Photo op

Photo op

Sunfish Pond

Look for host goldfinches, sparrows, common yellowthroats, barn swallows, tree swallows, and red-winged blackbirds around Sunfish Pond and the surrounding meadow. For some cool trees, check out the bald cypresses between Sunfish Pond and Lake Jopamaca. Can you find any of this tree’s famous “knees” poking out from the wet soils?

Joy Path

This pathway offers a pleasant stroll down the West Side’s gentle hill. Enjoy a variety of gardens, graceful trees, and native woods as you descend. In the skies, you might see flycatchers and phoebes, so keep your eyes open for their distinctive hawking behavior. You may also catch a glimpse of a hairy woodpecker or a bluebird.

Lake Marmo

Sit quietly beside Lake Marmo (named after Joy Morton's wife, Margaret Morton) for peaceful reflection or great bird watching. Raptors can be seen in the treetops over the water. Waterfowl also come here, and as you continue on Main Trail Loop 2 to Joy Path, keep your eye out for colorful birds like Scarlet Tanagers by the oak savanna.

Pine Hill

The area around Pine Hill contains some of the oldest existing plantings of the Arboretum, dating from 1922 when it first opened. Here you'll find stately pines with snow covered boughs that can be enjoyed for their natural beauty In late winter. Return in early spring to look for great horned owls who have commandeered other birds' nests in which to raise their fluff-headed young.

Hemlock and Spruce Hill

This patch of West Side coniferous forest may be serene, but make sure to stay alert and keep your eyes up. You can see great-horned owls here year-round, and perhaps a northern saw-whet owl in the winter if you’re lucky. You may also see hawks at the treetops from across Lake Marmo.

Bobolink Meadow

Bobolinks may have given this grassy oasis its name, but they are not the only birds who nest in this scenic meadow. Look for bluebirds occupying the nest boxes as well. You might also find chickadees here, so listen for their pure, simple whistle of “fee-bee” or “hey, sweetie.”

Sterling Pond

Sterling Pond is a good place to spot waterfowl, including wood ducks. Relax on the wooden bridge while you look for wildlife and listen to the sounds of water passing over the dam. In the summer, keep your eyes peeled for Indigo Buntings in the small marsh just across the bridge.

Schulenberg Prairie

Step into this restored prairie to experience the first of many rich sites for bird watching at the Arboretum. Keep your eyes out for common yellowthroats, flycatchers, and many different sparrows flittering among the tall prairie plants. Willoway Creek, which flows between the prairie and Sterling Pond, can also host winter wrens and ovenbirds.


See more in Vanishing Acts.

Adventure Woods

Journey into Adventure Woods for great opportunities to crawl, climb, and splash through the natural world. Start out under the wooden arch and continue along the path until you find an area you want to explore. Love water? Check out Wonder Pond or the Secret Stream. Love climbing? Look for several elevated play structures and turn the kids loose. Be on the lookout for gnomes hidden among the trees throughout.

Hedge Collection

From the Visitor Center, walk past the Ground Cover Garden towards the parallel rows of shrubs to enter the Hedge Collection. The organic-looking hedges to your right are “unsheared” while the formal-looking hedges to your left are “sheared.” This is a great spot to race the kids. Look for four white columns and see who can reach them first!

Page controls