#WhyILoveUNC: The Arboretum

The Coker Arboretum might be one of the most overlooked spots on campus, but I'm telling you, it's also one of the best. I've always lived on north campus, so the Arboretum has been a constant during my Carolina experience. I know that right across the street from me is a wonderful botanical garden that takes all my stress away.

Not sure what an arboretum is? Don't worry; I didn't know how to pronounce the word until I got here. Here's a definition:

"A plot of land on which many different trees or shrubs are grown for study or display." (Source)

While this definition is undoubtedly true, it's missing the heart of the Coker Arboretum. The Arboretum, which is roughly 5.3 acres, is one of my favorite spots on campus. It's full of trees, shrubs, flora and fauna. Life at UNC can become pretty hectic. There are classes, homework, studying and meetings. And then you have a social life on top of that! The arboretum is the perfect place for when you feel overwhelmed. I've gone there plenty of times when I just want to relax. The arboretum has no lights in the garden, taking you away from the hustle and bustle of campus life. Everything is natural all the time. So while the arboretum looks daunting at night, it's a beautiful spot on campus. There are several benches throughout the arboretum that are perfect for reading, meditating and more.

While the arboretum isn't a popular spot on campus - you won't see many flocks there when it's warm outside like the lower quad on central campus - it is absolutely stunning. So stunning, in fact, that the arboretum is host to photo shoots galore. I walk through the tunnel (see picture below) quite a lot, and I have definitely walked into some engagement and graduation photoshoots. If you look up the Coke Arboretum on Google, you'll even see wedding pictures. Yes, readers, we have a bonafide wedding venue on our campus, so go and revel in its beauty!

Here is the tunnel, which is commonly used for pictures.

The arboretum isn't just beautiful in the springtime; it's a winter wonderland when it snows. Here are some pictures that I took just this past December when it snowed.

Campus life can be stressful, but UNC has wonderful spots like the arboretum that are perfect for relaxation and slowing down. Whether you are a second semester senior or an incoming first-year, take the time to visit the arboretum. The arboretum is a little slice of paradise on an already beautiful campus.

The arboretum is located at the intersection of Raleigh Street and East Cameron Avenue. It is near the Kenan residential community. The tunnel, which is used as a common entrance to the arboretum, is near the Department of Psychology building.