By admin

Our beautiful F. R. Newman Arboretum has a dedicated tent site next to Houston Pond with a picturesque wooden bridge pergola. It is ideal for weddings, luncheons, reunions and gatherings for up to 200 people.

This location is lovely, but “rustic,” which means there is no available electricity or source of water. We do not allow amplified sound. This means no DJs for wedding receptions. Parking is limited.

The Arboretum is open between sun up and sun down; so all events must happen within this window of time. We do not allow night-time events.

The Arboretum, with paths and roadways winding through rolling hills, is also a popular spot for benefit 5K walks and runs.


Cornell departments:
up to 50 guests: $250
51 to 200 guests: $550 

Groups external to Cornell University:
up to 50 guests: $350 
51 to 200 guests: $650

For Cornell Student Groups: $50 per hour from the start (set up) of the event until the end (clean up) OR the Cornell department fee, whichever is less.

Things to Note

  • Events must be held during daylight hours, as Cornell Botanic Gardens’ grounds close at dark.
  • Tents, tables and/or chairs, if needed, must be rented from an outside vendor. View map with tent placement here. For a list of local rental companies, click here.
  • Rental tents, tables and/or chairs may be delivered and set up the day before your event and must be removed as soon as possible after your event.
  • No candles are allowed under tents.
  • No smoking is allowed under tents.
  • Electricity and water are not available in the Arboretum.
  • Amplified sound equipment is prohibited.
  • Signs may not be posted on trees or other permanent fixtures. Signs on removable stakes in the lawn are acceptable, but must be removed immediately after your event.

Portable Restrooms

Two small portable restrooms are located across the road from the Arboretum tent site, which are for public use. Additional larger ones may be rented for your event from an outside vendor, via our Business Office, and placed near the others. You are welcome to put your own locks on them and signs indicating that they are private and for your event only.

Food and Beverages

For catered events, only University approved caterers may be used. A listing can be found here. No on-site cooking is allowed. All food preparation must be done off-site and delivered ready to serve. Caterers are responsible for cleanup and trash removal.

For non-catered events, takeout food and drinks for immediate consumption, purchased from local restaurants and markets, may be delivered or brought in. No personal catering by event participants of homemade food is allowed. No onsite cooking is allowed. If purchased food is brought in, renters are responsible for all liability associated with serving food. Renters are also responsible for cleanup and removing trash and all other items brought in.

All users must adhere to New York State law and Cornell University policy concerning alcohol use. External (private) groups planning to serve alcohol must have the alcohol served by a University approved caterer with liquor liability insurance, as must Cornell groups charging for alcoholic beverages or charging for an event at which alcohol is served.

Tent Permits

The Town of Ithaca requires permits for tents larger than 20’ by 20’or tents with sides. It is the renter’s responsibility to follow their requirements and pay the appropriate fees. Contact Town of Ithaca, Code Enforcement/Site Work at 607-273-1783 for more information. For the permit application, go to the Town of Ithaca website and select “documents” from the top menu bar, and then “forms” to get to the list of permits and select “tent permits.”


Limited parking is available near the tent/event site. Additional parking is found throughout the F. R. Newman Arboretum and is free of charge. Carpooling is encouraged. Busing is the preferred mode to transport large groups to the Arboretum.

Use of Outdoor Space

Feel free to enjoy the Arboretum grounds. Please stay on roads, paths and lawns, leaving garden beds and plants undisturbed. Cornell Botanic Gardens’ grounds remain open to the public from sunrise to sunset daily and do not close for special events. During your gathering, visitors and staff will also have free access to the grounds.


Any damage to the Arboretum beyond normal wear and tear must be reported as soon as it occurs, or is discovered. Renters are responsible for the repair and/or replacement cost associated with such damage.

 You are responsible for the actions of your guests. Please advise them of these policies.

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