The Arboretum at Penn State

What’s New?

Visiting the Arboretum

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.

Arboretum Named A “Great Place in Pennsylvania” in 2020

Music in the Gardens Long View Cody Goddard

Music in the Gardens Long View 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


Autumn Photo Contest Winners Announced!

1st Place Autumn 2020 Kelly Johnson

1st Place Autumn 2020 Kelly Johnson

Congratulations to the winners of our Autumn Photo Contest:

1st Place – Kelly Johnson
2nd Place – Anita Graham
3rd Place (tie) – Lynn Lysek and Chandan Akiti


Meanwhile, the Winter 2021 Photo Contest has begun! You may submit a photo taken during a previous winter in the Arboretum (one entry per person, please). Submissions will be accepted via email, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter until February 28. Be sure to read the contest rules:

Arboretum Photo Contest Rules


Arboretum T-Shirts For Sale



2021 Arboretum Horticulture Internships Available

Consider applying for an internship in horticultural and grounds management practices at the Arboretum! Internships are full-time from May 10 – August 13, 2021. Application must be made electronically via the Penn State Careers website at

2021 Arboretum OPP Summer Internships

Exploring Outdoors with Children – Free Webinar!

Exploring Nature with Children illustration

Exploring Nature with Children

Are you interested in creating more meaningful nature-based engagement opportunities for your children?

On Thursday, January 21 from 7-8 P.M. join naturalist Jim Flanagan for Exploring Outdoors with Children, a presentation and discussion about generating impactful nature-based experiences for youth. For more information and to register, please click here:

Holiday Lights and Winter Displays

We will begin removing the lights, evergreens, and other decorations on Monday, January 18.

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

Pond with Stone Terrace and Boardwalk

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!

Group Visitor Inquiry Form

Arboretum Newsletters

2020 Autumn Arboretum Newsletter

2020 Fall Arboretum Volunteer Update

Read earlier newsletters.

Events Calendar

Pictured at the top of the page is the top of the “tree of light” holiday display on the base of the main fountain.