Information on:

Garvan Woodland Gardens


About the Garden:

Garvan Woodland Gardensis  the botanical garden of the University of Arkansas. Nestled in the picturesque Ouachita Mountains of Southwest Arkansas, the Gardens are a wonderful gift to all people from local industrialist and philanthropist Verna Cook Garvan.Garvan Woodland Gardens is an example of The Natural State at its best: a canopy of pines reaching skyward providing protection for delicate flora and fauna, gentle lapping waves that unfold along the 4 ½ miles of wooded shoreline, and rocky inclines that remind us of the surrounding Ouachita Mountains.


Garvan Woodland Gardens' mission is to preserve and enhance a unique part of the Ouachita environment; provide people with a place of learning, research, cultural enrichment, and serenity; develop and sustain gardens, landscapes, and structures of exceptional aesthetics, design, and construction; and partner with and serve communities of which the Gardens is a part.

From the dynamic architectural structures to the majestic botanical landscapes, Garvan Woodland Gardens offers breathtaking sights (and fantastic photo opportunities) at every turn.

Verna Cook Garvan, a long-time resident of southern Arkansas, was founder and benefactress of Garvan Woodland Gardens. The Garvans made Hot Springs their home and were involved in several businesses affiliated with ABCO (A. B. Cook) Industries, the most notable being Malvern Brick and Tile Company. Now an independent department of the University's School of Architecture, the gardens continue to flourish and grow through the support of the Arkansas Legislature, Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, many generous private donors, and over 3,000 members.


Rob Harn

Monday, July 16, 2018
What a great experience! Despite being 'trapped' under a bridge for 45min, to avoid the lightning that moved in on us, my family and I had a GREAT time. There plants and flowers were beautifully arranged and the children's area was awesome. This was the highlight of the trip, INCLUDING seeking cover under a bridge. My 15 year old daughter and 12 year old son loved it. They didn't even miss technology during our visit. Will visit again.

Pier Carlo Talenti

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
What a wonderful jewel in the Hot Springs area! What looks to be a tremendous tree house was being built when I was there, so I wasn't able to access the wildlife preserve half of the gardens. What I did see, namely the botanical gardens themselves, were beautifully landscaped with surprises around every corner. Don't hesitate to walk out to the end of the peninsula to enjoy the vista of the lake from a beautiful vantage point. If I lived there, I would buy a membership right away and rely on the gardens to bring me peace and beauty throughout the year.

John Lyles

Friday, July 13, 2018
Absolutely beautiful improving and adding new features. The gardens were well maintained. The tree house was such an amazing feature. We also went into a cave behind the water fall, and did the gardens bingo game. My 10 and 6 year old had fun while the adults in our group enjoyed the trees and flowers.

DeAnne D.

Saturday, June 16, 2018
Extraordinary. Gorgeous. A work of love and amazing groundskeepers. 700 acres of absolutely delightful finds. A golf cart style tour is available, and recommended, if only to learn the history of the place, and get a chance to see the vast majority of the property in a couple of hours, else traveling the trails and taking in all the sites could be an enjoyable all day trip. Entrance fees are more than reasonable, cafe prices are fair, staff and volunteers are delightful. This is truly a lakeside gem.

Sheranne McGraw

Friday, July 20, 2018
This was a garden enthusiast dream walk. Loved the waterfalls and plants. We saw some small wildlife along the way. Well kept paths. For people that have a hard time walking or get short of breath this is a doable event. They have golf cart tours available with experienced guides that tell you about the areas. Take some water with you. It was 102 degrees when we were there hot but not unbearable to walk. The paths were pretty much all covered in shade. Thanks for the great experience.

Garvan Woodland Gardens is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media