RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – The JC Raulston Arboretum is home to more than 8,500 species of plants. The massive garden is a living laboratory at NC State, where researchers test how certain plant species survive in the American landscape.

The arboretum is free and open to the public.

“When we talk to people about what they love here, it’s that it’s this peaceful place that they can disconnect, they can relax, really get centered again,” said Mark Weathington, director at the arboretum.

“Relaxing. I can think here. Brainstorm ideas for my brand and life in general,” said Dominik Forbes, who said he first came across the arboretum as a backdrop for photos for his clothing brand.

There’s always staff around, ready to give visitors the full rundown on the plants. On the way out, guests can buy a plant from the plant sale buggy for $10.