T h i s   W a y   t o   N a t u r e           in Chapel Hill                 @thiswaytonature.com
        Map of Sites   Adams Tract
Anderson Community Park
Battle Park
Cedar Falls Park
Homestead Park
Johnston Mill Nature Preserve
Mason Farm Biological Reserve
North Carolina Botanical Garden
Pritchard Park
Umstead Park

Explore . . .



Educational Center

The mission of the North Carolina Botanical Garden is “To inspire understanding, appreciation, and conservation of plants in gardens and natural areas and to advance a sustainable relationship between people and nature.” In support of their mission the Garden offers numerous educational programs, both to school groups and the general public. Through sales of native seeds and plants, as well as instructional handbooks, the Garden promotes the preservation and propagation of native plants.



With such a large number of flowering plants and shrubs in a variety of habitats ranging from sunny to shady and dry to moist, the Garden is host to many different kinds of insects, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. Find a comfortable seat on a bench and wait to see what happens by. Look for caterpillars in the herb garden, listen for frogs along the boardwalk, and watch birds flitting in the bushes.


At North Carolina Botanical
Garden you can—

  • learn to identify dozens of native plants
  • familiarize yourself with the different habitats in NC
  • see carnivorous plants up close
  • look for butterflies in the herb garden

Make the North Carolina Botanical Garden your first stop to learn about the native plants of North Carolina. Take a walk on the boardwalk through the Coastal Plains Habitat, learning about the role that fire plays in the regenerative process. Then saunter through the Mountain Habitat and make the acquaintance of plants and trees characteristic of the mountainous region in the western part of the state. On subsequent visits you can explore the herb garden, the carnivorous plant collection, and the garden of flowering plant families.

A Natural Area of Chapel Hill

One of 10 natural areas in the Chapel Hill area profiled by Boy Scouts of Troop 9 for Daniel Ripperton’s Eagle Scout Service Project to encourage children to spend more time in the natural world.


North Carolina
Botanical Garden

Part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the North Carolina Botanical Garden has been in the forefront of conservation and education about native plants in the Southeast for over 30 years. Comprising nearly 600 acres, much of it donated to the University over a hundred years ago by the Mason family, the Garden includes Coker Arboretum and Mason Farm Biological Reserve as well as the Display Collections and Piedmont Nature Trails at the Main Visitor Area. The diversity of plant species in the Piedmont is showcased along the Piedmont Nature Trails, while two of the Display Gardens—The Coastal Plain Garden and The Mountain Habitat Garden—offer glimpses of plant life in the other two geographical regions of the state.

Located on Fordham Boulevard at Old Mason Farm Road.

Parking available in parking lot.

Drinking water and restrooms available in the Totten Center.

Park Hours are M-F (8am - 5pm) Sat (9am - 5pm EST, 9am - 6pm DST) Sun (1pm - 5pm EST, 1pm - 6pm DST)

Dogs on leash permitted on trails only.

Administered by North Carolina Botanical Garden.


[PDF]   Printable Brochure



To view plants of the Piedmont in their native habitat, take a walk on the Piedmont Nature Trails. Starting on the Streamside Trail you will descend gradually to Meeting-of-the-Waters Creek. After crossing the creek you can continue to follow the creek along the relatively flat Streamside Trail, or you can turn onto the Oak-Hickory Trail which ascends the ridge and circles back to meet the Streamside Trail again. The trails are well marked with both directional and interpretive signs.