Flagstaff is a maze of natural landscapes for visitors. Some of the natural areas have been turned into parks like the Arboretum. The Arboretum was once a year round home for Frances McAllister. The house was built in the 60's. McAllister wanted to build an arboretum so she donated her land to the project in 1981. She was very into gardening as a result of her early childhood in California. To preserve the natural gardens and create her own she wanted to make sure her land would be safe. At one time the 200 acres donated to the arboretum were a cattle ranch. Mrs. McAllister converted the original ranch house to administrative offices and built a home for herself.
The horticulture center at the arboretum is a solar greenhouse with numerous botanical plants housed within. The Log House that was built in 1934 near Route 66 was once continually lived in. Now the home is a place for interns and retreat members to enjoy the arboretum. Numerous projects have been started on the land, and expansion will continue.
As a research station, botanical garden, and education center the Arboretum is open to the public throughout the summer. Visitors can come to learn about the plant and plant communities. There are 2,500 species of plants at the facility. Guided tours are held daily for visitors to ask questions, as well as get hands on information. There is a Wild Birds of Prey program also. Visitors can soak up the views of the mountains, meadows, and forests.
The hours of the park are 9am to 5pm April 1st to October 31st. The tours are hosted at 11am and 1pm. The tour is an hour long and part of the admission.The birds of prey programs are at noon and 2pm. The park is closed November 1st through March 31st. Snow in this area can be heavy, which is one reason it is closed during the winter months. Admission fees are $6 for adults and $3 for children 6 to 17. Members and those under six are free. The park offers group rates.
The guided tours of the Arboretum are just part of the attractions. Visitors are welcome to stroll along the paths of the garden and natural areas. There are signs to explain the plants and animals that can be seen. Also at the park is a gift shop. The gift shop has gardening and nature themed gifts, tee shirts, and books. The gift shop also has exhibits like natural history and fine arts.
During the spring months visitors can expect to see early plants flowering, spring bulbs, and the indoor exhibits in full bloom. During summer there are more plants such as herb, butterfly gardens, and even a plant sale. In the summer a festival is held each year. In fall aspens, maples, oaks, and the native grasses will begin to change color. At this time the land is most beautiful and ripe with fruit.
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