Even though we have seemed to escape those awful weeks of endless humidity and heat, it is still summer in Michigan which means it will be hot. Those walks along the exposed pavement can seem especially long on a super-hot day. So don’t waste any time, and find shade in the beautiful parks Ann Arbor has to offer, the Nichols Arboretum and the Matthaei Botanical Gardens.
Nichols Arboretum is in an easy walking distance from campus and offers miles of trail, flowers, and forest if you feel like escaping the urban Ann Arbor environment. The Arb runs right alongside the Huron River, so if you get hot on the trip there, don’t hesitate to take a quick dip in the refreshing water. The Arb is now entering its second century of existence, with native and exotic tress and shrubs set into the naturalistic landscape. You can gain access to the Arb from Geddes Avenue, Washington Heights, and the Huron River. Every visit to the Arb is unique, as you never know what kind of new animal, insect, or plant you will see—not to mention all of the other people you will run into and can share the experience with!
Farther off campus, but worth every minute of the commute, is the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. If you are visiting for the first time, you should start at the visitor’s center where you will find visitor guides, restrooms, a gift shop, and refreshments. Additionally, on the back of the visitors center is an unbelievable Conservatory with incredibly unique trees, flowers, and shrubs. There are many trails and gardens to explore, but they will all eventually loop you back to the Visitors Center, so you don’t need to worry about getting lost! There are a variety of gardens included in the botanical gardens, but some of the most interesting in my opinion are the Bonsai & Penjing Garden (housing the famous bonsai tree that has a rich history in Chinese and Japanese cultures), the Great Lakes Garden (featuring dune, limestone plain, and prairie), and the Gaffield Children’s Garden (features kid-friendly plants and fun activities such as mazes and a hummingbird garden).
Even if you have the worst allergies, the beauty in these Ann Arbor treasures is worth taking a couple Zyrtec. You can enjoy a break from the heat while enjoying the beautiful nature we can find in our own college town.
Keeping you informed,