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University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, Madison
(4.7/5 based on 170+ reviews on the web)
The University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum, 1260acre, is an arboretum operated by the University of Wisconsin–Madison and located at 1207 Seminole Highway, Madison, Wisconsin. The arboretum is open to the public daily without charge.The arboretum was established in the early 1930s on farmland fields and pastures, when the university decided to re-establish natural landscapes upon the site. From 1935 to 1941 crews from the Civilian Conservation Corps provided most of the labor to accomplish this task. Today the arboretum describes its collection of restored ecosystems as not only the oldest but also the most extensive in the United States.Prairies and savannasMore than 300 species of native plants that once dominated the landscape of southern Wisconsin have been restored to the arboretum's prairies and savannas. Curtis Prairie (60 acres) - described as the world's oldest restored prairie; a tallgrass prairie with big bluestem grass and Indian grass. Greene Prairie (50 acres) - planted by prairie expert Henry Greene during the 1940s and 1950s. Marion Dunn Prairie (4 acres) - amelioration of a settling pond. Marsh Connection - transition between Curtis Prairie and wetlands. Sinaiko Overlook Prairie (5 acres) - mesic to dry-mesic prairie dominated by Indian grass. Southwest Grady Oak Savanna - southern Wisconsin fire-adapted communities. Wingra Oak Savanna - open-grown bur oaks, being restored by the replacement of its understory of non-native trees, shrubs, and weeds with grassland species.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • If you are a fan of prairie restoration, you won't want to miss the birthplace -- Curtis Prairie. You can tell a lot of work and love goes into keeping this prairie vibrant. I visited in December, dur...  more »
  • Even when fall is ending and winter is beginning, the Arboretum is perfect place to be. The colors are still beautiful and there is plenty of areas to sit on a bench and take in the scenery. But right...  more »
  • A good place to enjoy nature and learn in the process. It is best to take a tour with one of the excellent tour guides 
Google
  • Lovely fall hiking amongst a variety of heirloom trees on the front lawn note the patchwork of red, yellow, orange and gold in the fall. Hike to Icky boardwalk or turtle pond for a feeling of deep nature. There is a rumor of a lost city in the woods, see if you can find it!
  • Beautiful hiking, biking, and cross country skiing right in the middle of the city! :) Deer, cranes, turkeys, owls, butterflies - what a wonderful place to spend a few hours. Free to everyone.
  • Love the trails in all seasons! Great hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Walking through orchard last we saw sand hills cranes and a flock of turkeys!
  • Yet another gem for the public in Madison. Great spot for trails, prairie and a visitor center for great info. Visit in the spring and fall to see the bloom and leaves. Perfect on road biking and running on the main road.
  • Gorgeous and relaxing!