The W. J. Beal Botanical Garden is an outdoor laboratory for the study and appreciation of plants. It is one of the principal centers of plant interest within the arboretum-like campus of Michigan State University. More than 2000 different taxa can be found within W. J. Beal Botanical Garden.
This garden, established in 1873 by Professor William James Beal, is the oldest continuously operated university botanical garden of its kind in the United States. With consideration for Professor Beal's own words, "Students should themselves become discerning observers and investigators rather than mere reservoirs of previously accumulated knowledge" (Beal 1895, p.55). The Garden operates with the following mission:

Reflecting the philosophy of a land-grant institution, the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden is an outdoor laboratory engaged in teaching, collection development, research, conservation and public service. These activities focus on a theme of natural plant diversity, economic botany, ecology and plant conservation with emphasis on the Great Lakes region.

Beal Botanical Garden is administered by Campus Planning and Administration, which also administers the woody plant collections planted throughout the arboretum-like campus. For more information about the garden, please contact the Curator,
Although Beal Botanical Garden is an outdoor laboratory for students, the general public is warmly invited to make use of the garden to learn about and enjoy plants in a beautiful setting. The garden is open at all times throughout the year without an admission charge.

To preserve the usefulness and beauty of the garden displays, visitors are asked not to pick or disturb plants or plant parts, plant labels, or any other garden elements. University ordinances specifically prohibit picking and mutilating of plants throughout the campus. Bicycles and animals are also prohibited in the garden.

Your support of the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden is encouraged through tax-deductible contributions and through membership and involvement in the Friends of Beal Botanical Garden. Friends of the garden are entitled to special privileges, including involvement in promoting and participating in educational programs, and volunteer activities in the garden. For more information about the Friends group, please contact the Curator,