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Bartlett Arboretum, Belle Plaine

4.9
#11 of 21 in Wildlife in Kansas
The Bartlett Arboretum (20 acres; 8 hectares) is a historic, nonprofit arboretum located in Belle Plaine, Kansas, United States. It is privately owned, and open to the public regularly, as well as upon special request.

The Arboretum was established in 1910 by Dr. Walter Bartlett, a general practitioner from Belle Plaine, who purchased pastureland to create his own arboretum. In the 1930s the arboretum became an approved test site for the United States Department of Agriculture which provided plants and trees from around the world for hardiness tests.

The Arboretum now contains massive cypress, oaks and champion Japanese maples. Its steward is Robin Lynn Macy, otherwise known as a founding member of the Dixie Chicks bluegrass and country music group.

It was developed over many years, from relatively barren land with water only in a slough. Early in the process, Bartlett formed a dam and also built 4 islands in the slough.
According to the National Park Service:

The Bartlett Arboretum is a private fifteen acre park in rural Belle Plaine, Kansas, that evolved in early 20th century from a recreational park and conservation area to an arboretum with formal gardens and experimental plots and nurseries. The arboretum largely reflects the influences of professional landscape architect and horticulturist Glenn Bartlett, his wife and floral expert Margaret Bartlett, and Glenn’s father who first purchased the property in 1910 to be used as a public athletic field for the small community and as a natural reserve complete with water fowl and non-indigenous trees. After years of being under maintained, the Bartlett Arboretum is currently being restored with the goal for it to serve as an educational and events space.

The property was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on April 19, 2010. The listing was announced as the featured listing in the National Park Service's weekly list of May 7, 2010.
Make Bartlett Arboretum a centerpiece of your Belle Plaine vacation itinerary, and find what else is worth visiting using our Belle Plaine online route planner.
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Bartlett Arboretum Reviews

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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5.0
19 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • I have known the folks who keep this place going, for years, but never had the occasion to visit. I went for a concert last week and was impressed! I hope to bring family back to visit when we are in....  more »
  • We had half an afternoon. Took the whole bus and begged a group rate. The arboretum was more than expected. Good horticulture displays, plus silly LEGO sculptures. Lots of memorable photos.  more »
  • Right here was the answer given by Robin Macy, operator of the arboretum. This speaks mountains about this place of rest and quiet beauty. Definitely worth getting off the beaten track to spend a...  more »
Google
  • Amazing gardens and a tranquil setting aside from a few trains. This garden is great to explore, they really nailed the layout with many different areas to explore from formal stone or brick footpaths to small secluded paths through the trees. Children will have something to do as well aside from exploring the gardens because of the numerous child oriented activities. Enjoy the gardens and spend some time there resting on one of the many benches, tables and swings.
  • Beautiful slice of nature. Worth the drive! I can't wait to check out their outdoor concerts this season!
  • This is a wonderful place to go any time they're open, whether or not there's a specific event going on. Not only is it beautiful there in general, but the atmosphere created by the visitors, volunteers, and the caretaker, Robin Macy, is just special. It's very well maintained and a great place to just relax and appreciate life. Plus, there are some great music concerts there!
  • Absolutely beautiful place. A lot of really impressive trees and picturesque spots to see. I had been here with my school many many years ago on a field trip and was very glad to see that it was just a cool as I remembered. Don't forget to let a donation in the box so it can continue. If you're taking photos there, check the website, there are special requirements for that. Be respectful & pay back, especially if you're making a buck off your visit through photography.
  • It is beautiful ... so many places tucked away in the grounds for lovely pictures. Pleasant area to walk thru with little ones.💗

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