayer     Windows Media Player    Quicktime Player

Center for Urban Horticulture tour files

Download MP3 file

Listen to streaming file

Introduction (01:18)

McVay Courtyard (03:35)

Seattle Garden Club Fragrance Garden (03:16)

Soest Garden (02:48)

South Slope and Dry Bed (03:32)

Credits (01:47)

Arboretum's Pacific Connections Garden tour files

Introduction (02:36)

China (02:54)

New Zealand (02:51)

Australia (02:14)

Cascadia (03:27

Cedar legend (01:53)

Chile (01:58)

Credits (02:22)

UW Botanic Gardens produced the tours in partnership with Jack Straw Productions. The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust provided project funding.

Looking for more outdoor options?

Public Garden Guide photo
The Garden Lovers' Guide describes even more public gardens in the area to visit.

Last modified:
Tuesday, 09-Aug-2016 16:38:39 PDT