The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, which annually draws a half-million visitors to its lush gardens and fall foliage, will have a limited reopening May 1. But there will be no foot traffic, just vehicles. Visitors will have to keep it moving on Three-Mile Drive as they take in the pink and white magnolias, white, purple and pink rhododendrons and an array of 39,000 tulips.
There are also more than 200 varieties of daffodils in full bloom.
The arboretum will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will accommodate 75 vehicles per hour, according to Susie Eaton Hopper, public relations and media specialist. But that figure is likely to change.
“Based on the success of this initial phase and our ability to continue to ensure everyone’s safety, we hope to announce additional plans for expanded access at a later date,” arboretum director Peter Moe said in a statement.
Reservations, which must be made in advance online, are free to members and cost $15 for nonmembers. The last reservation is at 3 p.m. Officials expect the slots to fill up quickly.
Opened in 1958, the 1,200-acre arboretum is usually open 363 days a year, with signature events that include a Mother’s Day brunch and spring and summer fundraisers. May traditionally is the second-busiest month for visitors, surpassed only by October, Hopper said.
Without visitors, animals such as turkeys and owls have been spreading their wings.
“As much as we are about plants, people are the soul of this place, so it’s haunting to not have people here,” Hopper said, adding that the staff are eager to have patrons back.
“People are anxious to get back to their lives, which is understandable,” said Hopper, who recommended that visitors bring binoculars or cameras with longer lenses to fully take in the blooms. “This is a step in that direction.”