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LSU Hilltop Arboretum

Subject: Science/Nature

11855 Highland Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

(225) 767-6916 | General Information
(225) 767-6916 | Reservations
(225) 768-7740 | Fax

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General Public Hours and Admission Rates: Daily, Dawn to Dusk; Free; Office hours Monday – Friday 9:00am – 4:00pm.

School Tour Hours and Admission Rates: Monday – Wednesday 10:00am – 3:00pm; Free

  • Student to Chaperone Ratio Requested: 7:1
  • Advance Time Needed to Make Reservations: Two weeks
  • Number of Students per Visit: 40
  • Suggested Length of Time for Visit: One hour
  • Handicapped Accessible: The administration and education complex is handicapped accessible, the nature trails are not.
  • Grade Level Appropriate: Preschool – 4th
  • Lunch Facilities: School groups can picnic in the open air pavilion. Fast food and restaurants are on nearby Bluebonnet Blvd.
  • Gift Shop: Yes
  • Bus parking available on site

Tell Us About It!

The community of Baton Rouge and visitors from further away can enjoy an extensive collection of Louisiana trees and shrubs cultivated on 14 beautiful acres. The property known as Hilltop was purchased after World War II by Emory Smith and his wife, Annette, as a farm and country retreat. Hilltop was donated to Louisiana State University with the intent that it will remain a model of the natural landscape and continue its traditional use as an outdoor laboratory for students and the community. The arboretum is managed by the School of Landscape Architecture and is maintained year-round by graduate students from the school. Visitors to Hilltop Arboretum will find more than a quiet place to enjoy, far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life; they will also find a place to learn about Louisiana’s flora.

What Can We See and Do There?

The staff and volunteers at the LSU Hilltop Arboretum maintain this natural landscape for all to come to visit. The 14-acre site exhibits over 150 species of native Louisiana plants in their natural habitats and an acre-size pond. The education and administration complex includes an open-air pavilion for visitors. Guided walking tours for visitors and school groups traverse the meadows and woods. Visitors may ask for copies of the arboretum’s self-guided walking tour and map. This program, Walk About, helps kids identify 20 kinds of trees and shrubs. Students will learn about the coexistence of plants and animals in Louisiana’s habitat. Hands-on projects begin at the arboretum where students can collect pine cones, leaf specimens, and other small finds to take back to their classrooms. This site offers a relaxed and open-air “walk in the woods.”

How Do We Get There?

From I-12 exit at Siegen Land going south to Highland Road. Turn right. The arboretum is located on Highland Road between Bluebonnet Blvd. and Siegen Lane approximately 6.5 miles south of the LSU Campus.

Bad Weather! Now What Do We Do?

Call the arboretum to inquire about rainy day plans.

Louisiana State Educational Benchmarks and Standards
  • K-4th grades: LS-A1-4; LS-B1-3; LS-E-C1-3; SE-E-A5; G-1-E1
  • 5th-8th grades: LS-M-A3-4; LS-M-C3-4; LS-M-D1-2; SE-M-A5, 7, 9-10
  • 9th-12th grades: LS-H-D4; LS-H-E1, 3; SE-H-A3, 8; SE-H-C1
What Can We Do In Class Before Our Field Trip?

Visit the arboretum’s website or call the education staff to borrow a copy of the teacher’s manual. The manual has over 100 pages of orientation information, lesson plans, facts, and work sheets. Help students define the word, arboretum.

S-T-R-E-T-C-H Out Your Field Trip Benefits

The arboretum asks students to write or draw pictures of what they saw on this field trip. Teachers can call for samples of student thank-you letters and pictures. Look back in the teacher’s manual or on the website for more crafts, lessons, and resources to continue studying Louisiana’s plant community in the classroom. Plant tree seeds in class and monitor the seedlings growth. Hang pictures of the mature trees near the seedlings!


Louisiana plant life, environmental science, conservation, ecology; classification, scientific inquiry, forests


Atchafalaya National Heritage Area

• National Park Service affiliate
• "Passport to Your National Parks" Program
• Member of Alliance of National Heritage Areas
National Park Service Affiliate Louisiana Travel - Pick Your Passion Alliance of National Heritage Areas