COVID-19 Updates

Arboretum Visitor Center

Arboretum Visitor Center

March 25 – Updates and Reminders.

Arboretum events are cancelled through May 15. This includes all public programs, private tours, facility rentals, and meetings. The Visitor Center will also remain closed through May 15. These actions are necessary as we follow public health and UW–Madison directives during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Staff are now telecommuting and checking email.

The grounds and trails remain open at this time. Time outdoors can support physical and emotional health during this time of uncertainty. However, to protect your own health and others’, it is critical to follow public health guidelines when visiting the Arboretum and other outdoor locations. First, stay home if you feel unwell. Practice social distancing—visit only with household members and maintain social distance of 6 feet from others. Wash or sanitize your hands regularly. Remember that the virus may be on surfaces like benches. Those who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are encouraged to take extra precautions.

Trails in west Curtis Prairie are closed due to a major stormwater infrastructure project to rehabilitate Curtis Pond. For your safety, please observe all trail closures.

A few staff members are patrolling the trails to assist visitors (at an appropriate distance) and assess conditions. The UW Police Department is also helping to patrol the area. Please help us care for the natural areas and ensure a meaningful and restorative experience for others by following Arboretum visitor etiquette. Due to limited staffing and because map boxes are high-touch objects, we will not be restocking maps. You can download the trail map (PDF).

A portable toilet is located in the main parking lot. We recommend bringing your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer as we cannot keep them regularly stocked. Assume that bathrooms, benches, and other surfaces could harbor viruses. Water fountains are not available.

The Arboretum will continue sharing updates through the website, social media, and e-newsletter. We are also sharing stories and resources via social media to help the community enjoy and learn about nature from home.

Follow reliable sources for COVID-19 updates:

(Pinned post, updated March 25)

March 20 – Friends of the Arboretum Native Plant Sale Cancelled.

A message from Friends of the Arboretum: “For 30 years, the Native Plant Sale has provided local gardeners with a reliable source for native plants. Though we have faced challenges in the past, the challenge this year puts our volunteers, our customers, and indeed our whole community at risk. That is a risk we cannot run.” Read more»

The Friends have also cancelled the April, May, and June Luncheon-Lectures. If you have registered for lectures, Friends staff will contact you.

March 16 – Visitor Center Closing Through at Least April 10.

The Arboretum will close the Visitor Center effective 4 p.m. on March 16 through at least April 10 to limit face-to-face contact during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

The grounds and trails remain open, and we hope a walk outdoors can provide comfort and wellness during this time of uncertainty. A portable toilet is located in the main parking lot. Water fountains will not be available. As usual, visitors should call 911 in case of emergency.

We encourage visitors to follow public health recommendations, including: stay home if you feel unwell, practice social distancing, and wash or sanitize your hands regularly.

The Arboretum will continue to provide content and updates through our website, social media, and e-news.

Keep up on current information from reliable sources such as:

Friends of the Arboretum Cancels April Luncheon-Lecture.

The April Friends of the Arboretum Luncheon-Lecture, Genetic Viability Through Sexual Flexibility in Plants, has been canceled. FOA staff will contact people registered for the lecture with more information.

March 12 – Arboretum Events Canceled Through at Least April 12.

UW–Madison leadership has been monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and is working closely with local, state and federal agency partners. In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, they have announced that all non-essential events are cancelled beginning March 13 at 5 p.m. through at least April 12. This includes all Arboretum public events, such as walks, classes, family nature programs, and more. Private tours and event rentals will also be cancelled during this time. If you have questions, please get in touch with the contact person for your tour or event, or email

The Arboretum is following University guidance and we will continue to adapt our plans accordingly, keeping the health and safety of our community at the center of our decisions. We will share updates about programs after April 12 through our e-newsletter and the Arboretum website.

The Arboretum Visitor Center and grounds remain open. We encourage visitors to make decisions that are best for their own health when considering a visit to the Arboretum.

For information and updates related to the virus and our university’s response, please see UW–Madison’s COVID-19 website.