What It Is
Nichols Arboretum, also known as “the Arb,” is a 123-acre "living museum" nestled in the hills adjacent to U-M's Central Campus. The historic 1906 design by O.C. Simonds celebrates the dramatic topography. Long views are framed by the Arb's collection of Michigan native plants and plants from around the world. Visitors can enjoy hundreds of species of plants native to Michigan, as well as collections of horticultural varieties of plants and plants native to other parts of North America. Animals ranging from deer to fox to flying squirrels are also found here. The Arb is particularly known as a spot for birding, especially during the spring warbler migration.
Why You Should Know
The extensive living collections of the U-M Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum are the core of the institution. These collections include more than 5,000 plants representing the diversity of plant life found on Earth, the major biomes of the world, the horticultural traditions of Michigan, and the pre-settlement ecosystems of the southern Great Lakes. All these plants, gardens, landscapes, and natural areas are teaching and research tools available to U-M students and faculty for all avenues of intellectual inquiry.
The Arb is particularly known for its historic Peony Collection, Heathdale Collection (species primarily from the Appalachian area), and the Dow Prairie.
Admission to the Nichols Arboretum is free. Adjacent to Central Campus, visitors may enter the “Arb” on Geddes or through the Washington Heights entrance behind the U-M Medical Center.
A 2004 installation of a half-mile-long line of daffodils planted by community volunteers that meanders up and down the Arb’s hillsides is beautiful to behold in Spring, typically blooming in May. In early June, the Arb’s Peony Garden, consisting of 234 varieties in the 27 beds, takes center stage with a remarkable display of color and fragrance. Shakespeare in the Arb outdoor theater productions are another highlight in summer. Guided tours of the Arb are offered year round.