Mom’s Guide to the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

If you haven’t visited the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in a while, it’s a great time to go and see all of the updates that have been made.

The new Longhouse Visitor Center offers a second entrance that is only a three-minute walk from the train garden, a favorite spot for kids and grown-ups. A new pond, fountains, and walkways offer more space to explore and enjoy nature. When you’re ready to take a break, find a seat in the shade around the visitors center or on a bench inside and grab a snack from the brand new Cafe Celeste. You can also stop by the gift shop and shop for someone you love.

If you’ve never been to the Overland Park Arboretum, here’s our guide to everything you need to know before you go.

What Kids Will Love

There are so many spots for kids to explore and experience nature. My kids love looking for turtles and fish in the ponds, playing on the nature playground, and watching the trains loop through the train garden. There are easy trails, both paved and not, that are great for families wanting a short hike.

What Moms Will Love

The Arboretum is so accessible for strollers and wagons, making it a great place to get out in nature with your family and friends. You get to enjoy the beautiful gardens and displays, and your kids get to have a great time experiencing nature themselves.

Who It’s Best For

All ages! There is something for everyone to enjoy. It’s a great place to take out of town visitors like grandparents.

Location and Parking

8909 W. 179th St. Overland Park, KS 66013
You can enter through the original entrance on the east side or through the new Longhouse Visitor Center on the west side. There is plenty of free parking.

Mom Pro Tip: If you want to be close to the train garden and children’s nature playground, park at the new visitor center for a quick entrance (and exit!)

Admission Cost

Kids 5 and under get in free. Kids 6-17 are $2 and adult are $5. Admission is free on the first Tuesday of every month.


The Friends of the Arboretum pass is a great deal if you plan to visit multiple times in a year. Since kids 5 and under are free, families with young kids can often get the less expensive single or dual memberships to cover just the adults. Check out all the membership levels here.

In addition to admission to the Arboretum, members get admission to the spring plant sale preview night, discounts on events, and reciprocity with over 200 other gardens and arboretums (the ones in St. Louis and Wichita are fantastic!)


Bathrooms can be found in three places. There are many bathrooms located inside the Longhouse Visitor Center and bathrooms by the east entrance in the Environmental Education Visitors Center, and a family bathroom located between the train garden and children’s garden.

Stroller and Wheelchair Accessibility

The majority of the walkways throughout the gardens are paved and the sculpture garden trail is paved. Other trails have wood chips so they are not well suited for strollers and wheelchairs.

Seating Areas

Throughout the Arboretum and botanical gardens, you’ll find benches and picnic tables where you can sit down and rest.

Food Policies and Purchase Options

The new Cafe Celeste is located inside the Longhouse Visitor Center and will offer a variety of food options including grab and go items and coffee. You are also welcome to bring in your own food for a picnic or a snack.

Birthday Parties

Many spaces can be rented by the hour for special events. The Leatherwood Depot by the train garden would be a perfect spot to host a birthday party for a train-loving child.

Special Events

Where to begin! Some of the best events for families are the Enchanted Faire, Luminary Walk and Terra Luna. The Overland Park Arboretum also host adults-only events like Botanical Brewfest. Check the calendar to see all the special events and programs being offered.

Don’t Miss This Hidden Gem

Check out the brand new gift shop located in the Longhouse Visitor Center. This is a great spot for seeing the work of local artists and buying gifts for people of all ages.

Julia Willhite
I'm Julia and I live in Olathe with my husband of 16 years, my 10 and 6 year old daughters, and our rescue pug Mabel. I’m a social worker turned SAHM and love Dr. Pepper, thunderstorms, and talking to other adults. I hate coffee, diet culture, and washing dishes. I'll talk your ear off about the best local parks and which restaurants have wronged me by changing their long-standing menu items. I try to walk the line between knowing a lot of stuff and not being a know-it-all. Some days I'm better than others.