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 rentals, but no food or drinks are allowed in the gardens.

For information on garden rentals visit:

For alternative venues within Washoe County please visit

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 / reception?

No decorations may be tacked, stapled, taped or tied to any fixture or wall inside or outside the building.  Standing or table 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.

For more information please call Parks administration team at (775) 823-6500 or visit

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

The Wilbur D. Center is home to the May museum, call (775) 785-5961 for more information.  The Wilbur D. May Arboretum and Botanical Garden is 23 acres with 13 acres serving as living plant museum.  For non-reservation questions call the Arboretum office (775) 785-4153.  Visit for more information.

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.

For additional information on Washoe County Regional Parks visit

Can I bring... grill / tables or chairs / shade structure?

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

For additional information on reservable facilities, please visit

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 or building, can I bring in extra chairs or tables?

For additional information on reservable facilities, please visit

Not necessarily.  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).  Call reservations ( (775) 823-6501) for further information.  If you do bring in extra chairs and tables, you are responsible for chair set up and take down.  Chairs and tables  must be removed from the facility at the end of your reservation as we do not provide overnight storage. 

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

For additional information on reservable facilities, please visit

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. 

Most multi-purpose fields (for soccer) and baseball fields in Washoe County parks are useable by permit only. How do I get a permit to use one of these fields??

For information on athletic fields, call Joanna Schultz at (775) 328-2047 for details, or visit the Athletic Fields Permits page.

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.

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

Are camp fires allowed?

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

Davis Creek Campground Information

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 Davis Creek Campground

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 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, Rules on Pets, Maximum days, Check-Out Times?

Fees are $20 / site / night which includes 1 vehicle.  Additional vehicles (each site can accommodate 2) are $5/night. 

Pets are $1/night. 

There is a maximum stay limit of 7 days in a 30-day period. 

Check-in is at 11am, check out is at 2pm. 

Campground 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. 

Please note that dependent on the weather the North Valleys Splash Park and Melio Gaspari Water Park are open Late April to Mid September.  Visit our aquatics page for more information.  Call reservations to confirm your chosen park is open.

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 visit our general regulations page.

Can I ride my horse on a WC trail?

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

Also Nevada State Parks Washoe Lake, Spooner Lake have equestrian trails, as does the USFS  and BLM trail systems. 

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

Visit and then 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. 

For information on our various reservable facilities, please visit

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.   Visit our Park Directory for a list of individual parks.

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."

I'm planning a social event at a Washoe County park. Can I have music for my guests?

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.

For more information visit, for the Wilbur D. May Center, please visit

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.  For information on the various facilities visit the website at:

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, in the arboretum / gardens and picnic areas. 

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

Service dogs are allowed.  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.