The UT Arboretum at Oak Ridge is a project of the Forest Resources Research and Education Center, which occupies 2,260 acres. The 250-acre arboretum area has over twenty-five hundred native and exotic woody plant specimens that represent eight hundred species, varieties, and cultivars. It hosts more than thirty thousand visitors annually. The nature sanctuary has self-guided walking tours and serves as an outdoor classroom for UT students in a variety of fields. It is recognized as an official Wildlife Observation Area and part of the National Watchable Wildlife Program by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. With more than two hundred specimens, its Elmore holly collection is recognized as one of 21 official holly arboreta and experimental test centers by the Holly Society of America. Its collection of dogwood species, varieties, and cultivars includes more than five hundred trees of one hundred different varieties. Arboretum trails are part of the Tennessee Recreational Trail System.
The 250-acre tract presented to UT by the Atomic Energy Commission was part of the land acquired in the early 1940s by AEC from farmers for the Manhattan Project. For almost two years, the offices for the arboretum were in an abandoned guardhouse, and then the office was moved to shared space in the headquarters building of the nearby cemetery (Oak Ridge Memorial Park).