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.
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.
There’s also an indoor and comfortable bird-watching sitting area, and children’s exploration area in the basement of the visitor center.
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.
Take a drive through to explore the various gardens. There are parking areas throughout the Auto Tour so you can get out and explore.
Upcoming Events at Dawes
“Avian Avatars” by The Myth Makers
Exhibit opening May 27 – Spring 2023. The Dawes Arboretum will welcome six monumental sculptures from artists The Myth Makers, with the exhibit scheduled to open to the public on May 27.
The bamboo birds— some standing more than 20 feet tall—are currently being 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 will be 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.
Little Buckeyes Imagination Station
Wednesdays, May – August 12, from 10-11 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!
Station activities are included with admission and no advance registration is required. See full schedule here.
StoryTrail™ Opening 2022
Saturday, June 4 from 10 am – 12 pm.
Visit The Arboretum on June 4 to walk the 2022 StoryTrail™! This year’s trail features We Planted A Tree by Diane Muldrow. Each engaging sign on the trail tells a portion of a children’s story about two families and the power of trees. Plus, Arboretum admission will be free for children aged 15 and younger from 10am to 12pm on June 4.
The first 150 families will receive a tree seedling from The Dawes Arboretum to plant in your own landscape (while supplies last). Plus, the Licking County Library will join us for crafts and reading related fun.
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.
Little Sprouts: Forest Friends, Ages 5-6: Wilderness exploration and crafts
Wilderness Survival, Ages 12-14: Outdoor survival with lessons in wild edibles, shelter building and navigation
Wizarding Wonders, Ages 6-8: Studies of real life creatures (and some magical ones) and their habitats
Art in Nature Camp, Ages 6-8: Exploration of colors and textures to create unique artwork
Wet ‘n Wild, Ages 9-11: Exploration of water environments throughout the Arboretum
Find out all of the details on the website.
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. Admission tickets must be rescheduled 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 2022 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.
- Individual +1: $40 per year
- Family Membership: $60 per year
- Photographers who use The Arboretum for business purposes (including photo shoots and nature photography), are required to purchase a photography membership. Photography memberships come with 60 individual shoot passes. $100
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
Sunday Strolls: Sundays, May – September, from 1-2 pm. During this 45-minute guided, walking tour, visitors will get an overview of The Arboretum, learn what plants are blooming and discover what they can see and do during their visit.
Discovering the Magic of Monarchs
Saturday, September 4 | 12 – 3:00pm
Bring the family for this drop in Monarch program. Tour our pollinator spaces, net some butterflies, tag and release monarchs onsite and take home a pollinator craft. Learn about monarchs and other butterflies found at the Arboretum, our conservation efforts and how you can help these butterflies in your own spaces.
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
Saturday, October 9 | 11am – 1pm
Saturday, October 16 | 11am – 1pm
Grab some cider, and jump on for 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 our collections and Arboretum history! Seats on the wagon are limited and space is first come first serve. These tours are included with Arboretum admission.
Pop-Up Exhibit: Spooky Critters: Snakes, Spiders, and Bats
October 14, 15, 16 | 1 – 5pm
Take a look at some of the treasures that nature has to offer in autumn and dive into some of the biology, ecology, history and chemistry that make these natural happenings so special. A vast majority of people have a fear of at least one of these three spooky critters. We will dispel myths, get into the history and psychology surrounding this fear and learn how to identify the few dangerous species you might find in Ohio.
October 16 – 31, 2021
Ex–Straw–Dinary Scarecrows are returning to The Dawes Arboretum from October 16-October 31. More than 50 custom-outfitted scarecrows will line the Parkwoods Trail and guests will be able to vote on their favorite one
Family Tree and Me: Fall Leaves
Saturday, October 16 | 12:30 – 2:30pm
Tour the Sala Bosworth exhibit and hunt for the connections as you complete a Dawes family tree. Test your skills as you fill in the family tree interactive board. Work as a family to complete your own family tree using real fall leaves! This program is included with Arboretum admission.
Pop-Up Exhibit: Fall Foliage – Chemistry of Color
October 21, 22 and 24 | 1 – 5pm
Take a look at some of the treasures that nature has to offer in autumn and dive into some of the biology, ecology, history and chemistry that make these natural happenings so special. What gives the leaves their bright fall colors? And why are some years better than others? Explore these questions and get the scoop on the best places to go to see the fall foliage at its best.
Trick or Trees
October 27 | 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!
Pop-Up Exhibit: Mimics: Animals Playing Dress-Up
October 28, 29 and 30 | 1 – 5pm
Take a look at some of the treasures that nature has to offer in autumn and dive into some of the biology, ecology, history and chemistry that make these natural happenings so special. When camouflage just doesn’t cut it, mimicry is an adaptation that a huge variety of animals have evolved to avoid predation. Learn about the different types of mimicry and some of the most interesting examples.
Not So Scary Halloween Hike
Saturday, October 30 | 5 – 6:30pm
Wear your costumes, bring the family and join us for a short hike through the woods at dusk. We’ll point out all the wonders of The Arboretum as the sun sets over the woods, and end our hike with a campfire by the Dawes log cabin.
Fall Foliage Stroll
Thursday, Nov. 11 and Sunday, Nov. 14 | 1-2:30 pm
Squeeze the last little bit out of fall in the cool, crispy air on a guided walk through the North End of The Arboretum to take in the seasonal color. The Fall Foliage Stroll is included with the price of admission.
The Turkey Trail Challenge
Friday, November 26 | 9 a.m. to 4 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).
Annual Holiday Greenery Workshop
Friday, Dec. 3 from 2-4 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 4 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Create your own wreath and all the trimmings with seasonal evergreens. Decorate with all the fixins, and go home with a lush and colorful wreath for your front door. The event will sell out quickly!
Winter Wonder Walks
Fridays and Saturdays, Dec 3 – 18 | 6 pm – 9 pm
The paved Parkwoods Trail path will be lit with illuminated trees to enjoy the season and the beginning of winter.
Registration is open for Winter Wonder Walks, a holiday favorite. Both members and non-members must register and reserve a time slot online for the Winter Wonder Walks event; tickets will not be sold at the gate.
The walk is approximately one mile and shuttle vans will not be available. Reservations and additional information are available at www.dawesarb.org.
Maple Syrup Days at Dawes Arboretum
February 26 and 27, 2022 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. Tours are included with admission, and are first come, first served.
Preschool Storybook Science
Thursdays through May 5, 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.
Free Admission on EARTH DAY! April 22. 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 Star Party
Friday, April 22 | 8:30 – 10pm
In collaboration with local astronomy experts and The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology, search for stars in the spring sky. Telescopes and star guides will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own. Tickets are $12. Members can log into account to receive member discount.
Arbor Day Events
Saturday, April 30 | 11am – 3pm. Celebrate all things trees with hands-on activities for kids, mini-talks from our plant experts, tree climbing, live music and more! They are giving away tree seedlings (while supplies last) and food trucks will have food for purchase. Plus, visitors will get a sneak peek at the new History Center exhibit.
Admission to The Dawes Arboretum is free on April 30 courtesy of presenting sponsor, Park National Bank. See 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.