Hayes Arboretum in Richmond, Indiana

Beautiful scenery, multiple nature trails and 466 acres make up the Hayes Arboretum in Richmond, Indiana. Every season has something new to offer visitors at this Indiana attraction. Spring is a bright and colorful time of year to see the vibrant fresh blossoms. Summer brings deep greenery and the countless colors of fall foliage will take your breath away. An outdoor adventure to the Hayes Arboretum makes for an excellent day trip from Indianapolis.

In 1820, a family of pioneers settled in the Beech-Maple Forest area of northeast Richmond, Indiana. They chose the area for its rich soil and excellent farming potential, so they immediately began deforesting part of the land for crop fields and farming pastures. The family’s small business eventually grew into a large cattle, vegetable and herb farm. They built a dairy barn in 1833, and it still stands on the property, functioning as the Hayes Arboretum’s Nature Center. The original log cabin on the property is now the Administrative Building for the Arboretum.

Stanley Hayes was a Hoosier devoted to preserving natural heritage and stopping deforestation. He began purchasing tracts of land in the area in 1915, and he was able to purchase the entire farmstead in the 1930s. It was his mission to bring the land back to its earlier state with rich soils and a variety of plant life. Many of the trees around the Hayes Arboretum today, minus the ancient Beech-Maple Forest, were the native trees that Stanley Hayes replanted there. Now, approximately three percent of Indiana‘s old growth forest is located at the Hayes Arboretum. He built a large estate on the property in 1924, and it now serves as the guesthouse for consultants, researchers and visiting educators.

Indiana history collides with nature’s gifts at the Hayes Arboretum. The site attracts school classes, large gatherings, family outings and of course adventure seekers on day trips. Educational sessions are seasonally offered at the Hayes Arboretum for preschool through fifth grade children. At the annual ArbQuest program, kids learn about bugs, interact with tadpoles, bird watch, catch fish and many more nature activities. They even offer overnight camping programs where many Indianapolis kids go to learn about fire building, fitness and outdoor safety.

When Stanley Hayes passed away in 1963, he left behind the Hayes Research Foundation and gave all of his property to the foundation in order to keep the nature legacy alive. The Hayes Arboretum opened to the public later that year.

Indiana’s first solar greenhouse was dedicated by Governor Otis Brown at the Hayes Arboretum in 1976. Another popular site at the Arboretum are the Adena and Hopewell Indian Mounds. The countless educational opportunities and fun outdoor activities make this the perfect day trip destination. It’s only located about an hour and a half east of Indianapolis. This cool nature preserve is free and open to the public, and guided group tours are available for $2 per person.

While you’re out east of the Circle City, check out the Model T Museum in Centerville, the Levi Coffin House in Fountain City or the Jay County Historical Museum in Portland. This relaxing getaway from Indy could be just the adventure you’re looking for, and for other adventurous ideas, visit our day trips from Indianapolis page.

Hayes Arboretum
801 Elks Country Club Road
Richmond, Indiana 47374