If you enjoy perusing collections of a more natural kind, then take some time to stroll through the University of Michigan’s lovely gardens. The Matthaei Botanical Gardens (1800 N. Dixboro Rd., 734/647-7600, www.lsa.umich.edu/mbg, grounds 8 a.m.–dusk daily, conservatory 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Tues. and Thurs.–Sun., 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Wed., $3 adults, $1 students, grounds free) is an ideal place for a nature walk. In addition to an expansive conservatory of tropical, warm-temperate, and desert plants, you’ll find picturesque gardens, several nature trails, and a re-created prairie.
The Nichols Arboretum (1610 Washington Heights Rd., 734/647-7600, www.lsa.umich.edu/mbg, 8 a.m.–dusk daily, free) offers some of the area’s best hiking trails and a natural area that serves as an education and research facility for the university. It’s located next to the central campus and offers more than 400 identified tree species, a variety of plant collections, as well as a lush peony garden, which blooms in early summer.
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel