Summer has finally greeted us with its presence and the adventuring season is in full bloom. Nestled in Hillsdale (about 30 minutes south of Jackson), right near Hillsdale College’s campus is the Slayton Arboretum. 48 acres of pure beauty. No exaggeration, walking through the gated entrance feels exactly like entering a storybook scenery. Hills of greenery, plants, gazebos, and waterfalls- the Arb is absolutely breathtaking. The perfect place to pack a picnic and spend a day. 

Slayton Arboretum Details

Name: Slayton Arboretum 

Address: Barber Drive, Hillsdale, MI. (Right near campus by the dorms) 

Why we love it: Outside of the obvious beauty and feeling like I’m in a Disney film, the Arb has a children’s garden, trails, multiple ponds, a huge waterfall, two gorgeous gazebos, and is full of wildlife. The land is clean and well-kept. While the Arboretum is privately owned, it’s open to the public and it’s very well maintained. 

Toddler Approved: 110%. Outside of the children’s garden, there are many large, open spaces that would be perfect for kicking a ball around, or if your children are like mine, running in circles endlessly. One note- The stairs are a little broken as they’re made of stone, just a disclaimer for toddlers that are new to walking. 

Big Kid Approved: Absolutely. 

Sun or Shade: both! Bring sunscreen, but the gazebos and trees make for some stunning shaded spots. 

Cost: Free. 

Parking: some street parking or there are public parking lots nearby. 

Hours: Dawn to Dusk 


Closing Review: If you are really into fairy tales, hiking, or peace and quiet, I can’t recommend the Slayton Arboretum enough. The potential activities you could do here are pretty limitless: picnics, painting, observing turtles, fish, birds, and deer, hiking, reading, letting your kids run wild, and pretending that you’re on the set of Snow White. You could truly spend an entire day here and still be eager to return. 

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Written by Wonder and Wander Contributor: Alyssa Grant

Looking for more kid-friendly places to visit? Check out our archives!

Slayton Arboretum

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