Fodor's Expert Review Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
This 281-acre living laboratory established in 1872 in accordance with the terms of a bequest from New Bedford merchant James Arnold contains more than 4,000 kinds of woody plants, most from the hardy north temperate zone. 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. The Larz Anderson bonsai collection contains individual specimens imported from Japan. In the visitor center there is a 40-to-1 scale model of the arboretum (with 4,000 tiny trees). If you visit during May, Lilac Sunday on Mother's Day is a celebration of blooming trees 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 (three blocks away).