Frequently Asked Questions


Can I bring alcohol to the Arboretum?

For the safety of our plant collection and our visitors, please leave alcohol and glass containers at home.

Can we have a BBQ?

There are no grills allowed in the Arboretum.

Who should I call to make a wedding reservation?

Call our parks reservations team at (775) 823-6501.

Can we have live music at our wedding?

Neither live music or amplified music is permitted in Washoe County Parks picnic, gardens or other outside reservable facilities.  An event held inside a Washoe County Park building facility may have amplified music indoors this music should be played low.

Are bikes,skateboards, or motorized vehicles allowed?

No. Bikes, skateboards or any motorized vehicles are prohibited.

Are pets allowed in the Arboretum?

No. Pets are not allowed.

Can we pick the fruit, flowers, or leaves?

The Arboretum does not allow harvesting of any of their plants, fruits, flowers, or leaves. There are exceptions, and only upon request.

Is there power in the gardens?

Yes, for most of the larger wedding facilities there is power upon request. These gardens do not have power: Evans Creek Bridge, Columbus Gazebo or Kristen's Garden.

Can we have our reception in the gardens?

Gardens are available for wedding ceremonies only as food and drink are not allowed in the gardens. Please contact parks reservations at (775) 823-6501 for more information on reserving a garden.

Are the restrooms in the Arboretum?

Restrooms are available at the Visitor Center by the Ranger's office and adjacent to the Arboretum office.

Can we smoke in the Arboretum?

The May Arboretum is a smoke-free environment.

Can I bring a stroller or wheelchair?

The Arboretum has paved garden paths and trails accessible to stroller and wheelchairs.

Can I book a private tour or school tour?

Contact the Arboretum office for private tours or school tours by emailing Bill Carlos at

Can we decorate the Aboretum / Gardens for our wedding?

No decorations may be tacked, stapled, taped or tied to any fixture.  Standing decorations are recommended.

Can I bring in my own rental chairs?

The Arboretum offers 100 white chairs for three of the larger gardens, which is included in the rental fee. (Honey's, Burke, and Plaza Garden)

Rental chairs from an outside source may be brought in for use at the Lear garden only and must be removed by the reservation end time.

What is the difference between the Wilbur D. May Center and the Arboretum?

The Wilbur D. May Center encompasses both the May Museum and Wilbur D. May Arboretum. This facility preserves the life and legacy of Wilbur D. May. In addition to his life as an adventurer and world traveler, rancher, artist, pilot, businessman, and Soldier, Wilbur was a committed philanthropist in the Reno community - in particular toward education and well-being for children. The May Center's museum, arboretum, and botanical gardens are places where Wilbur's passion lives on, with fun and learning for visitors of all ages.

Find more information of both the museum and arboretum at

Can I rent the gardens in winter?

No. All of our gardens are unavailable during the winter. Gardens are available from the middle of May through the middle of October.


Where is the Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space main office located?

The Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space Administration office is located at 1001 E. 9th Street, Building A, at the end of the hall on the 2nd floor.

The mailing address is P.O. Box 11130, Reno NV 89520.

For general park inquiries, please call (775) 823-6500.

For Parks Reservations, please call (775) 823-6501.

Visit our Contact Us page for additional information.

Can I bring alcohol into the park?

Alcohol is permitted in Washoe County Parks with the exception of the Arboretum and gardens.  A certificate of liability is due two weeks before the event if alcohol is to be served.  No alcohol is allowed at any youth events.

Can I bring an extra grill or shade structure?

I have a reservation for a picnic pavilion, can I bring an extra grill?

As long as you have a reservation, you may bring in a propane grill only.  The grill must be set up on the concrete.

I have a reservation for a picnic pavilion, can I bring in a shade structure? 

You may bring in a shade structure, but you cannot stake it into the turf and no water barrels. Please use sandbags to secure the structure. 

Please note that no shade structures are allowed at the Melio Gaspari Water Play Park, North Valleys Splash Park and Bowers Mansion Pool. 

Is a permit required to use a multi-purpose field (soccer) or baseball field?

Washoe County has 50 athletic facilities that are monitored and regulated. Any organized use of facilities by a team, league, promoter or other group requires a valid field use permit or rental agreement. To inquire about these reservable fields, contact our Recreation Coordinator at (775) 785-4512 x106, or Parks Administration at (775) 823-6500.

Can I bring a bounce house into the park?

This varies depending on which park you are visiting.  Usually bounce houses are allowed only for individuals/groups with a valid Use Permit for a facility reservation.

View our Portable Amusement Structures policy for more information, or call our parks administration team at (775) 823-6500.

Are campfires allowed?

Yes, at Davis Creek Campground - but this is dependent on fire restrictions.  The Ranger posts the burn code daily.  No campfires are allowed outside of designated areas.

Is camping allowed in the Washoe County Parks?

We only have one campground which is at the Davis Creek Regional Park.  For more information visit the Davis Creek Campground page.

Reservations for group camping can be made one year in advance through the Parks Reservation office at 775-823-6501. 

Contact the Park Ranger at (775) 849-0684 for more information about available sites.  Please understand that this office is a field office, and you will need to leave a message.  The Park Ranger will return your call as soon as possible.

What are the Campground Fees?

Fees are $25 / site / night which includes 1 vehicle.  Additional vehicles (each site can accommodate 2) are $5/night. 

Pets are $1/night. 

Cash only is accepted.

Please visit the Davis Creek Campground page for more information.

Do I need a reservation to camp at Davis Creek?

Individual sites are first-come, first-served.  Group camp sites may be reserved by calling (775) 823-6501 between 8am-5pm, Monday thru Friday.

You can also contact the Park Ranger at (775) 849-0684 about available sites.  Please understand that this office is a field office, and you will need to leave a message.  The Park Ranger will return your call as soon as possible.

Can I make a reservation for my child's birthday party at the Melio Gaspari Water Play Park, North Valleys Splash Park or Bowers Mansion Pool?

Yes, call the Parks reservations team at (775) 823-6501 for more information.

Can I fly a model airplane / drone or launch a rocket in the parks? Can we release sky lanterns / balloons?

Radio controlled aircraft, including “drones”, are allowed at Rancho San Rafael in the west end near the off leash area.

Helium, sky lanterns, air and water balloons are NOT allowed anywhere in the park system.

For more information view Chapter 95 of the Washoe County Code.

Can I ride my horse on a WC trail?

Our Truckee Meadows Trails Guide lists allowed uses for each trail listed.

I would like to hold a fundraiser, charity walk/run or other special event in a Washoe County Park. Who do I contact?

Contact Joanna Schultz at (775) 823-6501 for more information and requirements to hold a special event in a Washoe County Park.

Can I get married in a County Park?

Yes, we have some lovely sites suitable for a marriage ceremony and/or reception. 

If you need any assistance or to make a reservation, call our reservations team at (775) 823-6501.

Can I use a metal detector in Washoe County parks?

Please contact the Park Ranger at the specific park you are interested in using a metal detector. Please note: We do not allow metal detecting at Bowers Mansion Park due to its historical significance.   

We also abide by by Chapter 95.170  "No person may willfully or negligently pick, dig up, cut, mutilate, destroy, injure, disturb, move, molest, burn or carry away any tree, plant or portion thereof, including foliage, flowers, berries, fruit, grass, turf, humus, shrubs, cones and dead wood, except in specific portions of county parks and upon authorization by the director."

Am I allowed to play music while at a Washoe County Park?

Amplified music is not permitted in Washoe County park picnic areas so as not to disturb other people using the park. An event held inside a Washoe County Parks building facility may have amplified music indoors. While music is playing all doors to the outside are to be kept closed.

Where can I find information on other parks and open space that Washoe County does not manage?
How far in advance can I make a reservation?

Buildings, gardens, picnic areas and group camping sites may be reserved up to one year prior to the event. Reservation requests for events less than 30 days in advance require approval from the facility manager.

You can also contact our reservations team at (775) 823-6501 between 8am-5pm, Monday thru Friday, via email:, or you can come and visit us in person at 1001 E 9th Street, Reno, Building A, 2nd Floor. 

Where can I find prices for renting picnic pavilions, buildings or gardens?

Call our Parks administration team at (775) 823-6501. 

Can I take my pet to a Washoe County park?

In most cases, yes pets are allowed. Pets are required to be on a leash (except in designated off-leash areas).

However, no dogs (except service dogs) are permitted anywhere at the Bowers Mansion Regional Park or in the Wilbur D. May Arboretum at Rancho San Rafael Park.  

We have two dogs parks within Washoe County; a large multi-use pasture located on the west side of Rancho San Rafael and the Link Piazzo Dog Park within Hidden Valley Regional Park. 

If there is a dog fight, or a dog bite, please call Animal Control directly at  775-322-3647 (DOGS)

Remember to bring bags to clean up after your pet and help keep your parks clean!

Does my photographer/videographer need a license?

For weddings and events related to a facility rental a permit is not required.  For commercial and other professional photography a permit is required.

Please call our parks administration team at (775) 823-6500 for more information.

Do I have to pay for the "first come, first served" picnic area?

No. There is no fee. However, please note the area is not guaranteed to be available for your date of interest or time of arrival. If you are the first person to arrive you must remain in the area until your party begins. You are not allowed to rope off the area or put up your own reservation signs.  Music and bounces houses are not permitted in these areas.  For more information visit and also        

Can I reserve Bowers Mansion Pool for a private party?

Yes.  You can reserve the pool for a period of 2 hours for private parties.

For more information, please visit our aquatics website or call the Parks reservation team at: (775) 823-6500.

How do I make a reservation with Washoe County Parks & Open Space?

Choose the facility you wish to reserve (visit for a full list of reservable facilities), decide upon the date and time you need, and call Parks Reservations at (775) 823-6501 to check availability, price, and any additional requirements or information necessary.  Parks Reservations Business Hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm.  Call (775) 823-6501 or email

Do I need to have a reservation to have a picnic?

Not necessarily. 

Groups under 25 (adults and children) are permitted to use the first-come, first-served areas in the park. 

Music and bounces houses are not permitted in these areas. 

For more information visit or call the Parks reservation team at (775) 823-6501.

Is there a skate park within Washoe County?

We have several skate parks in Washoe County, these are located at Cold Springs Park, Lazy 5, North Valleys and Sun Valley Community Park.

For information on each park visit our park directory.

Swimming Lessons

Washoe County has one swimming pool, Bowers Mansion Pool, located at Bowers Mansion Regional Park.

Lessons are available during seasonal opening times only.  When the pool is open you can call directly during normal business hours call (775) 849-0644.

A certified lifeguard is always on duty when the pool is open.

(There are opportunities to swim in Washoe County parks that provide access to bodies of water (lakes, streams, rivers, etc. ), but NO LIFEGUARDS are posted at these sites unless otherwise noted. All swimming at sites without lifeguards is performed ENTIRELY AT THE SWIMMER'S OWN RISK AND DISCRETION.)

Please visit the Aquatics page for additional pool information, as well as details on the Melio Gaspari Water Play Park and North Valleys Water Splash Park.

What volunteer positions are available in Washoe County Parks?

For information on our volunteer positions within Washoe County Parks, please visit:

Parks Volunteer Opportunities

May Center Arboretum Volunteer Opportunities

Or contact Denise Evans, Volunteer Coordinator at 775-785-4512 x 107.