COVID-19 Policies & Practices

Please be aware of the following operational updates and restrictions in accordance with state and local guidelines related to COVID-19.

Current operations include:

  • As of April 1, the Arboretum has resumed its traditional Spring Property Hours schedule. The property is currently open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the incoming gate closing one hour prior at 8 p.m.. Facility access, including the Baker Exhibit Center and Bonsai Exhibition Garden, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m..
  • The Baker Exhibit Center, including the Exhibit Hall, Connections Gallery and restrooms, is currently open. Although the Education Center remains closed at this time, first-floor restroom access is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. via the Bistro doors. (Please note: All guests ages 5 years & older are required to wear a face covering inside the buildings.)
  • The Connections Gallery Gift Shop is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. inside the Baker Exhibit Center. (Please note: A one-way routing system will be in place and we will be limiting the number of guests inside the shop at one time. Face coverings are required for guests 5 years and older.)
  • Beginning April 2, the Bent Creek Bistro will resume window service for the season. Guests can order boxed meals from the window in the Education Center courtyard from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays. Although the indoor dining room is closed at this time, diners are welcome to sit at any of our outdoor tables or picnic out on property, being sure to dispose of all waste in the proper receptacle.
  • Rocky Cove Railroad will reopen for the season on April 3. Trains run Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon to 4 p.m. through October (weather permitting). Guests are asked to please practice proper social distancing measures when watching the trains and to limit viewing time to allow others to enjoy the exhibit safely.
  • Guest Services staff will be available for assistance on a limited basis at the Baker Exhibit Center Information Desk. Equipment, including geocaches,┬áDiscovery Backpacks and wheel chairs, will remain unavailable for check-out at this time.
  • Outdoor access in the gardens and on the trails is open. Groups should keep a six-foot distance from others and wear a face covering outdoors if distance cannot be kept.
  • The gatehouse will now accept credit cards AND cash for parking fees.

Restrictions include:

  • Groups of 50 or more cannot gather together outdoors and groups of 25 or more cannot gather together indoors. Please continue to stay six feet apart from others when on the trails and in the gardens.
  • Personal face coverings are required for guests ages 5 & older inside the Baker Exhibit Center. When outdoors, guests are encouraged to wear face coverings when they are unable to socially distance themselves from others while on the Arboretum property.
  • Please follow all CDC guidelines regarding proper sanitation and hygiene measures; do not leave your home if you are showing any symptoms related to COVID-19, including a dry cough, fever and shortness of breath.

Thank you again for your loyalty and support. We look forward to seeing you soon!


Program Update – February 8, 2021

Following careful consideration and discussion with the Western North Carolina Orchid Society and the Blue Ridge Bonsai Society, the Arboretum has made the difficult decision to cancel both the Asheville Orchid Festival and the Carolina Bonsai Expo in 2021 due to continuing public safety precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more than two decades, these events have drawn thousands to the Arboretum each year to see their exhibits, presentations and instruction by their dedicated communities, and while we are disappointed that we cannot safely put on these programs in 2021, we look forward to hosting them again when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, the Arboretum and our partners continue to look for ways to celebrate these unique and elegant botanical specimens in 2021 and beyond.

We appreciate the understanding, cooperation and ongoing support of our members, guests and partners during this time and invite you to discover our bonsai collection when it returns for the season on World Bonsai Day.