BY KRISTEN BOWER

In the height of summer it may be tempting to stay indoors with the AC on max, yet outside the arboretum is full of activity and excitement. Butterflies, bees, sphinx moths, and hummingbirds are creating quite a buzz and flowers are blooming profusely. Don’t miss out on all that summer has to offer. Besides, there are many ways to stay cool.

 

Shady Places:

Being in an arboretum means there is an abundance of shade. A few of my favorite shady areas are highlighted below. There are many more, so come see for yourself. Just remember, when visiting on hot days bring sunglasses and/or a hat, your sunscreen, and a bottle of water.

 

• The Sculpture Garden and Dawn Redwoods are my first go-to areas on hot days because they have plenty of large trees that cast many shadows. The Stone Seat Bridge is cool to the touch and it can be mentally refreshing to watch the water flow along the creek.

 

 

• The chairs on the porch of the Log Cabin are a popular place to relax in the shade, while the benches in the Orange Balustrade are usually quieter, making you feel like you are in an open-air chapel amongst the trees.

 

• The Out on a Limb elevated walkway is high enough to catch cool breezes, yet is still under the leaves of the trees, providing ample shade. 

 

 

• Enjoy the tree canopy and cooling sound of water fountains at Lydia’s Seat, which is in a secluded part of the Rose Garden, and at Mercury’s Loggia. The Grotto underneath the Loggia is cool and quiet.

 

 

Cold Refreshments:

• You can find refreshing beverages at the Compton Café, as well as a covered area to sit and enjoy a light snack. There is also a water fountain downstairs in the Visitor Center.

 

Cool Shopping:

• Take refuge from the heat in the cool, air-conditioned gift shop in the Widener Visitor Center. They have great books on gardening, trees, beekeeping, and other nature-related topics, as well as a variety of unique gifts. You can also find toys and activity books to keep the kids entertained during their summer break.

 

 

Evening Activities:

• Too hot to go out during the day? Enjoy a summer evening while learning about the night sky in Stargazing at the Arboretum (link) on Thursday, July 28th from 8:30-10pm.

• Join in a variety of “Late Night” fun in the early evening, when the sun is lower and less tortuous, each Wednesday now through August 31st . Events range from a Plein Air Paint Party, to a night of jazz and Latin music, to learning about distilling essential oils from local trees and plants. Visit the calendar page (link) for more information.