The 4,000-acres that make up Cornell Botanic Gardens are free to explore and are full of opportunities to learn about plants and environmental conservation. This area on Cornell University’s campus, previously know as “Cornell Plantations”, includes 12 specialty gardens around the Nevin Welcome Center, the 100-acre F.R. Newman Arboretum, and surrounding natural areas.
Unfortunately, we did not leave nearly enough time to explore the area fully, though I can’t say I regret spending too much time at Ithaca’s gorges and waterfalls! We absolutely need to go back and dedicate more time to the gardens and trails around Beebe Lake that go over the Sackett and Triphammer Foot Bridges.
F.R. Newman Arboretum
You can drive through the arboretum and appreciate the beauty from your vehicle. You can also walk the trails through a diverse collection of trees and shrubs, over rolling terrain with beautiful views of the meadows, ponds, and sculptures. Either way, it is worth the trip!
More information about Cornell Botanic Gardens
- Cost: Free
- Located in Ithaca, 120 minutes / 90 miles from Rochester (get directions)
- Maps from Ithaca Trails
- More information: cornellbotanicgardens.org
- Even more public gardens for you to explore!
Try these if you’re short on time
The Cornell Botanic Garden website offers these suggestions to help focus your day trip. No matter what your particular interest or time frame is, here are their recommendations for things to see and do during your visit.
- Garden Inspiration: Want inspiration for your home garden or landscape?
- Native Plants: Interested in upstate New York’s native plants?
- Time Limit: Only have an hour or two?
- Family Fun: Visiting with family?
- Birding: Enjoy birdwatching?
- Scenic Spots: Looking for a scenic spot to sit and reflect?
- Hiking: Want to take a nature hike?