Visitor & Photography Policies

We ask you to observe the following rules for the protection and safety of all visitors, wildlife, and plants.


  1. All plants (their leaves, flowers, cones) and all animals (including turtles and snakes) found at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center are protected. Collection and removal are not allowed.
  2. Trails are designed for hiking only. Jogging, biking, skateboarding, horseback riding and other sport recreation activities are not allowed.
  3. Leave no trace. Littering hurts our wildlife and damages our landscape. Trashcans are located around the building for your convenience. Balloons and confetti pose huge threats to birds, turtles, and other wildlife, and both are strictly prohibited.
  4. There is no picnicking on Houston Arboretum & Nature Center grounds. However, Memorial Park next door is equipped for such activity.
  5. The health of wildlife as well as your safety is jeopardized by feeding native animals. Please do not feed the animals.
  6. For your safety and to reduce environmental impact, stay on designated trails.
  7. Dogs are permitted only if they are controlled by a leash and restrained to trails during their visit. This is as much for the safety of the pet as for the protection of the wildlife. Potential hazards to dogs not controlled by a short leash include snake bites and contact with poison ivy. Please be aware that for safety and sanitation reasons, pets are not allowed in the Nature Playscape. All City of Houston Ordinances regarding dogs, including clean up of waste, must be followed. Pets should not be left in unattended vehicles.
  8. Increase your chances of seeing wildlife by refraining from making loud noises.
  9. For safety and greater enjoyment, we require that adult sponsors supervise visiting youth groups. At least one adult chaperone per 10 children is required.
  10. No weapons of any kind are permitted on the Arboretum grounds or in our buildings.

Open/Concealed Handgun Policy

Pursuant to Section 30.07, Penal Code (trespass by a license holder with an openly carried handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (handgun licensing law), may not enter this property with a handgun that is carried openly.

Conforme a la sección 30.07 del código penal (traspasar por poseedor con licencia para portar arma de fuego abiertamente) personas con licencia bajo del sub-capitulo H, capitulo 411, codigo de gobierno (ley de portar de armas de fuego), no pueden entrar a esta propiedad portando abiertamente una pistola.

Photography Policy

Professional photographers must purchase a one-time photography permit for $125 or a $150 Magnolia Membership (or above) as a yearly permit for photography sessions at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. Permits are available for purchase below.

Personal photography of wildlife, landscapes, and people remains free, however wardrobes, lighting equipment, props, and other professional equipment are not allowed for personal photography.

As visitors at the Arboretum, all parties involved in a photo shoot are required to abide by the Visitor Policies listed above.

As part of these policies, the following items are strictly prohibited:

  • Biking and jogging
  • Smoking
  • Going off trail
  • Picking, moving, or taking plants, animals, or natural objects
  • Feeding wildlife
  • Unleashed pets
  • Litter – this includes the use of glitter and confetti
  • Balloons – they are dangerous to wildlife
  • Weapons of any kind
  • Drone photography

The following items are not covered under a regular photography permit and will need to be coordinated with our Rentals Manager. If your shoot includes any of these items, please email our Rentals Manager.

  • Commercial Shoots (both photo and video)
  • Large Props (furniture, ladders, large lighting kits, etc)
  • Shoots with models and crew totaling over 10 individuals
  • Shoots that will block trails or require exclusive access to a trail or space

Photographers must be able to show their permit if asked by an Arboretum Staff Member. Your receipt, Membership Card, or rental contract will serve as your permit.

Questions? Please email us at [email protected] or call 713-681-8433.

Support the Houston Arboretum

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization which depends on donations to support nature education and conservation programs for Houstonians of all ages.

Donate today