Arb Adventure: MN Arboretum (Art & Travel), Chanhassen, MN USA

Cher’s Travel: Minnesota

30 September 2021

The Arb Adventure

Chanhassen (Minneapolis) Minnesota USA

Landscape Art & Travel

Our latest Travel Date included an Arb Adventure to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum“arb” for short.

On this Day Trip, we paired the arb with a guided tour of Paisley Park, home, studio and museum of Prince. It is located just a few miles down the road. Both required timed entrance tickets, but with a bit of coordination, they can easily be combined in the same day. Just make sure you allow enough time at the arb! It is jam packed with areas to explore.

The Arb Adventure is as if one is entering another world – a world wrapped in nature: flowering plants; towering – and dwarfed trees; leaves of all shapes and colors; ponds, water falls and winding brooks; themed gardens; maze gardens; natural play yards; and much much more.

Arb Entrance. P.C. Cher B 9/30/21

Named Best Botanical Garden by USA Today in 2017 and 2018, its roots reach back to 1908, when the University of Minnesota Horticulture Research center began developing cold-hardy apple varieties.

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum was officially founded in 1958 by several local garden clubs and horticulture societies in partnership with the University of Minnesota. It expanded in stages over the years–and is still growing!

Allow plenty of time. We spent 4 hours and barely made a dent in all we wanted to see! It was one of those great visits where we left wanting more! And plan to go back…

Arb Entrance. P.C. Cher B 9/30/21

Map Key to sites on this post.

  • Enter off of Hwy 5, top of map
  • Visitor Center is gray areas top, center
  • Gardens clustered behind visitor center are highlighted in lower left. Japanese Gardens are part of this.
  • 3-mile drive is in green. Wood Duck Pond, Chinese & Sculpture Gardens are along this drive.

A hard copy is available at the Visitor Center entrance. I recommend it for a successful, organized and more relaxed visit!

Gardens by the Visitor Center

P.C. Cher B 9/30/21
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21

The first gardens you will experience as your enter are those behind the Oswald Visitor Center and Snyder Building. These gardens are worth the time and entrance fee even if you don’t get any further into the site!

You may have enjoyed this areas if you have been to an event (weddings, memorials, etc.).

Seasonal gardens – Iris, Lilies, Rose, Dahlia, Azalea… make your visit a new experience every time you visit!

P.C. Cher B 9/30/21
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21

Water Falls & Fountains

“Silver Sail” (1988) sculpture by Charles Huntington, perfect setting near the waterfall.
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21

I love water and water falls. The sound of water. The sight of water. Still water. Falling water. Gurgling fountains. Spraying fountains!

One of the joys for me is that there are not only ponds in the arb, but water falls and fountains – everywhere throughout the gardens.

Water amidst the gardens and landscapes showcased are with more photos below.

Skip and Cher by one of the many fountains. (Dressed appropriately in purple as we also visited Paisley Park, home/museum of Prince, just down the road).
P.C. kind gardener who offered to take our photo!
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21

Sculpture Garden

I love sculpture gardens! Seeing sculpture mixed with nature and the sky as their roof, is art as it should be! It can be touched, something that cannot be done in a museum. A highlight of my time in the arb was spent at the Harrison Sculpture Garden – of course!

Located on just over 3 acres of rolling hills that surround the Arboretum’s High Point, sculpture is everywhere, almost as far as the eye can see!

Works of renowned contemporary sculptors “interplay with a magnificent landscape of open countryside, with trees and sky that change with every season. The wonders of nature, including wind, water and animals, along with the myths and stories about our place in this world, inspired these leading American and international sculptures of the 20th and 21st centuries.”

Works are sited around walkways leading up to the peaceful grove of Kentucky Coffee Trees that encircle the highest viewpoint at the Arboretum. My only complaint (?) is that they were so numerous, I regretfully missed many of them that I’d love to see. (Another trip??!!)

Source of info in this section for self-guided tour by Cher B and the website:

This gift of Alfred Harrison and Ingrid Lenz Harrison was built during their married lifetime and includes works by artists from around the world, including Italy, England, Zimbabwe and Argentina.

The Sculpture Garden is next to the Chinese garden.

We parked in a lot between the two and enjoyed the walk between them.

Cher with “Stone Harp” (1993), Limestone, Rene Kung (Swiss).
View looking up the hill in the Sculpture Garden and the Hepworth artwork.
P.C. Skip B 9/30/21

“Küng invites you to be attentive to the strings of the piece and “hear” the music of nature being played upon them. The alternate title of the work lends an interesting perspective on the myth of the harp-playing Orpheus who failed in leading his beloved Eurydice out of the Underworld.”

“Fugue Processionaire” (1997), Rose Marble, Antoine Poncet (France)
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21

This piece is an abstract, carved marble sculpture, evocative of a bird in flight, with a central void, which is a signature component of the artist’s oeuvre. Poncet’s accomplished technique in marble is clearly evident in this transcendent work. In Poncet’s work, the unsteady effect of movement is balanced by serene harmony making his sculptures aesthetically pleasing. Poncet states “they have the air of being happy to be alive”.

Harrison Sculpture Garden showcases works of renowned contemporary sculptors. Located on 3 acres of rolling hills that surround the Arboretum’s High Point, the works interplay with a magnificent landscape of open countryside.

View of the Sculpture Garden looking north toward the 3-mile drive.
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21
“Blutenmotiv” (1967-69), Bronze, Rudolf Belling (German).
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21

One of the most important German sculptors of classical modernism, Belling, constructed a larger version of this ‘peace flower’ – 6 meters high 3.5 tons – for the 1972 Munich Olympics. As you walk around this swirling design you are given a fully new perspective with each step. Sit at this highest point in the Arboretum and contemplate Belling’s graceful blooming flower. You are invited to stand on the stone marking the ‘sweet’ spot at The Echo on High Point.

“Wayzata Reel” (formerly known as “Reel 3″) Philip King (2006; British). Mild Steel, Zinc, sprayed and stove enameled. 100″ x 204″ x 168”
This modern Calder-style sculpture is the centerpiece and seen first as you enter the Sculpture Garden. Sign along the 3-mile drive is seen in the center.
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21

King uses a vibrant color palette and bold, unorthodox geometry. An assistant to Henry Moore early in his career, King’s work emulates the tone explored by Abstract Expressionist painting. King aims for the visual experience of his work to create a sensation of movement. ‘Wayzata Reel’ – formerly known as ‘Reel 3’ – was renamed by King after presenting the piece to the Harrisons in 2006.

I have enjoyed the works of Barbara Hepworth in my study of art history. I was excited to see two sculptures by her.

“Summer Dance” is in the style I recognize; it is the one that beckoned me closer.

“Crucifixion” is in a totally different style; I never would have associated it with her. It almost has a “Mondrian look!” I later discovered it is also appropriately called “Homage to Mondrian.”

“Crucifixion” (1966), Bronze w/Color. Barbara Hepwworth (British). View looking up the hill in the Sculptuer Garden. The Belling statue and stone circle can be seen in the very center.
P.C. Cher B. 9/30/21

I found it interesting that art historians suggest this monumental abstract sculpture came during a time of Hepworth’s spiritual exploration. There is also a cast of this piece at Salisbury Cathedral in the UK.

“Summer Dance” (1972), Bronze, Barbara Hepworth (British)
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21

“These two pierced forms allow you to see through the piece into another realm and weave the surrounding space into the sculpture. ‘Summer Dance’ uses an entirely abstract pictorial language to embody a highly stylized, universal image of a human figure, and reflects the artist’s fascination with the relationship between man and nature.”

Source of info in this section for self-guided tour by Cher B and the website:

Chinese Garden

Cher in the red gazebo in the Chinese Garden.
P.C. Skip B. 9/30/21
View from the red gazebo.
P.C. Cher B. 9/30/21

Chinese Garden is entered through the Moon Gate, a dramatic 8 foot circle “symbolic of casting off stress and tension.”

View from the gardens through the Moon Gate
P.C. Cher B. 9/30/21

The shoreline path winds westward to the Tree Peony Garden and then on to the huge rocks at the far end of the pond.

Three magnificent rocks symbolizing mountains are at the opposite side of the entrance. They are a special gift from the Shaanxi Provincial People’s Government, in central China.

Information from Arboretum Map brochure 9/30/21

View the Moon Gate entrance
P.C. Cher B. 9/30/21
Skip views the 3 magnificent rocks which symbolize mountains..
P.C. Cher B. 9/30/21
View from the red gazebo.
P.C. Cher B. 9/30/21
View from the red gazebo.
P.C. Cher B. 9/30/21

Japanese Garden

Granit Japanese Snow Lanterns. P.C. Cher B 9/30/21

Japanese Garden “Seisui Tei” or Garden of Pure Water reflects from the Edo Period of Japan (1603-1669).

Its focal point, a nine-foot waterfall, draws in and evokes the viewer’s imagination. Interestingly, when one is in the Japanese Garden, it is easy to forget that there are also other gardens all around the site!

Designed by landscape architect Koichi Kawana in 1985, the garden contains some traditional design elements from the Edo Period. This includes the granite snow lanterns, a garden house, water basin and entry gates.

Info from Arboretum Map brochure, 9/30/21

View of the garden house and waterfalls. P.C. Cher B 9/30/21
View of the 9′ waterfall and the pond. P.C. Cher B 9/30/21

3-Mile Drive, 3-Mile Walk

Wood Duck Pond is near the beginning of the Three Mile Drive.
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21
This lone tree in the Prairie Garden, along the Three Mile Drive, reminded me of a sculpture in the sculpture garden just around the next bend in the road!
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21

NOTE: Before your start your Arb Adventure – I recommend taking a drive around the Three-Mile Drive to get the lay of the land.

It is a fully paved roadway that winds through the various collections and landscapes. Walkers/hikers/pedestrians are not permitted to walk on the drive.

The Three-Mile Walk allows you to walk through a variety of the Arboretum’s gardens and collections. Walkers will travel through new landscapes and experience woods, wetlands and prairie. Travel is mainly on paved paths and brick walkways. Allow at least 90 minutes for a leisurely pace following signs as you explore the gardens along the way.

There are additional hiking trails and boardwalks for those who wish to venture further out in the property. Winter trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are a wonderful way to enjoy Minnesota winters!

This pond in the Chinese Garden is representative of the landscape experienced in the park.
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21

Typically open year-round, it is recommended to check the website for temporary closures due to inclement weather, snow or special events.

P.C. Cher B. 9/30/21
Autumn scenes near the Wood Duck Pond along the Three Mile Drive.
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21
Represent of Fall Foliage along the drives and walks.
P.C. Cher B 9/30/21

And so much more. . .

The Uff Da House in the Green Play Yard.
P.C. Cher B. 9/30/21

There is so much more at the arb than can be experienced in a day, so plan ahead! The season, the weather, and your energy for the day will help decide if you just want to stroll around the flower gardens close to the entrance, or get on your hiking boots! Are you bringing children? A group? A picnic lunch? Planning an outdoor event? Getting ideas for your own garden?

Every season has new delights and bursts of new flowers, trees and colors.

The arb also includes a horticulture library, a Farm, a Bee & Pollinator Discovery Center, and a historical Berens Cabin (only original structure from the original property). The Shade Tree Exhibit with 40 different species or cultivars of trees is a great place for a picnic. Children love to play in the little houses and tree house in this exhibit.

Consider an annual membership if you plan more than a couple of visits.

P.C. Cher B. 9/30/21

Children at The Arb

The Maze Garden is open to children of all ages to explore this maze of shrubs. An observation deck at the end allows visitors (and parents!) to see the full maze from above.

Maze Garden. P.C. Google Images, arboretum nature notes blog with Darwin Pellett/ 10/8/21.

The Green Play Yard, near the entry, has a Uff Da House with twisting vines for children and adults to enjoy. Autumn brings with it the pumpkin house.

The Uff Da House and Pumpkin House in the Green Play Yard.
P.C. Cher B. 9/30/21


  • Website:
  • Open: 363 days/year (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas day). Check website for hours.
  • Admission: at this time, all admission is by timed reservations, available on-line.
    • Arb Members are free but need a timed reservations
    • Non-members: Fee is charged for non-members, pre-paid with timed reservation.
  • Parking: (included with admission) is plentiful at the entrance and limited spaces throughout the park for stopping at sites.
  • Bicycling is encouraged. Parking racks available throughout the grounds.
  • Guided Tram Tour: are available in the Great Hall for guide narrated tour in an open air tram. Highlights collections, display gardens, demonstration areas, history and research.
  • Gift and Garden Store, Arboretum Cafe, Horticulture Library, tropical conservatory, event center are located in the Oswald Visitor Center & Snyder Building
  • Restrooms are available throughout the grounds.


  • All Photos by Cher B or Skip B unless otherwise noted.
  • Photo of Maze Garden: arboretumnaturenotes.wordpress/growing-with-darwin-pellett/ Senior gardener responsible for the Hedge Garden and Maze Garden
  • Arboretum self-guided tour assembled by Cher B for 30 September 2021
  • Arboretum Map booklet available at the Visitor Center upon entrance
  • Arboretum website:
  • Arboretum Harrison Sculpture Garden site:

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