Frequently Asked Questions

Are you open during COVID-19?

The Arboretum Grounds remain open to the public during daylight hours (dawn - dusk) year round. We ask that you follow the posted guidelines, enforced across campus, and practice social distancing measures to keep us all safe. 

The Melva Lind Interpretive Center is currently closed to the public, which means that restrooms are not available. The Interpretive Center is open by prior appointment only. 

Is there an admission fee for the Arboretum?

Nope! We invite you to explore the trails and features of the Arboretum free of charge, however we ask that you respect the plants, features, and creatures (including other visitors!) in the Arboretum. Please see our Policies & Guidelines for more information. 

Donations are welcome! :) 

Do you have a photography policy?

Yes, we do! Because the Arboretum is a beautiful local outdoor space and is open free of charge to the public, we have many groups and individuals who love to come take photos! However, we ask that, if you are doing commercial photography (senior photos, wedding pictures, family photos), you register for an Arboretum Photography Permit. Please see our Photography Policy page for more information and to register. 

Reminders for ALL photograpers:

  • Priority to rental groups -- All photographers and wedding parties must remember that other parties who have booked and paid for private rental events may have exclusive rights to their reserved area, including the Interpretive Center.
  • Interpretive Center by reservation only -- The Interpretive Center building IS NOT available to photographers (or their clients) who have not reserved it. Information about reserving the Interpretive Center can be found here.
  • No implied endorsement -- The Arboretum does not endorse products or services. Photographs that imply endorsement are prohibited.
  • Stay near paths, but keep the pathways free -- All persons and equipment must stay near established pathways and mowed lawn areas. Avoid walking or gathering in planted gardens or habitat areas. Equipment should be kept to the side of trails to allow safe and easy passage for all visitors.
  • Benches, etc. -- If you move benches or picnic tables, please return them to their original locations.
  • Do not disturb plants -- No plants shall be picked, altered, tied up or modified in any manner with pins, tape, twine, etc. Do not move or change the position of potted plants, or remove signs/labels from planted areas.
  • No drones -- The use of drone aircraft (for any reason) is prohibited in accordance with College rules.
Can I bring my pet to the Arboretum?

We love pets too, but not in the Arboretum! Unfortunately, due to both campus policy and our own role in protecting plants and wildlife, we ask that you don't bring your pets to the Arboretum. Please see our Dog Policy page for more information. 

Do I need to register for events?

Depends on the event! As we host community events, campus/student events, and a combination of the two, this may change from event to event. Generally, for events such as the Arb Mystery Hike, the Arboretum Easter Egg Hunt, and the summer Nature Camp, registration is required and information will be provided with the event details. For events such as Fall Fest and Discover the Outdoors, we invite community members of all ages to join us for the day, no registration needed! There are several events we host that are Gustavus Student Only events; we ask community members to respect these events and to please not attend. 

For more information about specific events and any upcoming opportunities, please visit our Events page. 

How much does it cost to become an Arboretum member? What are the benefits?

We're so glad you asked! The Arboretum is primarily funded by member subscriptions and donations which allow is to provide programs, events, resources, and a beautiful outdoor space for the community. There are different levels of memberships; learn more about how to Become an Arboretum Member here! 

Regardless of your membership level, all Arboretum members receive benefits! Check out our Member Benefits page to learn more!

Do you have volunteer opportunities at the Arboretum? How can I get involved?

Yes, we do! Volunteer opportunities at the Arboretum exist in sevaral capacities, but we always welcome helping hands! The Nasturtiums (named after a flower found throughout the Arboretum) work diligently throughout the year, especially on the formal gardens, while Gustie students have participated in tulip bulb and wildflower planting, invasive species pulls, mulching, organizing and staffing community events, and serving as guides for younger student groups. 

To learn more about opportunties at the Arboretum, please visit our Get Involved page!

Can I rent the Interpretive Center or space on the Arboretum grounds?

Definitely! The Melva Lind Interpretive Center is available for reservation and rental for staff and faculty groups, student organizations, classes, community groups, and those looking for an events venue. 

To learn more, please see our Rental Information page. 

Can I host a wedding or other special occasion at the Arboretum?

Yes! Both the Interpretive Center and Arboretum grounds are used for weddings, birthdays, anniversary parties, graduation parties, organization meetings, campus and community events, and numerous other celebrations and gatherings. 

For information about facility amenities, availability, and rental options, please see Rental Information

What can the trails throughout the Arboretum be used for?

Glad you asked! With over 2.5 miles of marked trails winding throughout the Gardens, deciduous forest, coniferous woods, and Coneflower Prairie, there are a lot of options! We invite visitors to walk, run, and bike on the trails, as well as snowshoe and ski in the winter months. The trails are often groomed in the winter for skiing (when there is enough snow!), so we ask those using the trail for walking/snowshoeing to stay to the side so as not to disrupt the tracks. Please practice good trail etiquette (staying to one side, passing on the left, being vocal about passing, etc.) and be respectful of others in the Arboretum. You can find more information on our Trails page.