Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor is great place for kids to explore nature

Fish pond at Matthaei Botanical Gardens (Dave Bartkowiak Jr./All About Ann Arbor)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - If you're looking for a nice, free activity to do with young children, then a trip to the University of Michigan's Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor is a must.

This place has sprawling outdoor gardens, a special children's garden with nature trails, a conservatory and a gift shop. There is an overwhelming amount of tree and plant species both inside the conservatory and outside in the sprawling gardens. 

There is also a fish pond inside the conservatory. 

Where is it?

The Matthaei Botanical Gardens is located at 1800 North Dixboro Road in Ann Arbor. It's just south of the Village of Dixboro. It's actually a quick 15-minute drive from downtown Plymouth. 

If you're heading south on Dixboro Road the gardens will be on your left. There is a nice driveway leading up to the visitor's center. 

Here's when to go 

The place is open at 10 a.m. daily, Monday through Sunday. It closes at 8 p.m. each day. 


There is metered parking out front in the parking lots. There is ample parking in the two lots. 


As previously mentioned, admission is free. However, you will have to pay for metered parking and donations are encouraged. 

This place has a great bonsai tree display

Bonsai at Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor. (Dave Bartkowiak Jr./All About Ann Arbor)

One of the many highlights of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens is the bonsai and penjing garden. There are more than 70 plants in this garden. 

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