Experience quiet enjoyment at a living museum of trees, shrubs and native prairie. Walk along grass paths and discover a diversity of over 2,200 different trees and shrubs representing 486 species, hybrids and cultivars. Bathe in sunlight or keep cool under a leafy canopy as you gaze over vistas of crabapple blossoms, silhouettes in the sunset or fantastic autumn hues.

Visit for wellness, play, and enjoyment as you learn about the natural world of trees. Learn about trees that you might include in your landscape when you observe different varieties and selections side-by-side. Common and scientific names are found on the tags of each tree and shrub for easy identification.

Tree and shrub collections at the arboretum exist for our quiet enjoyment of the natural world, to enhance our knowledge of horticulture, botany and ecology, to demonstrate sound conservation and to provide research opportunities.

The Brenton Arboretum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit museum, and special type of public garden dedicated to trees and shrubs. The mission of the Brenton Arboretum is to bring joy to all through the beauty and knowledge of the natural world of trees through quiet enjoyment, education, conservation and research.

EDUCATE The arboretum provides opportunities for visitors and members to develop an understanding and appreciation of the value of trees.

Through the Knee-High Naturalist program, the arboretum connects children to nature and trees by providing meaningful field experiences that include nature play.

Observe trees and shrubs grouped by genus to allow comparisons between species, varieties and selections. Each tree is identified with its botanical name and accession number. Maps and guides can be found in the Visitor Information Kiosk inside the main gate.

Explore a wealth of informative and inspirational literature in the arboretum Library at the Vista Room.

ENGAGE We encourage families, children and professionals to visit, learn and be actively involved in healthy outdoor activities.

CONSERVE The arboretum practices sound land-management to maintain a collection of trees suitable to our area in a scenic landscape featuring a tapestry of informal groupings of trees, natural plantings, water features and quiet walking trails. Signature collections include Kentucky coffeetree, elm, crabapple and conifers.

RELAX The arboretum is recognized as an oasis for visitors to be refreshed and inspired. It is a tranquil setting to connect people to trees, nature and themselves.

GROW The arboretum strives to reach more children and families, provide improved visitor experiences, broaden our donor base, strengthen our professional staff and become less reliant on Brenton family funding.

For more information on how you can help, please click here or call us at 515.992.4211.


Knee-High Naturalist field-trip program won awards from Trees Forever and the Iowa Urban and Community Forestry Council in 2011.

The Arboretum received level 2 accreditation by the Morton Register of Arboreta in 2013.

In 2013 the O’Brien Nature Play Area became a Certified Nature Explore Classroom.

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