After being closed for a couple of months, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum had opened its doors to drive-through visits only starting May 1st. We visited during May and below is my recap!
However, I just learned that they are now in Phase 2 – which means they are open for walking on designated paths as well. Check out their website for details and updates.
We had visited the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum a few years ago when our kids were younger (see my review!), and it was a full day of walking, exploring and playing. But now with so many places closed due to COVID, we were getting excited for any place we could visit, even in our car. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum was open to drive-through visits only, so we booked in advance, paid the $15-per-vehicle fee (free to members), and visited on a Saturday morning in May! (Note: Since our visit they have opened some walking paths and the price is now $15 per person, though members and kids 15 and under are free.)
There were a LOT of cars, but traffic moved steadily. There were some spots where it got backed up and we were stopping and starting, but for the most part it was just a nice, slow drive along their 3-mile drive.
We entered and our printed ticket was scanned (you need to have it ready in advance), and we proceeded through. The visitors center was closed, though I learned that the parking lot there is now open.
Note: All of these pictures were taken from our car, since everyone is required to stay in their car except for using public restrooms in two areas of the drive if needed.
Also – this is not a sponsored review. We paid for our visit and this is just our experience!
The first part of the drive was through some wooded area. I loved this little cabin in the woods!
There were various types of landscaping along the way – sculptured hedges, for example.
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has 1,200 acres of public gardens and more than 5,000 plant species, including trees like Crabapple, Elm, Hawthorn, Maple, Oak and Pine. Many you can view from the drive.
We could drive right past this moon gate which is a dramatic entry to the Chinese Garden.
The Harrison Sculpture Garden is 3 acres of sculptures like this “Gahn Dancer II, Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer, 1993” by Craig Dan Goseyun. Behind it is the “Stone Arch, 1995” by René Küng.
This is called the “Wayzata Reel (formerly known as Reel 3), 2006” by Philip King. In the back are “Construction (Crucifixion), 1966” by Barbara Hepworth and “Four Open Rectangles, Diagonally Jointed II, 1986” by George Rickey.
At the end of the drive were these beautiful tulips, which are in season right now.
This doesn’t cover all that we saw – and more flowers will be in bloom soon, so I know it’s constantly changing.
The whole drive took us about 1 hour, due to the many cars and slow pace.
Would I recommend it?
Yes, I recommend it for the $15 per vehicle price that we paid. We went on a Saturday in May and brought my mom, who can’t do much during this quarantine. It was a Mother’s Day experience gift for her, and was a nice way to get out and see some beautiful landscaping for an hour. She definitely enjoyed and appreciated it. Who isn’t looking for something unique to do at this time?
I also liked that your visit is at a specific time. They do this to control the busyness. We booked our visit for 11:00am. We were able to drive right in and there wasn’t much of a wait, as cars are continually going in and out.
My kids were curious about things, but I think some kids, especially younger kids, might think it’s boring, since it’s just sitting in a car, but thankfully now you can get out of your car and walk around some areas.
UPDATE: Starting May 22nd, they have opened up walking paths and have thus increased the price. It’s now $15 per person, though free for members and kids age 15 and under. If we went back now it would be $30 total ($15 per adult x 2, plus 2 kids who would be free). For that price I think it would be reasonable knowing that it included the option to walk in places and more flowers are blooming. But since the Arboretum is changing things continually at this time, like many other attractions, please check their website for the latest information before you go!
Visit their website for more information!
Have you visited lately? Share your experience!