The Arboretum at Penn State

What’s New?

Visiting the Arboretum – COVID-19 Safety Requirements

Face Masks Required in Arboretum

Face Masks Required in Arboretum

The H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens may be visited from dawn until dusk. Arboretum visitors must follow University COVID-19 safety requirements, including mask-wearing and physical distancing of at least 6′ from others. In compliance with University directives to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, most activities and events, including rentals, are currently suspended.

Reminder: On weekdays only from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. you need to display a Penn State parking permit or one of our free parking passes if parking in our lot. You can get a free pass on the door caddy of the office in the Overlook Pavilion.

Avian Education Program Bird Walks – April and May

Spring 2021 Arboretum Bird Walk Schedule

Spring 2021 Bird Walks

Learn how to spot resident and migrant species on our Avian Education Program bird walks led by Margaret Brittingham, professor of Wildlife Resources, and local bird enthusiasts. There are two sessions in April and two in May. Attendance is free, but limited to ten individuals each.

To register, go to



Arboretum Named A “Great Place in Pennsylvania” in 2020

Music in the Gardens Long View Cody Goddard

Music in the Gardens  Photo: Cody Goddard

The Arboretum at Penn State was recently honored as one of three “Great Places in Pennsylvania for 2020” by the American Planning Association. The nomination was made by the College Township Planning Commission because the Arboretum is “truly a great place that perfectly blends science and aesthetics.” Our thanks to all who help to support and maintain our great public space.

We Hope You Enjoy Our “Garden Wonderings” Videos! 

Garden Wonderings is an informal educational video series that we have put together during the COVID-19 pandemic to entertain and inform the public during these unusual times. You can access the playlist of all Arboretum educational videos at

Winter Photo Contest Winners Announced!

1st Place 2021 Winter Audra Hixson

1st Place 2021 Winter Photo Contest – Audra Hixson

Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry in the Winter Photo Contest. Below are the winners!

1st Place – Audra Hixson
2nd Place (tie) – Jishnu Bhatt
2nd Place (tie) – Vicki H. Blazer
3rd Place – Michele Riggle

For the next contest, consider visiting the gardens to capture the first blooms of the season and enter your favorite in the Spring Photo Contest. You may submit a photo taken this spring or during a previous spring in the Arboretum (one entry per person, please). Submissions will be accepted via email, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter until May 31. Be sure to read the contest rules:

Arboretum Photo Contest Rules


Arboretum T-Shirts For Sale



Childhood Education Coordinator

Applications for the position of Childhood Education Coordinator at The Arboretum at Penn State are being accepted through April 26, 2021. This person develops and delivers educational and experiential programs and materials for children and youth on topics related to the Arboretum’s mission. Most programs and events take place in the Arboretum’s popular Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden. All applications are submitted electronically. To learn more, visit

Insect Biodiversity Center Education Program Specialist

The Center for Pollinator Research is accepting applications for its new education program specialist position. This person will develop and deliver pollination-related educational programming in the new Pollinator and Bird Garden in the Arboretum’s H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens. Below is the link to the position posting on the Center’s website:

Narcissus 'Jetfire'

Narcissus ‘Jetfire’

Explore our interactive map to find the name of your favorite spring blooms!

Blooming Bulbs Map






Main Garden Entrance with Meadow Disc

New Pollinator and Bird Garden to be Completed in the Spring!

Working with a large team of Penn State-based and outside experts, including Penn State’s Center for Pollinator Research, we have designed a garden that encourages ecological diversity by incorporating habitats such as a pond, wetlands, woodland, and dry meadow.

To attract all of our region’s insect pollinator species and the broadest range of resident and migratory birds, the new garden will showcase over 390 unique plant species and varieties—most of which are native to Pennsylvania or the greater Appalachian region. Check back in the months ahead for updates!

Read about community involvement in planting the Pollinator and Bird Garden at

School Visits and Group Tours Suspended

Because of Covid restrictions imposed by the Commonwealth and the University, we are not allowed to schedule school visits or group tours until further notice.

Arboretum Newsletters

2020 Autumn Arboretum Newsletter

2020 Fall Arboretum Volunteer Update

Read earlier newsletters.

Events Calendar

Featured at the top of the page are Snowdrops (Galanthus ikariae).