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  Cox Arboretum MetroPark
Cox Arboretum MetroPark
6733 Springboro Pike, Dayton, Ohio 45449
(937) 434-9005
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Enter the Arboretum where serenity and peace abound. Surround yourself with breathtaking vistas of natural beauty that can transform any event into an intimate and special experience. To start planning your special event, call 937-278-2657.

Indoor Venues

Zorniger Education Center

The Zorniger Education Center greets visitors when they enter the park. It contains all indoor venues except the Kettering Learning Lab. Our buildings were designed as an extension of the outdoors. Natural materials are incorporated, as well as an ample supply of glass, providing visitors with wonderful views of the gardens. As visitors enter through the front door, they are beckoned back outside by the vistas in sight through the wall of windows.

Fifth Third Conference Center

The 2,700 square-foot room was designed with clear span trusses constructed of rough-sawn Douglas Fir boards - some as large as 6" x 14" x 32'. The exposed natural White Fir ceiling and large stone fireplace create a "lodge" feel and there is a twin fireplace outside on the patio (the National City Outdoor Classroom). Nearly floor-to-ceiling windows create the feeling of sitting right on the water of the adjacent pond. A catering kitchen with separate access is located at the north end of the room.

The Conference Center comfortably seats 100 banquet-style or 175 theatre-style. Capacity varies depending on the type of setup. Utilizing the Huffman Gallery in addition to this room can accommodate larger gatherings.

Huffman Gallery

Visitors enter the Huffman Gallery and are greeted with a sweeping view of the Arboretum and gardens through the glass walls that line the Gallery from end to end. The Huffman Gallery was conceived as a curved covered bridge. Light coming in through the dormers on the south side works as a sundial to express the seasons. The building was oriented to have a passive solar orientation, taking advantage of the sun in the winter and shading from the cedar trellis over the porch in the summer. The floor of the Huffman Gallery is natural cleft dark green slate.

The Gallery and Fifth Third Conference Center can seat 200 people.

MeadWestvaco Theatre

The theatre-in-the-round design of the MeadWestvaco Theatre, with elevated, tiered seating is optimal for presentations and demonstrations. It is an ideal venue for corporate presentations and meetings, training and other educational events. Western Red Cedar lines the exterior walls. The ceiling is comprised of Douglas fir framing and 3,000 cut-to-fit White Fir boards. The Theatre seats 48 and includes a state-of-the-art projection system.
Kettering Learning Lab

The Kettering Learning Lab features a domed ceiling; dark green natural cleft slate floors, tables and windows on three sides. Its location provides the campus's most comprehensive and captivating view of the Arboretum grounds, making it the perfect meeting space for small groups of up to 26.


Outdoor Venues
The Alleé

Newly refurbished and one of our most popular outdoor venues, the Alleé features a covered arbor and over 100 Kousa Dogwoods, planted in two double rows to provide a natural aisle. The Dogwoods bloom in late May to early June, lasting up to a month. Burgundy fall color adds extra seasons of beauty. The Alleé accommodates up to 200 guests and includes electricity. This location has the option to rent chairs.

Please see the Rental Guidelines below for more information and guidelines.

The Great Lawn

Located next to the Zorniger Education Center, the Great Lawn provides a breathtaking view of the Arboretum grounds. This venue includes a tent that can be arranged with rows of chairs for a wedding ceremony or round tables and chairs for a wedding reception and can accommodate up to 300 guests.

Edible Landscape Garden Pavilion

The design of the Pavilion, a wooden structure with limestone columns, carries the overall architectural theme of the education campus into the gardens. An arbor and gate at the entrance, and brick pathway lead visitors into the ELG and provide an attractive first glimpse of the Pavilion and the surrounding plantings. The ELG is a seasonal garden that changes dramatically over the course of a year. Highlights of this location include the design and color schemes of the arched beds in mid to late summer, the espaliered apple Belgian fence and the colorful annuals spilling from the hanging baskets and pots that surround the Pavilion.

This location includes 6 wooden benches that seat up to 24 people and the Pavilion lawn will hold up to 200 people. The pavilion has electricity. This location has the option to rent chairs.

Please see the Rental Guidelines below for more information and guidelines.

**Garden displays are scheduled to change throughout the year. Weather also may affect the appearance of the grounds. What you see during your initial visit may not be what is viewed on the day of your event.

Facility Rental Fees

Contact the Events Coordinator at 937-278-2657 for pricing information.

Rental Guidelines

MetroParks sponsored events and programs will take precedence in the scheduling of all areas.  No commercial, political or religious fundraising events are permitted.  Any organization seeking to rent the grounds or facilities for an event involving an admission charge or of a fundraising nature must be qualified as a not for profit, tax exempt organization under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  All fundraising events will require a written description of the event submitted with the completed application.  Fundraising events must be approved by the Director of Cox Arboretum.

Proceeds from the rental fee further enhance the ongoing improvements to the Cox Arboretum grounds and buildings under the direction of the Cox Arboretum Foundation.

Renting space at Cox Arboretum is a benefit of membership.  The membership requirements are:

  • $100.00 membership level for individuals, couples
  • Individual Founders Society Members ($1000) receive one building rental at a 20% discount

All groups or individuals desiring to reserve space at Cox Arboretum must complete a Facility Rental Application and Contract.  The application must be signed on behalf of the individual or group entering into the rental contract, hereinafter referred to as the “Renter”.   The Director of Cox Arboretum reserves the right to reject applications for activities or events deemed not in the spirit of Cox Arboretum, or in the best interest of the protection and security of the buildings, grounds and general public. 

The applicant shall return the signed contract along with a 50% nonrefundable deposit and the membership fee within two weeks of requesting the room to be reserved.  The balance of the rental fee and a security deposit of $300 along with any other applicable fee(s) will be due 60 days prior to the scheduled event.  Payment in full is required with the contract when the scheduled event is less than 60 days.  The security deposit will be refunded in full after your event if no damages occur and the event ends on time – this includes the caterer’s departure time.   Event cancellations must be received in writing 30 days prior to the scheduled event date. Cancellations less than 30 days prior to the event will result in the loss of the entire rental fee. 

Do not advertise that your event is being held at Cox Arboretum until you have a signed contract and confirmation.  In the case of severe weather, Five Rivers MetroParks personnel may terminate any event where it is determined such weather presents an eminent danger to guests or property.  In such a case where the event has been cancelled in its entirety or for the majority of the rented period, Cox Arboretum staff will make every attempt to assist in rescheduling or provide a full or prorated refund.

Food and Beverage Requirements:

When food and/or beverages are a component of an approved event, our approved caterers must be used. 

List of approved vendors:
Bernstein's Fine Catering 937-898-2761
Brock Masterson’s Catering 937-298-1234
Christopher’s Catering 937-299-0089
Elite Catering 937-559-4590
El Meson Catering 937- 859-8229
Mrs. B’s Catering 937-676-2883
Welton’s Catering 937-848-2381

Fees charged for catering are not included in the facility rental fee and are to be obtained directly from the caterer.  Please contact our approved caterers for specific information.  The catering agreement is separate from the rental contract.  The grounds and buildings including the kitchen facilities are not available for food preparation and storage by groups or individuals.  No grills or open fires are permitted on the grounds.  No food or beverage is to be brought inside the rental space without the prior written consent of the Director of Cox Arboretum or his/her designee.  The caterer is responsible for setup and cleanup for all events or rentals in which they provide service.

Box lunches, bottled or canned drinks and snacks may be brought in for daytime business rentals.  This must be approved by the Building Manager or Facility Coordinator prior to the event.  The renter is responsible for all cleanup when this option is used. 

Alcoholic Beverages
The sale, consumption or use of alcoholic beverages is prohibited unless specifically permitted by the Director of Five Rivers MetroParks.  The purchase of alcoholic beverages must be coordinated through the caterer.  If such approval is granted, it is required that the caterer and all groups or individuals abide by all current Ohio Liquor Laws and assume all responsibility for violations of said laws.  Serving of alcohol will terminate no less than 30 minutes prior to the scheduled event ending time.  The caterer, MetroParks Law Enforcement or Staff reserve the right to refrain from serving any individual based on behavior or actions related to intoxication or suspected intoxication.   

Events with alcohol as a component will require the presence of a Five Rivers MetroParks’ Law enforcement office for the duration of the event at a separate rate of $35.00 per hour with said payment made directly to Five Rivers MetroParks.  Alcohol is to be confined to the rental area(s) and must not leave the premises.  The “Renter” is responsible for assuring their guests arrive home safely.

Fundraising events with an admission charge in which alcohol will be served or with a cash bar, must have a liquor permit and liability insurance.  A copy of the permit and insurance certificate must on file at Cox Arboretum no later than one (1) week prior to the event date.  Failure to have this information will result in the absence of alcohol during the event.  The “renter” is required to abide by all current Ohio Liquor Laws and assume all responsibility for violations of said laws

Outdoor Rentals

  • You will need to select a backup location to use in case of inclement weather. We do not provide an alternate venue for your use.
  • The Pavilion and Alleé are reserved on a first-call basis. Payment in full along with a completed agreement is required to secure your reservation.
  • If you need to cancel your reservation, the Arboretum must receive a written request for cancellation no later than six (6) months prior to the reservation date to receive a refund.
  • If you are unable to use the Pavilion or Allee due to rain, you may request, in writing, a refund of 50% within ten (10) days following your scheduled reservation.
  • All items must be carried, and you must walk to and from the chosen site.
  • Additional chairs may be rented for use at ELG Pavilion and the Alleé.
  • Electricity is provided in the Pavilion and Alleé. Music is permitted, but cannot be amplified over the entire grounds.
  • No tents or any other structures are allowed except where designated.
  • Do not attach anything (signs, crepe paper, etc.) to Arboretum structures or plants, even temporarily. Remember that we are a nature reserve and garden and this beautiful setting is for all to enjoy.
  • You may toss flower petals or use bubbles, but NOT confetti, birdseed or rice. These products are detrimental to the health of our wildlife.
  • No alcoholic beverages or food items are permitted in the Pavilion or Alleé.
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