The waterfront of the Washington Park Arboretum provides excellent opportunity for recreation and exploration in non-motorized boats. Boaters can circumnavigate Foster Island and explore small inlets off of Union Bay of Lake Washington. Canoes, kayaks, and similar boats can be launched from a small landing along Foster Island Road. There are also a couple nearby boat rental facilities that rent canoes, kayaks and rowboats to the general public: the UW Waterfront Activities Center and Aqua Verde Paddle Club.
The Arboretum is a great place to observe birds and other wildlife. Cooper’s hawks, barred owls, and many smaller species of birds nest in the Arboretum. In winter, waterfowl take shelter in the protected waters of Union Bay. Also look for beavers and their houses in the waters around Foster Island.