Arboretum News Nature Notes

14 things to do in January 2023 at the Arboretum

Happy New Year, Arboretum fans! We can’t thank you enough for making 2022 an absolutely terrific year. Your donations, visits, memberships and overall friendship to the Arb mean the world to all of us.

Thanks to you, the Arboretum triumphantly surpassed 500,000 visitors for the first time ever during its 2022-23 Fiscal Year. (Yes, that’s a record!)

It’s a feat we wouldn’t have been able to achieve if you hadn’t visited us all year long. (Yes, even in January.) Read on to find out how to make the most of this month at the Arboretum and how to utilize the Arboretum for fun, education and more in 2023.

Photo by Susie Hopper 

1. Explore in the snow

All the recent snowfall has transformed the Arboretum into a truly seasonal, truly stunning landscape! But before setting out to explore our 1,200-acre winter wonderland, it’s important to check out the Winter at the Arboretum information page, complete with trail conditions — including Three-Mile Walk, Three-Mile Drive and cross-country ski and snowshoe trails — updated every morning. You can also download a winter trail map. Also, remember to book a reservation at — unless you have a donor-level membership with an EZ access.

Photo by Holly Einess

2. Spot animal tracks 

Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer Holly Einess, in her latest Nature Notes column, explained exactly how to tell the difference between rabbit and squirrel (and turkey) tracks. Check out her cool trick for remembering the key differences and then set out on the Arboretum’s trails to see what’s afoot! 

“Creation Story” by Anna Johnson, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians 

3. See Indigenous art 

The Arboretum is honored to co-curate a new art show in its esteemed Reedy Gallery with “Visions from the Land: Native Interpretations,” featuring the works of four regional Indigenous artists — James Autio, Gordon Coons, Anna Johnson and Ivy Vainio. Each artist uses a different technique or process to produce captivating art inspired by the natural world. On Opening Night of the Spring Flower Show, Feb. 2, Gordon Coons will present an ArtTalk at 6:30 p.m. about his Anishinaabe woodland style of paintings, which involve burning cedar to make fumage and smoke art embellished with 24-karat gold leaf.

 Photo by Lee Anne Laskey

4. Sit a spell in the conservatory

The Meyer-Deats Conservatory is a bit off the beaten path at the Arboretum. It’s situated at the far end of the historic Snyder Building. Simply cross the skybridge from The Eatery at the Arboretum in the Oswald Visitor Center and you’ll see signs that lead you to the oasis, which is home to numerous orchids, bromeliads, palms, ferns, cacti and even — fruiting right now — a Ponderosa lemon tree, which is known for its purple flowers and its lemon-citron hybrid fruit, according to Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer Lee Anne Laskey.

Photo by Sarah Jackson 

5. Warm up in the library

If the balmy conservatory doesn’t warm you up, continue your indoor visit at the Andersen Horticultural Library on the opposite end of the Snyder Building down a short hallway. Here the temperature is warm, but the honey glow of the one-of-a-kind wooden furniture — by famed woodworker George Nakashima — is almost enough to break winter’s chill. You can also take time to peruse seed catalogs and garden magazines to plan your 2023 garden! If you have the kids with you, check out the terrific children’s books section, organized by educational concepts. Finally, check out the latest library exhibit, The Art of Tiny Things, featuring miniature books, plus diminutive organisms and artifacts, including moss, fungi, lichen, insects and more, showing through Feb. 28.  

Photo courtesy of Caty Brown & Dan Estenson

6. Attend the Winter Wellness Fair

The Arboretum’s Winter Wellness Fair — a special one-day event 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15 — offers a wealth of experiences for visitors. All visitors with reservations at the Arb on Sunday, Jan. 15 are welcome to shop at the Winter Wellness Market. Visitors who would like to participate in the fair’s workshops and classes, can purchase special tickets or class passes in advance. Check out the terrific schedule to see what interests you and how you might find a path to greater wellness in 2023! 

7. Book a day camp for the kids

Though the Arboretum’s Summer Camps for kids often sell out in a matter of hours, it’s not too late to get in the game for the Summer of 2023. Day camp registration opens at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17 and these tips will help ensure your success. Good luck! 

Photo by Jill Leenay

8. Register for spring and summer classes

Arboretum adult, child and family class options are open for registration now, including the classes for the remainder of the winter as well as this coming spring and summer! That means, now is the perfect time to peruse the class schedules for Adults and/or Kids, including a fascinating array of topic areas and types such as Art, Crafts & Literature, Food & Wine, Gardening, Guided Walks/Tours/Nature Appreciation, Online & Virtual, Photography, Pollinators, School & Homeschool, Special Access Experiences and Youth & Family. This includes popular or limited-availability classes that sell out, such as Special Access: Honey Bee Hive Inspection. Summer programming such as Peapods for Preschoolers and Green Bean Family Garden Time are also open now. Now is the time to make 2023 a year of learning. 

9. Learn to make more plants

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make more plants for your home or garden? Now you can with the Arboretum’s Science of Plant Propagation Series, which includes college-level science and in-class projects to accompany the materials. Choose just one session or register for the full series, including Seeds (Jan. 21), Cuttings (Jan. 28), Grafting (Feb. 4) and Soils (Feb. 11) —  all on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-noon.

10. Tap your toes

Star students with the Lake Park-Audubon High School jazz and pop group will perform from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29. Come tap your toes and warm up after a snowy walk outside!


11. Plan your Spring Flower Show visit in February

Designed to provide a respite from winter — and inspiration for the coming spring — the Arboretum’s Spring Flower Show is included with every daytime reservation Feb. 3-26. Special ticketed events, which are also on sale now, include an Opening Night preview (Feb. 2), Spring Flower Show Teas, After Hours with the Flowers evenings and Fairy Garden Make & Take workshops. This year’s show theme is Garden With Nature, putting a special emphasis on gardens that benefit birds, bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects. Visitors will find 18 floral and foliage vignettes — spread throughout the Oswald Visitor Center and the Snyder Building — ending in the finale at the conservatory, featuring special displays of orchids and succulents. Speakers such as Arboretum Operations Director Alan Branhagen will offer educational talks on each After Hours with the Flowers evening event. We hope you’ll join us for this annual February tradition. 

Photo by Sarah Bednarek

12. Try Snowga! 

Bundle up and get ready to stretch in the snow with Snowga — yoga in a snowy setting — on the Arboretum’s Lilac Walk at noon Thursday, Jan. 19 with Jenn Holm of Yoga 4 You. If you’d rather get your burst of wellness indoors, sign up for T’ai Chi Chih with Sue Bitney at 10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 29 in the MacMillan Auditorium. Advanced registration is required.

The Lightner Museum is an iconic building at the heart of historic St. Augustine, Florida.

13. See St. Augustine — and beyond

Excited to escape the cold? Join travel host Susan Taylor, Director of Advancement at the Arboretum, for a trip to Northern Florida March 13-20. This varied adventure starts in Gainesville with a trip to a butterfly rainforest at the Museum of Natural History, Sweetwater Wetlands Park and the Historic Haile Homestead. In the charming city of St. Augustine, discover the oldest continually inhabited municipality in the contiguous U.S. (including the Lightner Museum, pictured), followed by a four-day stop in Jacksonville to see numerous natural sites, including the zoo and gardens. Learn more about this getaway on the Arboretum travel page.

Photo by Sarah Jackson 

14. Give a gift of membership

Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean you can’t keep giving the gift of membership. In fact, an Arboretum Membership can be the perfect gift for the folks who have January and February birthdays, who are so hard to shop for when you’re all shopped out after the holidays, You can also just stop by the Gift & Garden Store for fresh ideas. All memberships include the option of visiting the lush Meyer-Deats Conservatory (pictured) 363 days a year. 

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