Arboretum Offers Free Admission in January

Start off  the New Year with a visit to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, a place for inspiration in all seasons. As an added incentive, the Arboretum is offering free gate admission to all visitors during the entire month of January 2015. 

Get into – or out of – the winter at the Arboretum.  Explore indoors....stay warm and enjoy a 25' tall tree covered with orchids in the Great Hall, sip hot chocolate or try a warm bowl of soup in the Arboretum Restaurant. Check out the Gift Store and save 10% when you present your current Arboretum member card. Visit the Andersen Horticultural Library for Thursday storytimes (for all ages) and an impressive collection of seed catalogs to plan your dream garden. Explore outdoors...try the 16 miles of snowshoe or cross-country ski trails. This year, choose from a new selection of snowshoe and pole rentals--available in the Info Center.

PLEASE NOTE: No pets or horses are allowed on Arboretum grounds, except dogs assisting people with disabilities. Dogs are allowed on designated All About Dogs Day events.

Here are 31 reasons to visit the Arboretum in January 2015:

1. Free admission every day in January for you and your family and friends. 

2. Sixteen miles of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Plus, snowshoe rentals! Rated Best Place to Snowshoe by Mpls. St. Paul magazine and Best Classic Ski place by Minnesota Monthly magazine.

3. Beautiful Orchid Tree and Display in the Great Hall of the Visitor Center, Jan. 10-Feb. 8.

4. Bring the kids for “Plant Partnerships” during Weekend Family Fun at the Learning Center. Drop in between Noon and 4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in January to learn how migrating and non-migrating species find sustenance in winter. Free! 

5. "Best of the Arboretum Seasons" show and sale by Arboretum Photographers Society, Restaurant Gallery, Jan. 9 - April 6. Drop-in photo clinic weekend schedule to be announced.

6. “Holiday Spirits” art exhibit showcasing the spirit of the holiday and beauty of winter. Featuring Minnesota, national and international artists in the Reedy Gallery. Runs through January 25.

7. Tasty Arboretum chowder, salads, sandwiches and more in the Arboretum Restaurant. Saturday breakfasts and Sunday brunches on weekend. 

8. Free yoga session for Members!  Noon on Thursday, Jan. 1, and Sunday Jan. 18 in the Fireplace Room, Snyder Building. 

9. Shopping the Arboretum Gift Store for unique jewelry, home and garden décor, and books! Join as an Arboretum member and get a 10% discount on most store merchandise.

10. Walking the groomed paths through the perennial and wildflower gardens and seeing nature's handiwork in the intricate bark patterns on birch, coffee trees and more. 

11. Enjoying the stark contrasts and dramatic settings - bright red berries, red osier dogwood, vivid conifers against the snowy white backdrop. 

12. Saying hi to winter wildlife - wild turkeys, woodpeckers, tree sparrows, snow buntings, juncos and even a hardy robin or two. Most are visible through the Arboretum Restaurant windows.

13. Discounts on holiday merchandise in the Arboretum Gift Store. 

14. Special guided walks to the Sculpture Garden. Check class schedule for details.

15. Knit and Stitch with the Arboretum auxiliary! Spend a winter morning by the fireplace, chatting, knitting or hand-sewing with the fabulous designers and crafters of the Arboretum Auxiliary. This event takes place every other Wednesday beginning, Jan. 14 and through March 25, from 10 a.m. to noon. The first date is in the Carlson Dining Room, and all others will take place in the Snyder Building’s Fireplace Room.  All levels of experience from beginners to advanced are welcome.  Auxiliary members share their techniques and answer questions.  For more information, call 612-625-9865.

16. Free wi-fi!  Bring your laptop and relax in the Restaurant.... your home away from home.

17. Visiting the Snyder Building's Meyer-Deats Conservatory - filled with orchids, bromeliads and more!

18. Excelsior Winter Farmer's Market, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 3 in the Visitor Center's Great Hall. More than 20 local vendors will display and sell their seasonal offerings, including root vegetables, jams and preserves, honey, cheeses, knit textiles, jewelry,  baked goods and more. Free with gate admission.

19. Bringing the kids for StoryTime every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. in Andersen Horticultural Library.

20. Sipping hot chocolate by the Restaurant fireplace and tackling a jigsaw puzzle.  Have you tried the Arboretum Restaurant's freshly baked, irresistible scones and macademia nut & white chocolate cookies? Yum!

21. Retreating to Andersen Horticultural Library, opening a few gardening books and catalogs and imagining the possibilities for your 2015 garden.  While you're in the library, run your fingers over the handcrafted wood furniture by master furniture-maker George Nakashima and marvel at its beauty.

22. Honing your gardening skills through a "Science of Gardening" class on the biology of seeds with popular instructor Jim Calkins on Saturday, Jan. 31, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. www.arboretum.umn.edu/gardeningclasses.aspx or 612-301-1210.

23. Visiting the Marion Andrus Learning Center and enjoying the kid-friendly exhibits. Experiencing the Green Play Yard in its winter beauty and the warmth of the tropical "please touch" greenhouse.

24. Hiking Three-Mile Drive to view the stunning Harrison Sculpture Garden in a snowy setting.   

25. Making a delicious winter dinner with Scott Graden, Chef and Proprietor of the New Scenic Cafe. Chef Graden will share his cooking artistry and knowledge of local food sourcing, and his new cookbook will be available for sale and signing, .

26. Enjoying a leisurely Sunday Brunch of delicious hot entrees and a carving station at the Arboretum Restaurant from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday through the winter.

27. Checking out the Arboretum Japanese Garden - the epitome of winter serenity.

28. Learning the "Fundamentals of Seasonal Garden Maintenance" Saturday, Jan. 24, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. with Arboretum expert horticulturist Jeffrey L. Johnson. $41 member / $55 non-member. 612-301-1210 or www.arboretum.umn.edu/gardeningclasses.aspx.

29. Bringing friends and/or family to the Arboretum's cozy Tea Room for Traditional Tea on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2:30-4 p.m.. Sip hot tea served with lemon and cream served continuously, while sampling an assortment sweets and savories. $26/$29. Reserve at 612-301-7602.

30. “Winter is for the Birds”! Check out the birdhouses and birdseed at the Arboretum Gift Store.

31.Sunday Supper on January 18, 4-6 p.m. featuring classic favorites and comfort foods, served family-style in the Arboretum Restaurant. $17.99 per person, ages 8 and under eat free.  No gate admission if only coming for Sunday Supper.  

Renew your Arboretum membership or become a first-time Arboretum member in January and receive special perks. 

Special perk: with each renewal or new membership, receive two free VIP admission passes. 

Memberships start at $49. Benefits include admission reciprocity at arboreta and gardens around the country and a complimentary Member Appreciation Event on Feb. 14, 2015.