Sunshine beckons nature enthusiasts to venture outside for fresh air, a walk or a drive. The Dawes Arboretum near Newark provides the perfect escape. Here you can walk the paths or slowly drive through their four mile auto trail without hurrying as speed limit is 15 mph.
Azaleas and magnolias bloomed around every bend, it seemed, on a recent spring trip there. Daffodils flourished in their gardens and banks were covered in a blanket of violets.
The Dawes Arboretum began through the efforts of Beman and Bertie Dawes back in 1929. Due to their love of trees and shrubs, they wanted to create a place where a large variety of trees would have a home. This nature haven is dedicated to increasing the knowledge of trees, history and the natural world.
Their Visitors Center is a great place to start your visit and pick up a map to guide you through the 1800 acres. It includes a nice Discovery Center to learn more about the plants and animals in this part of Ohio. A viewing window overlooks the Certified Wildlife Habitat outside so you can watch birds and small animals as they live in their natural world.
All-Seasons Garden right behind the Visitors Center features seasonal flowers throughout the year from daffodils to mums. Name plates are found near the flowers and trees for easy identification. There are many places to sit, relax and enjoy the peacefulness as you take time to smell the roses.
Their summer home, Daweswood House, can still be toured on weekends. The garden at the home maintains the flowers that Bertie planted long ago. They’re accurate as Bertie kept a journal describing what she was planting.
A new addition near the home expands their educational ability. The Zand Center provides a learning garden to hold classes for students mainly, but can also be used for adults. Many field trips stop here to learn about the bonsai trees or give children an opportunity to create their own planter.
One of my favorite places to wander here is the Japanese Garden. The peacefulness surrounds you as you walk around the lake with blossoming trees and stone paths.
A highlight of the arboretum is their 2,040 foot long, six foot high hedge forming the letters DAWES ARBORETUM. Beman had this designed for the enjoyment of planes flying into the Columbus Airport. An observation tower close by gives a great view of the hedge letters.
A surprise waits in the form of Bald Cypress Swamp, not something you would expect to find in Ohio. This is thought to be the most northern cypress swamp in North America. The bumps you see coming out of the water have given these trees a special nickname – Trees with Knees. A boardwalk gives guests a chance to get an up close look at the bald cypress trees as well as the creatures in the water.
Families were enjoying the day as children played on the banks. Picnics were popular. The most popular activity here is walking, with over twelve miles of hiking trails. People were walking their dogs, pushing their little ones in strollers, or listening to their headsets while they did some power walking. The paths are easy with most being paved.
Meander through the grounds any time of the year surrounded by the beauties of nature at Dawes Arboretum with over 16,000 living plants. It’s open 362 days a year and admission is free. You’ll want to come back each season!
Dawes Arboretum is located off I-70 at exit 132, OH-13 North. After about five miles north, the arboretum can be found on the left side of the road at 7770 Jacksontown Road. If you enjoy nature, you are certain to enjoy a visit here.