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Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

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Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University Review

This 281-acre living laboratory is somewhat incongruously set in a dense urban area. Established in 1872 in accordance with the terms of a bequest from New Bedford merchant James Arnold, it contains more than 4,000 kinds of woody plants, most from the hardy north temperate zone. It's a mecca for runners, cyclists, dog-walkers, and families. The rhododendrons, azaleas, lilacs, magnolias, and fruit trees are eye-popping when in bloom, and something is always in season from early April through September. In October the park puts on a display in blazing colors. Peters Hill has a grand view of the Boston skyline and local surroundings. The Larz Anderson bonsai collection contains individual specimens imported from Japan that are more than 200 years old. In the visitor center there is a 40-to-1 scale model of the arboretum (with 4,000 tiny trees), plus rotating exhibits. If you visit during May, Lilac Sunday on Mother's Day is an annual celebration of blooming trees, family-friendly activities, and picnicking (the only day it's allowed). The arboretum, 6 miles from downtown Boston, is accessible by the MBTA Orange Line or Bus 39 from Copley Square to the Custer Street stop in Jamaica Plain (3 blocks away).

    Contact Information

  • Address: 125 Arborway, at Centre St., Jamaica Plain, Boston, MA, 02130 | Map It
  • Phone: 617/524–1718
  • Cost: Donations accepted
  • Hours: Grounds daily dawn–dusk; visitor center (which is closed Wed.) Apr.–Oct. daily 11–6, Nov.–Mar. noon–4. Call for walking tours info.
  • Website:
  • Subway: Forest Hills
  • Location: Jamaica Plain
Updated: 11-11-2013

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    Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University Review

    The Arboretum is a green oasis in Jamaica Plain. Surrounded by Victorian mansions and million dollar condos, the Arboretum is expensive real estate. There are always flowering trees in bloom from Spring to Fall and has many pleasant hiking and walking trails. There are signs that say there is no picnicking, but people do it anyways. Just make sure to clean up after yourself as the park staff work very hard to keep the place pristine. There are also festivals scattered throughout the year. My favorite is "lilac sunday" which usually falls around Mothers Day. Be sure to check out the Bonsai exhibit which features bonsais hundreds of years old. Parking can be limited

    by Marina_Williams, 1/27/11

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