Display Gardens and Education Center

The visitor area located on Old Mason Farm Road off of Fordham Boulevard in Chapel Hill is the best place to get oriented to the North Carolina Botanical Garden and to tour gardens and nature trails. Follow the jump-links below to plan your visit.


The James & Delight Allen Education Center houses classrooms, auditorium, and seminar rooms used for lectures, classes, meetings, and other public programs; an exhibit hall and botanical art and illustration gallery; the Green Gardener Reference Room, which includes the Addie Totten Library Collection; a Plant Sale area and Gift Shop with books, clothes, stationery, fine art prints, and more. Offices for the Garden's administrative, development, and education staff are also in the Allen Education Center.

The receptionist inside the Allen Education Center provides visitors with information about the Garden, including how to become a member. Free informational brochures are available here. Permits to visit the Mason Farm Biological Reserve, a 367-acre natural area, may be obtained here as well.

Nature-related art exhibits by North Carolina artists are displayed, generally for two-month-long showings, in the Allen Education Center's art gallery. Educational/interpretive exhibits are periodically installed in the main exhibit hall. There are also permanent sculptures sited throughout the display collections. Each fall, the Garden installs its annual Sculpture in the Garden exhibition, displaying a great variety of sculptures in many media throughout the collections.

The Totten Center—formerly the Garden's information center—now serves as the hub of horticultural and propagation activities and is no longer open to the public.

Read descriptions of the individual garden collections here.

overview of the Main Visitor Site

Aerial view of display gardens behind the Totten Center.

The Piedmont Nature Trails, accessible from the parking area, offer visitors an opportunity to hike through a natural area.

Other sites owned and/or managed by the North Carolina Botanical Garden and open to the public are the nearby Coker Arboretum, Battle Park, Coker Pinetum, Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, and Mason Farm Biological Reserve.

Visiting Hours

Tuesday - Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays and University Holidays. Please call for holiday hours.

visitors look at pitcher plants and venus flytrap

The Garden's Carnivorous Plants collection is renowned througout the Southeast.

Our other public areas, such as Battle Park, Coker Arboretum, and Mason Farm Biological Reserve are open daily, year round, from dawn to dusk. Please note that a permit is required to visit Mason Farm (it can be obtained at the Allen Education Center reception desk).


At the Allen Education Center, you will find accessible restrooms and water fountains inside the exhibit hall as well as outside next to the Children's Wonder Garden.

Located at the outside west end of the Totten Center, you will find an accessible water fountain and restrooms and a beverage machine.


There are a few guidelines that you should follow when visiting any of the areas that we manage: PLEASE SEE THE SIDEBAR further up the page and to the right, and do note the following:

  • The Nature Trails are rustic. Watch for fallen tree branches, uneven ground, wet leaves, and varying weather-related conditions.
  • We invite you to use our water fountain and beverage machine, outside the Totten Center, frequently during hot weather.


The Allen Education Center, Display Collections (gardens), and the Herb Garden are wheelchair accessible, though parts of the Display Collections require the assistance of another person. We have a wheelchair on site for our visitors; please call ahead or inquire at the Allen Education Center reception desk if you would like to use it during your visit. And please call ahead if you have other special needs.

Several accessible parking spaces can be found in the parts of the parking lot closest to the Allen Education Center. Please consult the garden map. If you require special assistance in moving from a parking space to the building entrance, please call 919-962-0522, tell us when to expect you, and a member of the staff will be available to assist you.

Pet Policy

Dogs are not allowed in the collections display area or around or in the Allen Education Center. Leashed dogs only are allowed on the Piedmont Nature Trails.

Updated on January 02, 2017 at 08:27:03 am.