The Arboretum is a treasured place of sanctuary and respite, even more so during such stressful times. While the Graham Visitors Center is currently closed and our normal volunteer programs and events are suspended, the Arboretum grounds remain open to the public.
On April 8, the City closed all parking lots in the Arboretum and seven other Seattle destination parks to lessen crowding. However, in early July, most of the Arboretum parking lots were reopened, including the Birch Lot and Wilcox Bridge Lot (both on Lake Washington Boulevard) and the gravel lots along Foster Island Road. The parking lot at the Graham Visitors Center remains closed to everyone, except summer camp education staff. The lot won’t open to the public until the Graham Visitors Center reopens.
City residents are encouraged to use their local parks and bike/walk to destination parks for their much-needed Nature RX. When you visit any public park, it’s crucial to practice social distancing and keep at least six feet from other individuals.
As of April 16, park visitors are also required to “keep it moving” in order to prevent crowding. Picnicking is now prohibited at the Arboretum and other Seattle parks. Sixty Parks Ambassadors have been deployed at major parks (including the Arboretum) to remind people to social distance and not gather. These ambassadors will take hourly data on usage, and parks will be closed if usage is too high.
On May 7, the City announced that it will be closing major parks—including the Arboretum—at 8 p.m. every evening (instead of 11:30 p.m.) through the end of the City and State’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order (May 31). For summer, parks are now closing at 9:30 p.m.
If you can’t make it the Arboretum to enjoy the spectacular azaleas, rhododendrons, and dogwoods in bloom, follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see regular photos and videos of treasured plants and scenery.
Help us care for the plant collection and park by following Arboretum visitor guidelines. Please don’t pick flowers, prune plants, climb trees, or step in planting beds. And keep dogs on a leash.
As part of the Arboretum COVID-19 response, City and UW gardening staff reduced operations to essential functions only. This included the work of the Foundation-funded arborists, who will monitor the woody plant collection for potential safety hazards. In mid-May, most of the gardeners returned to work and are following strict safety and social distancing guidelines.
The Foundation staff continues to work remotely and to focus on our mission to preserve the Arboretum. If you have any needs, questions, or concerns, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In accordance with Governor Inslee’s emergency order, the Visitors Center will be closed until further notice. We will send any important updates as soon as we have them.
In the meantime, stay healthy and safe!