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Monday, March 30, 2009

Reflection Riding Arboretum Review

Reflection Riding Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
Chattanooga Nature Center
Chattanooga, TN
Location: 400 Garden Rd Chattanooga, TN 37419 (MAP)
Phone: (423) 821-9582
Website: ,

Date Visited: 02 Feb 2009

My family & I visited the Chattanooga Nature Center & the massive 300 acre Reflection Riding Arboretum on a warm February day. Visitors can expect to pay $7 per adult for admission to the Nature Park & Arboretum, or just $6 per car for the arboretum alone.

Our visit started at the Nature Center where there is a gift shop, nature exhibits & native wildlife including crows, snakes & more.

Outside of the nature center there is a small constructed wetlands demonstration area with information where visitors can see a wetland in action.

Constructed Wetlands

Constructed Wetlands Exhibit

SignsTrail markers direct visitors to several points of interest.

Our first destination was an impressive tree house built above a swampy area not far from the Nature Center. The ground was wet from recent rains but our feet stayed dry upon the raised boardwalks.

Tree House The Discovery Forest Tree House is in an Overcup Oak that is over 100 years old

Our next stop through the nature park was to the "Wildlife WanderLand", an informal zoo for native animals. Animals included eagles, hawks, owls, assorted woodland animals & endangered Red Wolves.

Red Wolf Red Wolf
After visiting the animals we set out for the Arboretum. To traverse the incredible 300 acre grounds we had to take our car. While it remains very pedestrian friendly, cars share the trails in a leisury drive with plenty of places to pull over and explore the property.

Most of the grounds offer wide open spaces & spectacular views. Scattered patches of trees and a variety of microclimates offer a huge diversity of growing conditions for trees of every type.

Observed Trees:
Carya ovata - Shagbark Hickory
Cercis canadensis - Eastern Redbud
Chionanthus virginicus - Fringe Tree
Cladrastis kentuckea - American Yellowwood
Cornus amomum - Silky Dogwood
Cornus florida - Flowering Dogwood
Cornus mas - Cornelian Cherry Dogwood
Crataegus spathulata - Pasture Hawthorn
Enkianthus campanulatus - Redvein Enkianthus
Euonymus bungeana - Winterberry Euonymus
Fagus grandifolia - American Beech
Ginkgo biloba - Ginkgo
Gleditsia triacanthos - Honey Locust
Gymnocladus dioica - Kentuck Coffeetree
Halesia carolina - Carolina Silverbell
Hydrangea quercifolia - Oakleaf Hydrangea
Ilex decidua - Possumhaw
Ilex verticillata - Common Winterberry
Kalmia latifolia - Mountain Laurel
Liquidambar styraciflua - Sweetgum
Liriodendron tulipifera - Tulip Tree
Magnolia acuminata - Cucumbertree Magnolia
Magnolia stellata - Star Magnolia
Magnolia tripetala - Umbrella Magnolia
Metasequoia glyptostroboides - Dawn Redwood
Nyssa sylvatica - Black Tupelo
Pinus echinata - Shortleaf Pine
Pinus strobus - White Pine
Pinus taeda - Loblolly Pine
Prunus serotina - Black Cherry
Pyrus calleryana - Callery Pear
Quercus alba - White Oak
Quercus muehlenbergii - Chinkapin Oak
Quercus nigra - Water Oak
Quercus palustris - Pin Oak
Quercus prinodes - Dwarf Chinkapin Oak
Quercus rubra - Northern Red Oak
Rhododendron austrinum - Florida Azalea
Sassafras albidum - Sassafras
Ulmus americana - American Elm
Ulmus rubra - Slippery Elm
Viburnum acerfolium - Mapleleaf Viburnum