Head to Licking County to enjoy acres of nature at Dawes Arboretum in Newark, Ohio.
Home to over 5300 different types of plants with more than 15,400 plants on grounds, you’ll find new things to explore every time you visit.
What you’ll find at Dawe’s
Located about 30 minutes east of Columbus, Dawes Arboretum features 2,000 acres with 12 miles of trails, an informative Auto Tour, Japanese Garden, lakes, or take in breathtaking views from the Observation Tower, and more.
Visit the indoor and comfortable bird-watching sitting area, and children’s exploration area in the basement of the visitor center.
Take a drive through to explore the various gardens. There are parking areas throughout the Auto Tour so you can get out and explore.
There are so many landscapes to choose from, with lakes, bridges, woods, beautiful flowers, Japanese garden, walking paths, Red Barn, and more. You’ll want to pack a picnic and stay for awhile.
Exhibits and Events at Dawes Arboretum
Little Buckeyes Imagination Station
Fridays, June 2 – August 11, 2023 at 10 am. Let the creative educators of the Dawes Arboretum bring your family closer to the wonders of the natural world. Stop by the Education Center to get everything you need for self-guided exploration.
Little Buckeyes Imagination Station activities, geared toward children ages 3-8, will give curious youngsters an opportunity to get moving as they observe and create in nature!
This year’s trail features Trees Make Perfect Pets by Paul Czajak. Each sign tells a portion of the amusing story about a young girl’s unique birthday wish!
The trail opens on June 10, 2023. Guest can visit the Licking County Library mobile library, pet an animal ambassador from the Licking County Humane Society, receive a StoryTrail™️ book giveaway (while supplies last) and have lots of fun as we walk through the woods and read about a very special pet!
Plus, Arboretum admission will be free for children aged 15 and younger from 10am-12pm on June 10.
Japanese Garden Festival
Saturday, July 29, 2023 from noon to 4 p.m.
The Japanese Garden Festival is in the Japanese Garden. Activities include lantern-making, food trucks, guided meditation, a formal Japanese tea service and other activities, thanks to a relationship with the Japanese America Society of Central Ohio (JASCO).
Attendees can participate in additional cultural activities for a fee.
Following the event will be an adult-only component from 4 to 6 p.m., which includes flower arranging and sake tasting.
Festival entry is included with general admission to Dawes. The adult-component requires a separate ticket. Details on website.
Dawes Arts and Music Festival
September 30, 2023 from noon – 4 pm
Local music, art demonstrations, performances from a local theatre group, food trucks and more. The event is adult-only from 4-6 pm, following the family-friendly activities from noon until 4 p.m.
Festival entry is included with general admission to Dawes. The adult-component requires a separate ticket. Details on website.
“Avian Avatars” by The Myth Makers
May 27 – Spring 2023. The Dawes Arboretum welcomed six monumental sculptures from artists The Myth Makers – and they are so cool!
The bamboo birds— some standing more than 20 feet tall—were built for The Dawes Arboretum by The Myth Makers, Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein, in New Jersey at an industrial scale artist residency, Gardenship. These are the tallest art pieces ever shown at The Dawes Arboretum.
Made from natural materials, the sculptures are site-specific and are meant to slowly disappear into nature over the course of their life.
DAILY HOURS MARCH – OCTOBER
- Members’ Hours: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
- Non-Members’ Hours: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
DAILY HOURS NOVEMBER – FEBRUARY
- Members’ Hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Non-Members’ Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Find additional information on programming and events at the website.
CLOSED: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, After 1p.m. Christmas Eve, After 1p.m. New Years’ Eve
ADMISSION IS FREE ON VETERANS’ DAY
The Dawes Arboretum Visitors Center is open daily from 10am to 4pm.
Admission for Dawes Arboretum
Buy tickets online! Non-members to pre-purchase admission at this time.
- Adult: $10.00
- Child (Ages 5-15): $5.00
- Children Under 5: Free
If you are unable to visit during the date you purchased your ticket for, please call The Arboretum to reschedule your visit within 30 days of purchase.
Discounts and Free admission for Dawes
Free admission passes are available for check out at Licking County Library, the Muskingum County Library, the Granville Public Library, Alexandria Public Library, Homer Public Library, Perry County District Library, Fairfield Library and Pataskala Library.
Please check your library for availability.
Free admission passes for foster care families will be available through Licking County JFS.
Those with a SNAP card will be offered discounted admission, daily.
Free admission days are offered throughout the year. Check the website or scroll down for events to see if any are coming up!
Columbus Member Advantage Program
If you’re a member of select Central Ohio attractions, you can save $3 on general admission to local attractions through the Columbus Member Advantage program.
No coupon is necessary. Simply show your valid participating membership card when you visit! Limited to 4 discounts per membership per day; can’t be combined with other discounts.
Member Advantage partners for 2023 include
- Columbus Museum of Art and Pizzuti Collection (see our article)
- Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (see our article)
- Dawes Arboretum (see our article)
- Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (see our article)
- LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Columbus (see our article)
- National Veterans Memorial and Museum (see our article)
- Ohio History Center & Ohio Village (see our article)
- Wexner Center for the Arts (see our article)
- COSI (advanced tickets required)
- The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology (also qualifies for ASTC reciprocal admission)
Membership at Dawes Arboretum
Membership for Dawes supports the programs, while it gives you discounts, Free catch-and-release fishing at Dawes Lake, Reciprocal benefits at more than 300 gardens in North America, and more. Plus member-only hour from 8 am – 9 am.
About Dawes Arboretum: Founded in 1929 by Beman and Bertie Dawes, The Dawes Arboretum is a living museum celebrating the history and beauty of trees and nature. Located in Newark, Ohio (30 miles east of Columbus), The Dawes Arboretum offers paths, trails and boardwalks to explore along with historical and art exhibitions and educational programming.
The Dawes Arboretum is recognized by the National Registry of Historic Places
Past events at Dawes Arboretum
Free Admission on EARTH DAY! tba 2023. Spend the day enjoying nature and celebrating Earth Week by exploring the beautiful grounds of The Arboretum. Make your way to the Red Barn Reserve between 12-2pm for a tree giveaway, while supplies last! Due to COVID protocols, Earth Day attendees are asked to reserve a ticket on the website before visiting. Use promo code EARTHDAY21 when reserving tickets. Details here.
Spring Cherry Blossoms
Dawes Arboretum, located just 35 minutes from Columbus in Newark, Ohio. You’ll find plenty of flowering cherry trees in the Japanese Garden this Spring. The Zen garden features bridges, a meditation house, pond, stones, hills, and more, creating a serene backdrop.
Park at the Japanese Garden to start, and then drive around the south end of the Auto Tour to see additional individual trees.
Go Public Garden Days, May 7-16: The Arboretum is celebrating all the ways public gardens better our lives by offering $2.00 off the general admission price.
Fall Foliage at Dawes
Dawes Arboretum is a perfect choice to explore fall foliage – whether you plan to walk or drive (or a little of both). The paved trails (open to cars and walking) through the arboretum lead to a variety of ecosystems and gardens.
Park at the beginning and spend a couple of hours walking, or drive from parking area to parking area and explore the nearby gardens.
My top picks include the overlook over the valley, just past the visitor’s center, Dawes Lake and the Observation tower overlooking the hedge lettering, Garden Gateway (including the Japanese Garden), and Hikes through the Woodlands.
Fall Fun Wagon Tour
Saturdays in October | 11am and 1pm
Take a tour of The Dawes Arboretum’s collections with an Arboretum expert. Enjoy the end of summer and the start of fall in an open air wagon while learning about the collections and Arboretum history as the leaves change color.
Tours are $5 per person for 5 and up, and can be purchased at the Visitor’s Center
Build Your Own Ex-STRAW-Dinary Scarecrow!
Saturday, October 8 | 9am – 12pm
You’re invited to create your own Ex-STRAW-Dinary Scarecrow! Bring the whole family for this free hands-on activity and create a scarecrow to display this fall at The Arboretum.
Each scarecrow will be featured on the Parkwoods Trail and guests will be able to vote for their favorite! The Dawes Arboretum will provide the straw (while supplies last) and participants are encouraged to bring supplies to help the scarecrows come to life. Details.
October 15 – 30, 2022
Ex–Straw–Dinary Scarecrows are returning to The Dawes Arboretum from October 15-October 30. More than 50 custom-outfitted scarecrows will line the Parkwoods Trail and guests will be able to vote on their favorite one.
The scarecrows include superheroes, like Batman and Spiderman, along with a variety of other costumes. Details.
Trick or Trees
October 26 | 5:30 – 7pm
Come dressed in costume and walk the Parkwoods Trail to experience fall color, get a sweet treat and enjoy the spooky season. Those 15 and younger will receive free admission for the event! Details.
The Turkey Trail Challenge
Friday, November 25 | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bring your pedometer, register at the Visitor’s Center, and take in as much of The Dawes Arboretum as you can. It’s the perfect chance to walk off your Thanksgiving meal(s).
Guests who walk 2,500, 5,000 or 10,000 steps will be eligible to receive a prize (while supplies last). Details.
Winter Wonder Walks
Fridays and Saturdays, Dec 2 – 17 | 6 pm – 9 pm
Take a stroll through a winter wonderland during The Dawes Arboretum’s Winter Wonders Walk! There is something for everyone in the family to enjoy, with illuminated trees, food trucks, live music and a special appearance from Santa Claus!
Head to Dawes for one of the nights of lights and experience the magic of The Arboretum in winter.
Admission is free to members and $10/adults, $5/children ages 5-15 and free/children under 5 years of age. Registration is required. Both members and non-members must pre-purchase a ticket or reserve a time online.
Tickets will not be sold at the gate. Please arrive during your designated arrival time. The walk is approximately one mile.
Thursday, Dec. 1 (for members only)
Friday, Dec. 2
Saturday, Dec 3
Friday, Dec. 9
Saturday, Dec. 10
Friday, Dec. 16
Saturday, Dec 17
Winter Solstice Night Hike
Wednesday December 21, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Celebrate a modern version of an ancient holiday with a guided hike through The Arboretum’s main grounds. Guests and guides will keep an eye out for any nocturnal animals that are enjoying the longest night of the year!
Tickets are $8; members get discounted rate.
Maple Syrup Days at Dawes Arboretum
February 25 and 26, 2023 from 1-2:45 pm
Learn the history and process of maple sugaring as you meander down the paved trail toward The Arboretum’s Log Cabin. The 45 minute guided tours of the Maple Syrup Trail will begin every 15 minutes.
These tours are included with Arboretum admission. Details here.
Nature Connection Days
Nature Connection Days are included with Arboretum admission.
Winter Bird Days
February 18 and 19, 2023 | 1 – 4pm
Kick off The Arboretum’s new Nature Connection Days with some winter bird watching! Join us in the Discovery Center to borrow some binoculars and bird identification guides and see what winter birds you may find in the Bird Watching Garden.
March 18 | 1 – 4pm
Waterfowl are early birds when it comes to spring migration. Join us at the Red Barn Reserve to borrow some binoculars and identification guides and see what waterfowl you may find in the wetlands or around the pond!
Migratory Bird Day
May 13 | 1 – 4pm
In May, colorful migratory birds find their way back to The Arboretum and many more pass through on their way up north to their breeding grounds. Celebrate Migratory Bird Day by borrowing some binoculars and identification guides and seeing what birds you can spot!
Wednesday, March 22 | 12-2pm
Stop by to explore your family history and the history of The Arboretum through self-guided stations that will include crafts, games, and many other activities! This activity is included with Arboretum Admission. Details.
Camp Dawes 2023
The Dawes Arboretum is hosting six nature-filled summer camps this year for LOTS of ages! Camp Dawes will take place throughout June and July and focus on everything from survival skills and fairy houses, to water and wildlife.
Wilderness Survival, Ages 12-14: Outdoor survival with lessons in wild edibles, shelter building and navigation
The Dawes School of Wizardry, Ages 6-8: Take engaging classes in bugology, herbology and potions.
Art in Nature, Ages 9-11: Explore the outdoors by creating artwork using different mediums and techniques influenced by nature.
Little Sprouts: Nature Explorers, Ages 5-6: Read stories, make crafts and play games in this introduction to camp for our littlest campers.
Wet ‘n Wild, Ages 9-11: Exploration of water environments throughout the Arboretum
Buzz, Flutter, Crawl, Ages 6-8: Dive into the world of insects by catching and identifying bugs in the fields, woods, and ponds.
Weird and Wacky Wildlife, Ages 9-11: Uncover the hidden wildlife mysteries of scat, owl pellets, decomposers and more!
Green Thumbs, Ages 12-14: Build hypertufa troughs, construct organic art installations, create edible containers, and design and install a garden bed for all to enjoy.
History Explorers, Ages 9-11: Dive through the centuries exploring prehistoric fossils, the rich history of The Dawes Arboretum, and your own genealogy. Campers will travel back in time to uncover what life was like in the past through exciting hands-on experiences.
Find out all of the details on the website.
Spring Star Party
April 11-15 (date will be determined based on clearest night) 8:30 – 10pm
Explore the night sky at The Arboretum with a local astronomer and learn to identify popular spring constellations. Some telescopes and binoculars will be provided, but please feel free to bring your own.
Tickets are $12. Members can log into account to receive member discount. Details here.
Arbor Day Events
Saturday, April 29 | 11am – 3pm.
Celebrate Arbor Day with all things trees with hands-on activities, mini-talks from our plant experts, tree climbing, music and more! Plus, visitors will get a sneak peek at the new 2023 History Center exhibit. There will be food trucks on site for you and your family to purchase food! More information is to come.
Admission to The Dawes Arboretum is free on April 30 courtesy of presenting sponsor, Park National Bank. See details here.
Preschool Storybook Science
Thursdays through May 4, 10 am – 11 am
45 minute sessions may include songs, games, crafts, creative movement, outdoor exploration and hands-on science discovery suitable for children ages 3-5 and their caregiver. Details here.
Wagon Tours at Dawes
Saturdays, through June 17, 2023 at 1 pm
Sunday, June 18, 2023 for Father’s Day
The Dawes Arboretum will hold hour-long wagon tours each Saturday throughout the season. The tours will showcase sights and sounds of nature, from blossoming flowers, to greenery and wildlife, and will feature a new tour guide each week.
Tickets for the spring wagon tours are $5 per person and free for children ages 5 and under. Tickets can be purchased in the Visitors Center prior to the start of the tour.
Spring Plant Sale
Saturday, May 20, 2023 from 9 am – 2 pm.
The sale will feature a great selection of plants well suited to spring planting, especially native plants that are perfect for growing in Ohio landscapes. The sale will also include a variety of trees, shrubs and annuals, while supplies last!
Arboretum experts will be available to assist with plant care and selection questions. Read more about the Dawes Spring Plant Sale.
Pop-Up Exhibits at Dawes
Pop-up exhibits are included with Arboretum admission. See events calendar for upcoming events.
March 18 and 19 | 11am – 2pm: Turtle Talk
March 25 and 26 | 11am – 2pm: Duck, Duck, Goose
April 1 and 2 | 11am – 2pm: In a Drop of Pond Water
April 8 and 9 | 11am – 2pm: Pretty Poisons
Apr 15 and 16 | 11am – 2pm: Plants That Aren’t Green and Other Oddities
April 22 and 23 | 11am – 2pm: Hot or Not – Climate Change in Ohio
April 29 and 30 | 11am – 2pm: Know Your Trees
May 6 and 7 | 11am – 2pm: The Buzz on Bees and Wasps
Ma 13 and 14 | 11am – 2pm: Building the Best Nest
May 20 and 21 | 11am – 2pm: Birds of Prey
May 27 and 28 | 11am – 2pm: Life Under a Log