The Matthaei Botanical Gardens is part of the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. It contains a number of specialty gardens, including Gaffield Children’s Garden, a Great Lakes Garden with local plants, and a Bonsai Garden featuring exotic plants originally from Japan. Other places to visit on the grounds are the Nichols Arboretum and nearly three miles of trails. Eleven different gardens are in bloom from early spring until the frost in the fall. Birds and wildlife populate the lush natural settings along the trails, ponds, and creeks. Watch out for poison ivy and the rare eastern massasauga, a small venomous rattlesnake that is native to Michigan! If you are visiting during the winter, there are three Climate Zone displays open at the conservatory: Tropical, Temperate, and Arid. This educational location also boasts a gift shop that supports locally sourced goods, an art display promoting nature and creativity, and a campus farm that helps feed college students. Your camera is a must for this stop!