The North Carolina Arboretum is quickly becoming a favorite destination for guests who want to get outside to appreciate nature, but don’t necessarily want to hike up a mountain. It’s also on Brigette’s list of favorite spots around Asheville.

For anyone wondering what an arboretum is, it’s a place where plants and trees are grown for scientific research and educational purposes, and for the enjoyment of visitors to the arboretum. The NC Arboretum sits on 434 acres. It has several gardens and hiking/biking/walking trails (some that are pet friendly) and a fantastic bonsai exhibit. They also offer regular educational programs, tours, garden demonstrations and workshops.

There are many activities going on right now at the Arboretum, but there are two that we’ve been hearing good things about from guests so we wanted to pass them along:

The Asheville Amblers 10k Self-Guided Hike is a 6.2-mile tour of the Arboretum’s gardens and woodland areas that you can take at your own pace. This is one of the best ways to see what the Arboretum has to offer. Stop by the Arboretum’s information desks at the Baker Exhibit Center and Education Center for a map and instructions. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Kaleidoscope: Contemporary Landscape Sculpture is the Arboretum’s third major juried sculpture show and runs through October. The exhibit features thirteen sculpture by ten regional artists. Narrative from the Arboretum’s website sums it up quite nicely:

“Just as the kaleidoscope – a favorite childhood toy – offers a changeable scene when looking through the mirrored tube, outdoor sculpture can change the view of a landscape by its presence and our position in relation to the piece.”

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