Are you looking for a little respite in the middle of town? Someplace peaceful to take a walk, or sit and read? A place to enjoy the beauty of nature? Look no further than Coker Arboretum on UNC's campus. It is next to the Planetarium, behind the Chapel of the Cross and bounded by Cameron Avenue and Raleigh Street.
We go there frequently, not only to take in the gorgeous plant life, but sometimes to picnic, and often to let my toddler's imagination, and energy, run wild. Once you walk through the gates, it is easy to forget that you are in the middle of a busy college campus. In fact, today, we saw people reading on benches, people picnicking in the grass, and we even saw someone who had set up a portable hammock sleeping between two trees!!!!
The curator, Dan Stern, refers to the Arboretum as a haven. In fact, that is the title of his book on the Arboretum: A Haven in the Heart of Chapel Hill. --There is no better way to describe it.
Run by the NC Botanical gardens, the Arboretum is open daily from dawn until dusk. There is metered parking close by, and if you are looking for a guided tour, you are in luck. Guided tours are held every third Saturday at 11am and last an hour, with the next tour on April 16.