The Arboretum at Penn State

What’s New?

Construction of New Pollinator and Bird Garden Underway!

Pond with Stone Terrace and Boardwalk

On May 4, construction of the Arboretum’s new Pollinator and Bird Garden, which had been halted due to Governor Wolf’s suspension of non-essential businesses in March, was permitted to resume. This garden will add over three acres to the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens. This space has been designed to attract all of our region’s insect pollinator species as well as the broadest possible range of resident and migratory birds. 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. The new gardens will showcase over 390 unique species and varieties—most of which are native to Pennsylvania or the greater Appalachian region.

Check back in the months ahead for updates!

“Spring in the Arboretum” Photo Contest – Winners Announced

1st Place Spring 2020 Photo Contest - Kirk S.

1st Place Spring 2020 Photo Contest – Kirk S.

Congratulations to the winners of our spring photo contest! All three winning images are in our Seasonal Images album on the home page.

1st Place – Kirk S.
2nd Place – Donna
3rd Place – Jeff Shultz

Now that summer is here, please consider taking a photo in the Arboretum for our next contest. Even if you do not visit the gardens this summer, you may submit a photo taken during a previous summer in the Arboretum (one entry per person, please). Submissions will be accepted via email, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter until August 31. Be sure to read the contest rules:

Arboretum Photo Contest Rules

Contest winners will be featured in our Seasonal Images album, social media, and in our newsletter.

Arboretum T-Shirts For Sale



Parking Regulations Resume July 6, 2020

Normal campus parking regulations will resume for all campus parking areas and users (faculty, staff, students, visitors) beginning Monday, July 6.

At the Arboretum on weekdays from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. you can get a (free) parking permit to hang from your vehicle’s rear-view mirror at the office in the Overlook Pavilion.

If our lot is full between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, you may pay by the hour (for up to four hours at a time) to park at the nearby Lewis Katz Building by using one of the two automated pay stations in the Katz lot. Only coins or a credit card are accepted.

No permit is needed and no fee charged at either lot after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, or on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.

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.

The Oldest Plant at the Arboretum

Birds at the Arboretum

The Pawpaw

In this week’s video, you can learn about brachiopods, distant relatives of clams, in a visit to the Time Spiral in Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden.

Visiting the Arboretum

The H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens may be visited from dawn until dusk. When in the Arboretum, please follow guidelines for social distancing (staying 6′ away from other visitors) and wear a mask.

In compliance with University directives to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, activities and events, including rentals, are currently suspended.

Volunteer Sessions, Docent-Led Tours, and Educational Programs

These activities are suspended at the present time due to Penn State’s coronavirus response. Any updates will be posted here.

Group Visits

If you wish to bring a group to visit the Arboretum, please use our on-line form to inquire about tours and schedule your visit.

Group Visitor Inquiry Form

Arboretum Newsletters

2020 Spring Arboretum Newsletter

2020 Spring Arboretum Volunteer Update

2019 Autumn Arboretum Newsletter

Events Calendar

Pictured at the top of the page are climbing roses on the stucco wall of the Rose and Fragrance Garden.