An arboretum is a great place to get a sense of native flowers and plants and trees, and to walk quietly and safely away from the hustle and bustle. This is true of the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, and especially true of the Lyon Arboretum in Honolulu. It is way off the beaten path -- all the way at the furthest end of Manoa Valley, probably 25 minutes uphill and into the mountains -- but still technically in the city.
We set off on one of the many walks -- there are numerous paths, some which offer shorter paths and some longer, more energetic walks. In the first few hundred feet, we passed lots of people working on plantings and maintenance, but after that, we were alone. Really alone, surrounded by huge trees, amazing gigantic leaves, flowers, plants.
For us, the best things were the solitude and the very thoughtful signs identifying and explaining the plants and trees you pass. Even more fun -- many of the signs have QR codes -- point your smartphone's QR reader at them, and a web page opens that explains the history of the plant, it's origins, how endangered it is, and so on.
A great way to spend an afternoon. The fee is only "suggested", as far as we could tell. On the day we were there, we put $15 into the box for the 3 of us, but nobody said we had to, and we didn't receive any ticket or receipt. I don't know what would happen if you didn't want to pay -- they'd probably say "welcome" anyway, but because it is such a great resource, I can't imagine going there and not chipping in at least a token amount.
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