Visitors to Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden have a new way to explore the attraction’s 155 acres this summer.
The arboretum debuted the Klehm Express today, its new 14-passenger electric-powered shuttled. Klehm will offer 20-30-minute audio-guided tours starting June 10.
“A lot of people come here not realizing how vast it is. This really allows them to see all the corners of the arboretum,” said Jane Snively, executive director of Klehm. “Some of our best treasures are a long way from the building we’re standing in and this makes sure they’re not missed (by visitors) as part of their journey.”
Tours will run Fridays through Mondays and usually seat 10 adults, to ensure a comfortable amount of space on the ride.
Klehm was awarded a grant in December from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust to pay for the purchase and delivery of the shuttle.
Snively is proud of the arboretum’s latest addition and how it helps add to the experience for visitors.
“Twenty-six years ago this land was donated to the Winnebago County Forest Preserve for the development of Klehm. At that time it was a wild jungle, for the most part,” Snively said. “Here we are, not a very long time later, talking about paved paths and electric carts driving people through with audio tours.”
Tours will cost $3 per rider, or $1 for Klehm members. The tours will run Fridays through Mondays through October, weather pending.
“I see the evolution of the gardens and how far we’ve come. Even though a lot of Rockford doesn’t quite know our story yet, we’re getting more and more support … I feel terrific momentum for Klehm at this point,” said John Richards, president of Klehm’s board of directors. “Join us and enjoy the ride.”