The Dawes Arboretum (Newark)

The Dawes Arboretum is a collection of nearly 16,000 trees and shrubs spread over 1,800 acres in Newark.  The Arboretum was founded in 1929 by Beman and Bertie Dawes and was inspired by the couple’s love of trees and nature.  Beman Dawes’ aim was to inspire people to plant trees when he bought 140 acres of the old Brumback farm in Licking County around 1917.  By the time Dawes Arboretum was founded in 1929, it was 293 acres.  And now it’s 1,800 acres.

Story Trail follows the children's book "Maple" by Lori Nichols as there are around two dozen of these story boards/pages from the book as you walk along the trail.
Story Trail follows the children’s book “Maple” by Lori Nichols as there are around two dozen of these story boards/pages from the book as you walk along the trail.

The Arboretum says it’s a museum without walls and that’s probably a good way to put it.  And while 1,800 acres is a lot, there are two driving tours on the grounds that are around 4 miles total.  The North and South Driving Tours don’t connect directly to each other but are around 2 miles each and both have places along the tours to park so that you can get out and see parts of the garden up close.

Along the North Driving Tour is Holly Hill, not named for anyone named Holly but for the plants, of which I found over two dozen Hollies here and in fact Dawes Arboretum is an official Holly Arboretum as recognized by the Holly Society of America.
Along the North Driving Tour is Holly Hill, not named for anyone named Holly but for the plants, of which I found over two dozen Hollies here and in fact Dawes Arboretum is an official Holly Arboretum as recognized by the Holly Society of America.

On May 30, 2015, the Japanese Gardens opened after a two-year closure for renovations.  Makoto Nakamura designed the Gardens in 1963 and offered input on the renovations over four days in the summer of 2014.  Input such as proper Japanese pruning techniques and the placement of the rocks around the pond.

The Japanese Gardens are a popular attraction at Dawes Arboretum says Executive Director Luke Messinger. "It's a visitor favorite. It has a really cool place in people’s hearts,” Messinger said. "The Japanese Garden is kind of unique. It's a hide and reveal garden, so when someone walks in, they might say: ‘Oh, that doesn’t look like much.’ But you head further in and you get to the reveal."
The Japanese Gardens are a popular attraction at Dawes Arboretum says Executive Director Luke Messinger. “It’s a visitor favorite. It has a really cool place in people’s hearts,” Messinger said. “The Japanese Garden is kind of unique. It’s a hide and reveal garden, so when someone walks in, they might say: ‘Oh, that doesn’t look like much.’ But you head further in and you get to the reveal.”

There are eight themed areas within Dawes Arboretum:  Garden Gateway (where the Japanese Gardens among other sites are located), Daweswood, Glacier Ridge, Woodlands, Dawes Lake, Red Barn area, Arboretum East, and Dutch Fork Wetlands.

Also in the Garden Gateway is the Cypress Swamp which is one of the northernmost bald-cypress swamps in North America.
Also in the Garden Gateway is the Cypress Swamp which is one of the northernmost bald-cypress swamps in North America.

There is a Visitors Center on the right shortly after you enter through the gates.  Not the first right as that leads to Daweswood and the Red Barn area but the Center is right on the driveway that you enter on and next to the parking area.  They have maps like you would expect as well as soft drinks/sports drinks/bottled water for sale as well as shirts and walking sticks, among other things for sale.  Restrooms are also in the Visitors Center.

Dawes Lake is an 8-acre pond with an island. The fish species found in Dawes Lake are bluegill, channel catfish, largemouth bass, some crappie and white amur (for vegetation control). Catch-and-release fishing in Dawes Lake is permitted if you are a member of the Arboretum. Memberships start at $30.
Dawes Lake is an 8-acre pond with an island. The fish species found in Dawes Lake are bluegill, channel catfish, largemouth bass, some crappie and white amur (for vegetation control). Catch-and-release fishing in Dawes Lake is permitted if you are a member of the Arboretum. Memberships start at $30.

The Dawes Arboretum
7770 Jacksontown Rd. SE
Newark, Ohio 43056

Hours: The Arboretum opens at 7 AM daily, entry for the Auto Tour ends at 8 PM.  The grounds close at sunset.  It is closed for New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.  The Visitors Center is open 8 AM – 5 PM Monday-Saturday and 10 AM – 5 PM on Sundays and holidays.

Admission:  Free

Parking:  Free

Distance from Ohio cities:

  • 40 miles East of Columbus
  • 151 miles Northeast of Cincinnati
  • 145 miles South-Southwest of Cleveland
  • 125 miles South-Southwest of Akron
  • 165 miles Southeast of Toledo

 

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