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“Cylburn Arboretum was boring and mostly-inaccessable”
Review of Cylburn Arboretum

Cylburn Arboretum
Ranked #57 of 231 things to do in Baltimore
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Herndon, Virginia
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 127 helpful votes
“Cylburn Arboretum was boring and mostly-inaccessable”
Reviewed May 24, 2014

Drove 60-miles (from Fairfax, VA) to visit Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore, but was disappointed overall. Firstly, Mansion on grounds is only open Tuesday-Friday (very inconvenient and unnecessarily-restrictive schedule to those who have weekday lives outside tourist-trips). I believe this is designed such that they can advertise it on the website, but ultimately deny viewing to the public on the most favorable (weekend) days...just so they can maximize their Wedding Schedule revenues or reserve it for VIPs. They boldly advertise 'Greenhouse' on their website, but then after you get there (and its too late to change your mind) you are denied viewing of any Hothouse or Greenhouses & plantings (they claim that they "use too much hazardous pesticides for public breathing"...if the pesticides are toxic, then why use them; no one else does?). Although it was still 14:00pm (on Saturday), we were denied access to the Aquaponics Project Building (the staff told us it was only accessible 'By Invitation Only'). I believe these advertisements followed by denied-access is most likely just a ploy to advertise nice things to attract visitors to drive 2-hours to get there, but then in reality just keep the public out of Gardner's way while they use Donor's money to feather their own Master Gardening careers. The Nature Museum (Carriage House) was advertised in very alluring description on their website, but when we arrived, we found it in tatters and closed due to unknown construction (no advance notice on their website). It just looks like a broken-down shack from the outside. Most individual gardens were in the process of being upgrade with new plantings (thus, nothing interesting to view); the Formal Garden was the only one worth viewing (elegant). Some of the other individual gardens were pretty...but plain. Unfortunately, the predominance of this Arboretum grounds is nothing more than a few open green grass fields (no interesting plants or unusual tree-sets) with a paved roadway down the middle of it. Most of the nature trails (e.g. Circle Trail; Ravine Course; etc.) were mud-soaked (despite no rain for several days) and barely passable in some places; not well-maintained. We saw an advertisement for the 'Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens on the Info-rack of the Visitor Center (because Cylburn Arboretum manages the Rawlings Conservatory). It looked very interesting. However, the directions that the Visitor Center Manager provided us to find Rawlings Conservatory (by the Zoo) was totally confusing. This was compounded by the Rawlings brochure that has confusing driving directions and useless GPS coordinates (useless for all who do not have Navi). We wasted 45-minutes searching for the Rawlings Conservatory...only to arrive there and discover that it was closed for a private party (this fact should have been known by the Cylburn Manager when he gave us directions; that would have saved us the laborious hunt for Rawlings). I was so angry that he gave us confusing directions and lets us go without telling us that it was already closed. Overall, we wasted 4-hours driving time round-trip to view a mostly-boring Arboretum that requires only about 15-20 minutes to see everything accessible of interest. I strongly recommend Tourists should instead bypass this Arboretum altogether, and get better value for their time-spent traveling by going to view beautiful places like the National Arboretum; Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens; etc. The Management of this Cylburn Arboretum should be ashamed of themselves for the bait-n-switch way of advertising on their website and then denying access to everything after people arrive. My family will not ever make the trip back here to this place.

Visited May 2014
10 Thank ME98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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76 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Baltimore, Maryland
Level 5 Contributor
76 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Toured for potential wedding venue”
Reviewed May 12, 2014

We toured the property for a potential wedding venue. The grounds are beautiful, but the staff was quite unfriendly. It was a beautiful Saturday morning, not sure why so hostile. But the house and grounds themselves are lovely.

Visited March 2014
4 Thank Steph S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 6 Contributor
211 reviews
101 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“probably the most peaceful spot in metro Baltimore; a unique respite”
Reviewed April 28, 2014

I was very impressed by the beautiful grounds of the Clybrun Arboretum, as well as the walking paths, the visitor center, the blooming trees, bushes, and flowers, the stately mansion, etc. I don't know how anyone could find fault in such a gorgeous property/facility that offers so much, and at no charge - even the parking was free.

This place has a wonderful resonance and just exudes peace. Everyone there seemed to be enjoying themselves, and each other, by walking, biking, playing with children, having a picnic, pushing strollers or wheelchairs, taking photos, painting, drawing, reading, napping. Every single person who I interacted with was friendly, happy, and seemed at ease. Maybe this area has special powers(?).

I visited on a bright, clear Sunday afternoon. It was picture-perfect day for enjoying nature. Despite the large number of people, there was still ample parking and no area was crowded. The staff at the visitor's center were polite and helpful.

Planning tips: bring your own food and water because you will probably want to stay longer than you may have planned. It's truly a gorgeous spot with a relaxing feel.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank JetMags2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Halethorpe, Maryland
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“More than just trees!!”
Reviewed January 14, 2014

Wonderful gardens amongst the magnificent trees. Nice visitors center and friendly people. Loved the "insect/bird/mammals" house. Lots of surprises at this Arboretum. Be ready to stroll around for a couple of hours. I think they should have a "Tea Room" on the premises. It would be a perfect compliment to the gardens.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank RosebudV71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North East
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed September 9, 2013

The grounds and gardens of this place are beautiful and very well kept. If you like nature and picture taking you should definately visit Cylburn. It is a nice place to picnic or to take a walk. There are many trails that are covered by trees in case you get one of those warm summer days. This place sometimes host free music festivals as well. I liked this place so much that I have taken family pictures here. It makes for a beautiful backdrop!

Visited August 2013
1 Thank honestX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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