Review these FAQ’s to make the most of your visit. If you have any questions, please call our information desk at (607) 255-2400 or e-mail botanicgardens@cornell.edu

Parking, Seasonal Hours, and Admission

Do I have to pay to park?

The parking lot for the Nevin Welcome Center and surrounding gardens is a Cornell University metered lot. Rates are $1.50 per hour from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays for up to three hours. You may pay using the meter in the parking lot or by using ParkMobile, location Cornell University zone 4120. Visitors are not required to pay to park during evening hours and on weekends. Parking lots in the F. R. Newman Arboretum, Mundy Wildflower Garden and other off-campus natural areas are free. View interactive map to search for parking locations.

What are your hours of operation?

Our grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk. The operating hours for the Nevin Welcome Center vary seasonally. View current hours.

Do you charge admission?

No. All of our gardens and natural areas are free and open to the public seven days per week year-round. We welcome donations, which can be deposited in our donation box in the lobby of the Nevin Welcome Center.

Amenities

Where are restrooms located?

  • Nevin Welcome Center: Please note: When the Nevin Welcome Center is closed, a seasonal portable restroom is available nearby (not available in winter).
  • F. R. Newman Arboretum: Seasonal portable restrooms are available next to the Sculpture Garden in the heart of the arboretum.

View interactive map to search for restroom locations.

Are food and beverages available for sale?

Light refreshments including bottled drinks and packaged snacks are available for sale in the Nevin Welcome Center as well as a drinking fountain. View restaurants near the Nevin Welcome Center.

Exploring Cornell Botanic Gardens

Cornell Botanic Gardens is expansive. What are the options for getting around the gardens and natural areas?

We have over 500 acres of gardens and natural areas on the Cornell University Campus. Depending on your time and ability, you can explore our areas on foot, or drive to various locations. Bicycle travel is encouraged and bike racks are available at the Nevin Welcome Center. Click here for walking distances from the Nevin Welcome Center to other on-campus destinations.

Where can I get directions to explore off-campus natural areas?

We manage 22 nature preserves off of the Cornell campus. View a list and directions for each of these nature preserves or visit ithacatrails.com and search “Cornell Botanic Gardens” for a list of all hiking trails that are part of Cornell Botanic Gardens.

How long does it take to explore Cornell Botanic Gardens?

We recommend planning on two to four hours to see the majority of our destinations on Cornell’s campus. Shorter and longer visits are possible, depending on your interest. Click here to view recommended routes based on your ability and interests.

Where can I find a map of Cornell Botanic Gardens?

Printed maps of our on-campus gardens and natural areas are available in the Nevin Welcome Center and in brochure boxes throughout our grounds. Before you arrive, be sure to explore our interactive map, or access it on your smartphone while you visit.

Does Cornell Botanic Gardens offer tours?

We offer weekly “Garden Highlights” tours during the growing season as well as a variety of other scheduled tours. Learn about tours offered on the day of your visit or schedule a private tour for your group.

Does Cornell Botanic Gardens offer tours for groups?

Yes. Learn more about scheduling a private group tour.

Can I access the Cornell campus from Cornell Botanic Gardens?

Yes. Cornell Botanic Gardens is part of the Cornell University campus. Our areas primarily stretch along the north and south borders of campus. Cornell’s Martin Y. Tang Welcome Center and the Ag Quad are 10-minute walks from our Nevin Welcome Center. Use our interactive map to explore campus locations near Cornell Botanic Gardens.

Dogs

Are dogs allowed at Cornell Botanic Gardens?

We welcome dogs and responsible dog owners at Cornell Botanic Gardens. Dogs are required to be on a leash at all times and you must clean up after them. Please keep them out of the garden beds. For your convenience, two dog waste stations are located in the F. R. Newman Arboretum.

Seasonal Closures

Are any parts of Cornell Botanic Gardens closed during the winter?

Most of our areas remain open in the winter though some exceptions apply:

The F. R. Newman Arboretum is closed to vehicle traffic during the winter months but pedestrians are welcome to explore the arboretum year-round. Parking is available at the Mundy Wildflower Garden parking lot off of Caldwell Road at the intersection with Forest Home Drive, directly across from the arboretum. View parking areas on our interactive map.

The trail through Cascadilla Gorge is closed to pedestrians typically from late November to early May.

Accessibility

Is Cornell Botanic Gardens accessible for people with mobility or physical disabilities?

Cornell Botanic Gardens locations have varying surfaces, slopes, and levels of access.

The Nevin Welcome Center is a fully accessible facility and a wheelchair is available by request at the Garden Gift Shop. View details about accessibility in the specialty gardens around the Nevin Welcome Center.

F. R. Newman Arboretum: Paved roads and paths exist throughout the Arboretum. There are also steep slopes and chipped paths. View details.

Natural Areas: View details on the accessibility of our natural areas on Cornell’s campus.

Renting our spaces

Are there spaces I can rent for a special event?

Yes. Guests can rent a room in the Nevin Welcome Center, an open air pavilion called the “Summer House” outside of the Nevin Welcome Center; as well as lawn space in front of the Nevin Welcome Center and in the heart of the scenic F. R. Newman Arboretum. Click here for more information.

Research and special use applications

Our natural areas, cultivated gardens, and arboretum provide research opportunities for faculty and students. Visit our Research page to learn about what research has been done, what opportunities are available, or to submit a research application.

If you are interested in using our spaces for something other than research, such as installing outdoor art, please fill out our special use request form.

Have other questions?

Please submit your questions through our contact form, or e-mail botanicgardens@cornell.edu.

Have a question for us about our plants?

You can submit your question through our contact form or browse plants in our collection.

Social media

Are you on social media?

Yes! We are on Facebook – like us to stay in touch and get updates about our gardens, natural areas, and events. We are on Instagram—enjoy the beauty of our collections every day with unique expert photography by following us; like what you see—tell others about it on our TripAdvisor page.

How else can I connect with you?

Get up-to-the-minute announcements about what’s in bloom and happening year-round at Cornell Botanic Gardens by signing up for our e-newsletter. We’ll send you quarterly newsletters, monthly events, and special announcements. We promise not to send you too many emails!

Garden Etiquette

To ensure the health of our plant collections, and for the enjoyment of all our visitors, please:

  • Carry litter out with you.
  • Keep all dogs on leashes and clean up after them.

Please refrain from:

  • Picking flowers, plants, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Outdoor fires and grilling.
  • Organized athletic games.
  • Climbing on trees or sculptures.
  • Fishing in the ponds within the F. R. Newman Arboretum.

Gorge Safety

Practice respect and safety when visiting the gorges. While Cornell encourages our community to visit the natural places that make Ithaca truly ‘gorges,’ we ask that visitors practice respect and safety at all times when hiking or using the trails. Please follow all caution and regulation signs, which change throughout the year depending on weather and trail conditions. Swimming is strictly prohibited in Cornell’s gorges at all times. Learn more on Cornell’s gorge safety website.