The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences' Department of Horticultural Science owns its own 1137-acre landscape arboretum in Chaska, Minn. The Arboretum holds "magnificent gardens, model landscapes, and natural areas-from woodlands and wetlands to prairie-with extensive collections of northern-hardy plants." The purpose of the Arboretum is to provide a community and national resource for horticultural and environmental information, research and public education; to develop and evaluate plants and horticultural practices for cold climates, and to inspire and delight all visitors with quality plants in well-designed and maintained displays, collections, model landscapes, and conservation areas.
The Arboretum has 12.5 miles of paths for visitors to wander while they enjoy the 32 display and specialty gardens, 48 plant collections, and more than 5,000 plant species. There are always interesting and enjoyable events happening at the Arboretum. They currently have a number of holiday events along with different outdoor activities happening in the next couple of weeks. Click here to check out the different ways to have fun at the Arboretum!
While the Arboretum definitely has entertainment value, there's also important research happening there every day. Some examples of Arboretum research include fruit breeding, wetland restoration, and woody landscape research. The U of M's Woody Landscape Plant Breeding and Genetics Program began in 1954 to breed trees and shrubs capable of withstanding Minnesota's harsh climate.
If you are interested in visitng the Arboretum, check out their visit page. They are open 363 days of the year, and it is free for U of M students (plus, the Arboretum provides internship opportunities for U of M students year-round!).