Arboretum Annual Events

Calendar of Annual Events

The following are the names and descriptions of the Yakima Area Arboretum’s (YAA) signature annual events.  Most events are held on the Arboretum grounds.   Exact dates and times are determined annually but typically fall on the same day of the month each year.  In addition to these events, we host a number of other classes, lectures, and shows throughout the year in partnership with our Affiliated Club Members and local experts. 



 Member’s Only – Annual Membership Meeting – 3rd Wednesday in January | 6pm-8pm

The Annual Membership Meeting is hosted by the Yakima Area Arboretum’s Board of Directors and staff, and is a requirement of the Arboretum’s By Laws.  The meeting features social time, a PowerPoint presentation, YAA financials, volunteer awards, and the voting in of new board members.  Attendance: 50-80, YAA Members



 Pulling of the Greens – Any Saturday in March | 9am to 1pm       

A community volunteer spring cleanup of the YAA grounds.  Volunteers prune shrubs, lay down topsoil and bark, repair trails, and work on any other areas that need attention.  Lunch is often provided afterwards.  Attendance: 50+, FREE



 Arbor Day Tree Planting – 2nd Wednesday in April                            

This is the YAA’s opportunity to celebrate our Washington State Arbor Day with a community tree planting of some sort, whether the planting takes place at a private Habitat for Humanity home, a city park, school, or on the Arboretum grounds.  This event can vary greatly from year to year.  Attendance: 10+, FREE

 Arbor Festival – 2nd or 3rd Saturday in April | 10am to 3pm

The annual Arbor Festival is the Arboretum’s largest educational event (and according to DNR the largest Arbor Day event in the country) and celebrates trees and Yakima’s Arbor Day.  ArborFest is a family community event that strives to make environmental science fun to learn.   ArborFest features over 30 stations, hosted by a variety of community organizations, who offer attendees hands-on learning opportunities, crafts, and displays demonstrating that year’s theme. In addition, over 500 families will take home a tree sapling to plant!  Attendance: 1500-3000+, FREE


Member’s Only – Plant Sale –Night before Spring Plant Sale | 4pm to 7pm

Current YAA Members get first pick of plants the night before the public sale while drinking a glass of wine and nibbling on appetizers.  Attendance: 200+, YAA Members

Spring Plant Sale – 1st or 2nd weekend in May.  Friday & Saturday | Times Vary

The YAA hosts a much anticipated Spring Plant Sale.  Yakima gardeners look forward to purchasing trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, succulents, vines, and other unique botanical specimens that will do well in our Yakima climate.  The Spring Plant Sale is a YAA fundraiser.   Attendance: 1000 +



 Children’s Nature Day Camp (NDC) – M – F, Week-long. June -August | 9am to 3pm

Campers spend their days outdoors, exploring, conducting experiments, gathering and documenting information, listening to stories, playing games, climbing, walking, building, observing, collecting, getting dirty, wet, and so much more. At the end of the day our campers arrive home tired, a little messy and full of stories about their adventures and will be eager to do it all again the next day.  Attendance: 1st thru 7th Grade, 200-300 total camp spots over 9+weeks

 Garden Tour Typically 3rd Saturday & Sunday in June | 10am to 4pm

2024 dates: June 22 and 23

The Garden Tour is a YAA fundraiser that offers the community two days to peek over the fence at 5 beautiful private local gardens. The tour is self-guided, with garden owners and local gardener’s on hand to provide inspiration and advice for gardeners of all levels.  Attendees can also purchase admission to the afterhours Wine-Down event at the end of the first day, hosted in one of the Tour’s beautiful gardens. Guests enjoy wine, light snacks, and engaging with other garden enthusiasts. Attendance: 300+, $30/person



 Member’s Only – July 4th Ice Cream Social & Fireworks – July 4 | 7:30pm-10:30pm

The grounds, normally closed on the 4th of July, are opened just for our members. Our members get to enjoy ice cream sundaes, music and a spectacular view of the State Fair Park fireworks across from the Arboretum.  Attendance: 80-100, Free to current YAA Members



 Sol Shine Nature Preschool – September – June | 9am to 12:30pm M-Th

The Yakima Area Arboretum is the location of Sol Shine Nature Preschool, currently the only licensed nature based preschool in eastern Washington, and one of only 12 licensed nature preschools in the state.  Sol Shine Nature Preschool offers a Forest Kindergarten program for children ages three to six. Sol Shine is operated independently, but in partnership with the YAA and follows the Yakima School District calendar.  Attendance: 16-20, $275 per month

 Autumn Bounty – Saturday or Sunday in September | 4 hours in the afternoon or evening                 

Autumn Bounty is the Arboretum’s largest annual fundraising event of the year and features a garden party type atmosphere a huge tent, with music, dinner, local beer and wine, and a live and silent auction. Guests enjoy an evening with friends, who share a passion for trees and nature, while supporting the Arboretum! Attendees must be 21 years or older.  Attendance: 300, $75/person



 Member’s Only – First Light Luminaria Night – 2nd Thursday, December | 5pm to 8pm

Our members and donors get to enjoy the famous Luminaria candle-lit trail first, park on site, warm up with complimentary hot drinks, shop in the Tree House Gift Shop and enjoy kid’s crafts before everyone else.  Attendance: 300+, YAA Members

 Luminaria – 2nd Friday and Saturday in December | 5pm to 10pm

For over 30 years the Yakima Area Arboretum has welcomed tens of thousands of area families, free-of-charge, to experience the magic of walking through its grounds lit by the lights of over a thousand candles and twinkle lights! Luminaria is the YAA’s largest community of the year, with crowds reaching upwards of 6000 people over two nights.  The event features a candle-lit walk through the Arboretum’s wintry landscape, live music, children’s crafts, naturalist table, shopping and hot cocoa.  The City of Yakima assists with a parking shuttle.  Attendance: 5k-6k, FREE