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Bartlett Arboretum, Belle Plaine

#11 of 21 in Wildlife in Kansas
Must see · Garden · Park
The Bartlett Arboretum (20 acres; 8 hectares) is a historic, nonprofit arboretum located in Belle Plaine, Kansas, United States. It is privately owned, and open to the public seasonally, as well as upon special request. It includes a stage and seating area for outdoor concerts.

The Arboretum was established in 1910 by Dr. Walter Bartlett, a general practitioner from Belle Plaine, who purchased pastureland to create his own arboretum. In the 1930s the arboretum became an approved test site for the United States Department of Agriculture which provided plants and trees from around the world for hardiness tests.

It incorporates a 135-year-old Santa Fe Railroad Depot, converted to a studio, at its edge.
The Arboretum now contains massive cypress, oaks and champion Japanese maples. It includes an apiary to facilitate pollination. Its steward is Robin Lynn Macy, otherwise known as a founding member of the Dixie Chicks bluegrass and country music group.

It was developed over many years, from relatively barren land with water only in a slough. Early in the process, Bartlett formed a dam and also built 4 islands in the slough.
According to the National Park Service:

The Bartlett Arboretum is a private fifteen acre park in rural Belle Plaine, Kansas, that evolved in early 20th century from a recreational park and conservation area to an arboretum with formal gardens and experimental plots and nurseries. The arboretum largely reflects the influences of professional landscape architect and horticulturist Glenn Bartlett, his wife and floral expert Margaret Bartlett, and Glenn’s father who first purchased the property in 1910 to be used as a public athletic field for the small community and as a natural reserve complete with water fowl and non-indigenous trees. After years of being under maintained, the Bartlett Arboretum is currently being restored with the goal for it to serve as an educational and events space.

The property was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on April 19, 2010. The listing was announced as the featured listing in the National Park Service's weekly list of May 7, 2010.
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Bartlett Arboretum reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
21 reviews
  • Very nice Arboretum. Had nice flowers, trees, shrubs, decor, historical buildings. Nice bridges. Tree house. Got some awesome photos. Met the owner and she was very nice.  more »
  • Lots of small sized play homes for the kiddos coupled with incredible landscaping. This is a place that never gets the attention and kiddos that it truly deserves. The staff is incredibly...  more »
  • Amazing gardens and a tranquil setting aside from a few trains. This garden is great to explore, they really nailed the layout with many different areas to explore from formal stone or brick footpaths to small secluded paths through the trees. Children will have something to do as well aside from exploring the gardens because of the numerous child oriented activities. Enjoy the gardens and spend some time there resting on one of the many benches, tables and swings.
  • Beautiful slice of nature. Worth the drive! I can't wait to check out their outdoor concerts this season!

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