Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space.
Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space.

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County Home => Regional Parks and Open Space => May Center => Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Wilbur D. May Arboretum & Botanical Garden

 arbo sign lear garden

The Wilbur D. May Arboretum and Botanical Garden, a dog free public garden, is a 13 acre living museum with over 4,000 native and adaptive plant species. Located in a transitional zone between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Great Basin Desert, the garden has an average annual precipitation of 7 inches and a short growing season of less than 120 days. At an elevation of 4,600 feet, the gardens' daily temperatures can fluctuate 50 degrees or more in a day! Only a few plants can survive these conditions without additional care and maintenance.

The Arboretum's primary purpose is education, research, and to demonstrate how introduced plant species and native plants grow in a high desert environment. The Wilbur D. May Arboretum & Botanical Garden is a member of the American Public Garden Association (APGA) and a certified Level II Arboretum through the Arb Net Program administered by the Morton Arboretum of Registered Arboreta, Lisle, IL.  


The Labyrinth Garden & Songbird Garden upgrades were completed this past winter and spring along with the first phase of our four phase fencing project thanks to the generous donations from the May Foundation and the May Arboretum Society. The primary purpose of the fencing project is to protect, preserve and conserve the plant collection and gardens for future generations. Final phases of the fencing project will be completed when funds are available. The Arboretum will remain open and free to the public, and gates will remain open during regular park hours. 

HOURS: Opens during regular park hours year round.

COST: FREE! There is no entrance fee.

Horticulturist: Bill Carlos, M.S., bcarlos@washoecounty.us
Horticulture Assistant: Phil Brazier, ISA Certified, pbrazier@washoecounty.us
Maintenance Worker II:Kelly Latham

  • Self-guided tree brochures and Arboretum maps are available in the Arboretum kiosks and inside the May Museum. 
  • Special group tours can be made by appointment. 
  • Several gardens are available for weddings & special events. Click HERE for more information.


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Wilbur D. May Center at
Rancho San Rafael Regional Park
1595 N. Sierra,
Reno, Nevada U.S.A.
(775) 785-5961 Fax (775) 785-4707