Gardens & Natural Areas

The UW–Madison Arboretum is just a few miles south of campus in the heart of the city, but its 1,260 acres take visitors to the wild side. Gardens, prairies, woods and more than 20 miles of trails will make you forget the city’s bustle. Tours and classes are available.

The Lakeshore Nature Preserve is an integral part of the campus landscape. It has 300 acres of woods, wetlands, open fields, restored prairie/savanna, and three miles of Lake Mendota shoreline, including two swimming beaches and many picnicking spots. Part of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve, the Howard Temin Lakeshore Path extends from the Memorial Union to Picnic Point.

Allen Centennial Gardens is a teaching garden with a great diversity of plantings and hardscapes. The major emphasis is on herbaceous ornamental perennials but the site features many other plantings including annuals and woody plants. Here is a video detailing the gardens.

The Botany Garden is located between Lathrop and Chamberlin halls. More than 500 species represent plants from all over the world.

The Botany Greenhouse is a refuge of greenery and serenity, showcasing more than 1,000 species in distinct aquatic, desert and tropical communities. Tours available by appointment.

The D.C. Smith Greenhouse is a tropical conservatory with 11 growing rooms. Tours available by appointment.

Early morning sunlight rakes across a highly invasive reed canary grass (right) that is encroaching on the natural prairie species (left) located within the Greene Prairie site inside the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum.
A bicycle pedestrian pedals along the Howard Temin Lakeshore Path at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during spring on May 10, 2011. The area is part of UW-Madison's Lakeshore Nature Preserve. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)