Drive past Leila Arboretum and you will be hailed by the mighty centaur. He’s raising a sword, but don’t worry -- he just wants you to stop by the park and enjoy all of the nature, history, horticulture and art it has to offer.
FOUNTAIN A fountain greets you at the entrance. Its classic design has made it a popular backdrop for prom photos. Take a seat at one of the benches and enjoy a cool mist on a hot summer day.
FANTASY FOREST Get an up-close look at the centaur. He lives in Fantasy Forest, a field of artwork that was carved from disaster. After a beetle called the emerald ash borer destroyed trees near the entrance, artists were invited to carve up the trunks into fantastical sculptures. Find wizards, creatures and a UFO in the garden. Take a shot for Instagram while sitting in the monster mouth or on the tree swing.
KALEIDOSCOPE GARDEN The enclosed garden is educational for kids and adults alike. Learn how to grow plants you can eat or check out the many, many varieties of daylilies. None of it would be possible without bees, though. That’s why, rising above the garden, is the Bee-lloon sculpture. It shows the different kinds of bees and their life cycle. How sweet!
WALKING PATHS Explore the arboretum’s walking paths, which meander through the park. You’ll find treasures such as a native flower garden, gazebo, perennial garden and groves of evergreen trees. If you’re looking for more brisk exercise, the one-mile paved road makes a loop from the entrance. After your walk, take a rest by the fountain.
SCULPTURE Fantasy Forest isn’t the only art to find in Leila Arboretum. Travel down the central walkway and you’ll spot what looks like a metallic Stonehenge. It’s a sculpture called Circa. In spring, the nearby magnolia blossoms blush with pink, and in winter, kids navigate their way around Circa on sleds.
DISC GOLF For a unique way to explore the arboretum, follow the disc golf course. Bring a disc and test your skill at 18 holes. The course takes advantage of the arboretum’s rolling hills and shaded groves. You’ll start out by the sumac trees and end on Fragrant Hill. The hill offers a scenic overlook and is covered with blooming trees that look like lacy clouds in spring.
KINGMAN MUSEUM Another great view is from the steps of Kingman Museum. It’s especially breathtaking in October, when all of the leaves turn color. If you’re around on the weekend, step inside Kingman Museum. There are hands-on exhibits and a Digistar Planetarium.
EVENTS Check the calendar at lasgarden.org for events that go on all year. Festivus uses the arboretum’s hills for a cardboard sled race in February. July brings the epic Leilapalooza music festival, with five stages going on full blast. If you have kids, you can’t miss Spooky Science Saturday, which combines hands-on science experiments with candy.