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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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