Samuel Curtis oversaw the design of the park at a cost of £6,554 7s. 10d. On 11 May 1852, the park was officially opened in the presence of approximately 15,000 people.
The park was designed as a botanical collection and as a tranquil place in which to relax, forming a major attraction in the heart of VictorianNottingham. The Arboretum has become one of Nottingham's 'green lungs' and is a Green Flag-winning park. It is the city's oldest public park and also the closest park to the city centre.
There have been many functions held at The Arboretum including the annual Nottingham Pride festival.
English Heritage has designated the site Grade II status on the Register of Historic Parks & Gardens and the park's Bell Tower, bandstand and Circular Aviary have all received Grade II listing protection.