The Chesapeake Arboretum is located in the heart of Chesapeake and is a 51-acre "Nature's Classroom" that promotes horticultural and environmental awareness through displays, education, and research. It is designated a Virginia Treasure, an initiative to highlight important ecological, historic, scenic, and recreational lands across the state. Dedicated at its current site in November 1996, it boasts one of Virginia's finest trail systems that wanders through a mature hardwood forest with many varieties of trees and plants.
The Chesapeake Arboretum is constantly seeking to be a responsible protector of the natural resources available at the site. Efforts are continuously made to instruct, promote, and embody a "green mindset".
- 11 bridges
- Approximately 3.5 miles of hiking/walking trails
- 3-acre Lake Hughes
- Caleb Williamson Farm House
- Camellia Cove, part of the American Camellia Trail
- Gazebo and Picnic area(s) with tables
- Propagation Nursery
- Large Parking area
- Master Gardener area with Greenhouse
- Trails at the Arboretum
Pecan Grove Gazebo Rental Information
In the heart of "Nature's Classroom," the Pecan Grove Gazebo is perfect for weddings and family gatherings. Surrounded by manicured gardens and mature shade trees, this magical spot is just off Battlefield Boulevard. Featuring a tongue-and-groove wood ceiling with a green tin roof, it is the perfect backdrop for wedding and engagement photo shoots (PDF). The gazebo and accompanying Pecan Grove area will accommodate up to 75 people with limited parking. The 36-foot gazebo has lights, a ceiling fan, and power. The use of thirty white folding chairs is included in the rental fee.
NOTE: Gazebo rentals are not available from September through December 2023.
The Arboretum is a training ground for the local Urban Forestry groups. It's a shining example of how a green infrastructure can enhance quality of life by offsetting the ecological effects of land development. The Arboretum provides important social, aesthetic, functional, economic, and recreational benefits to all citizens.
The Caleb Williamson Farmhouse was first occupied by the Williamson family in the 1800s. Parts of the house date back to the 1780s. The City has plans to rehabilitate the house into a public museum.
Things to Do
Nature Academy in Nature's Classroom: Geared towards children ages 5 to 12, Nature Academy in Nature's Classroom offers hands-on, exploratory education on a variety of topics focused on the flora and fauna found at the Arboretum. Children explore the forest, play games, and create a craft. Past programs offered are Celebrate Earth, Planet Insects, Family Explorers, Water Quality, and Beneath the Surface. Classes take place in the spring, summer, and fall. Check our Classes and Programs page for offerings as they become available for registration.
Self-Guided Tree Walk: Visit the 3 miles of trails at the Arboretum and educate yourself on the various species of trees. Many of the trees have been labeled with their common and Latin names so that they can be easily identified. During the fall trees like the Paw-Paw take center stage producing fruit that rains down along the tree canopy of the trail system. In the spring, the Stewartia grove adds color from its beautiful flowers for all to see. The Camellia Cove is only 1 of 3 sites in Virginia on the American Camellia Trail.
Volunteers are the backbone of the Arboretum. With 51 acres of trees, trails, picnic areas, barns, and the homestead house it would be impossible to operate the facility without volunteer efforts. Scouts, civic leagues, church groups, and many others volunteer thousands of hours each year to keep the facility maintained for public use.
Groups: Register your group to volunteer at the Arboretum at least two weeks in advance. An Arboretum staff member will contact you.
Individuals: To sign up as an individual volunteer, please register through the City employment website.