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The Great Outdoors

Nichols Arboretum

Phone: (734) 647-7600

A natural refuge in the middle of Ann Arbor, the Nichols Arboretum, or the Arb, is a terrific place to take in some fresh air. Just down the street from Mary Markley Hall, the Arb features 123 acres of rolling hills, open valleys, woods, prairies and a spot on the Huron River. More than just a park, it’s a research and learning facility complete with free tours for students and opportunities to get your hands dirty with volunteer restoration ecology. The Arb is free and open all year. Maps are available at each entrance (Geddes Road, Washington Heights, Nichols Drive). Or stop by the James D. Reader Jr Environmental Education Center at 1610 Washington Heights. For more information call (734) 998-9540 or visit the Nichols Arboretum website.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens

1800 Dixboro Rd.
Phone: (734) 647-7600

A great place to take your family when they come to visit is the University’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens. The Gardens include marked hiking trails of various lengths, landscaped gardens, and an extensive multi-climate conservatory containing plants of botanical interest from all parts of the world. It’s a wonderful get-away from the cold winter weather. Conservatory admission is free. Parking is available in numbered spaces at the main entrance to the lobby/conservatory and in the west parking lot. Parking cost is $1.20 per hour, with a $5 maximum per day. Parking pay kiosks accept credit cards, bills, and coins.

Parks and Recreation Areas

Ann Arbor has dozens of neighborhood parks and playgrounds with varied facilities such as playing areas for baseball, ice-skating, swimming, softball, tennis, fishing, and picnicking.

Popular parks close to campus include Burns Park (Wells St. and Baldwin Ave.) and Gallup Park (Huron Parkway at the Huron River). For complete information on the 125 parks in the Ann Arbor area and the facilities available at each location, call Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation at (734) 971-6337 or Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation at (734) 794-6230.


In the watershed of the Huron and Clinton Rivers are 13 Metroparks, with three in the Ann Arbor vicinity. All parks listed offer hiking, fishing, canoeing, cross-country skiing, children’s play areas, and picnic shelters. Motor vehicle permits ($5 daily, $25 annually) must be purchased as you enter the parks.

Delhi Metropark
Located about four miles west of Ann Arbor, this 50-acre riverside park is a popular weekend destination. There is a baseball diamond, and a canoe livery with package trips available to Argo and Gallup parks. Entrance off Delhi Rd. south of Huron River Dr. 3902 E. Delhi. Ann Arbor, MI. Call (734) 426-8211 for more information.

Dexter-Huron Metropark
Dexter-Huron is seven miles northwest of Ann Arbor and three miles upstream from Delhi-Metropark. It offers a baseball diamond and other Metropark facilities. Entrance off Huron River Dr. 6535 Huron River Dr., Dexter, MI. Call (734) 426-8211 for more information.

Hudson Mills Metropark
Twelve miles northwest of Ann Arbor along Huron River Dr. is 1,624-acre Hudson-Mills. There is a nature trail, hike-bike trail, three baseball diamonds, two tennis courts, a basketball court, volleyball, shuffleboard, and an 18-hole golf course plus disc golf. Bicycles are rented, as well as equipment for facilities and cross-country skiing. Main entrance off N. Territorial Rd; golf course off Dexter-Pinckney Rd, south of the river. 8801 N. Territorial, Dexter, MI. Call (734) 426-8211 for more information.