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Best Public Garden/Outdoor Exhibition

Taltree Arboretum & Gardens

Location: 450 W. 100 North, Valparaiso

Phone: 219-462-0025

Taltree Arboretum & Gardens boasts several miles of hiking trails, a restored wetland, woodland and prairie areas, habitats for woodcock and pheasant, and a native plant garden and Monarch Waystation.

“The Railway Garden is the largest and most intensively developed garden at Taltree,” says executive director Stephanie Blackstock. “G-gauge garden-scale trains travel along intricate landscapes of prairies and mountains while passing through historic battlefields, past cities, industrial sites and small towns.”

A state-of-the-art water collection system supports more than 500 unique plant species, and the Children’s Adventure Garden features goats, chickens and turkeys, along with a sandbox and A to Z plant walk.

“Taltree is a remarkable asset to Northwest Indiana and surrounding areas,” Blackstock says. “It serves a variety of purposes from environmental education to artistic inspiration.”

The arboretum also offers expanded programming for families and young children, and adults may learn about nature through the Master Naturalist course. Avid birders especially enjoy participating in the Bluebird program, Blackstock says.

“Taltree is honored to receive this award, as so many individuals have worked to make Taltree successful,” she says. “Conservation of green space is crucial to the health of our environment and we will continue to provide this valuable service to our Region.”


The Shrine of Christ’s Passion

Location: 10630 Wicker Ave., St. John

Phone: 219-365-6010


Dunes Learning Center

Location: 700 Howe Road, Porter

Phone: 219-395-9555