The Arboretum at Penn State

What’s New?

Visiting the Arboretum – COVID-19 Safety Requirements

The H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens may be visited from dawn until dusk. Arboretum visitors must follow University COVID-19 safety requirements. Masks are required indoors for all visitors.

Masks are required outdoors for non-vaccinated visitors who are unable to maintain 6’ distance between themselves and others not in their household.

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  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

Summer Photo Contest Has Begun!

Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry in the Spring Photo Contest. The winners will be announced soon.

For the next contest, consider visiting the gardens to capture the peak blooms of summer in the Lotus Pool or Terrace Garden with its tropical and sub-tropical plantings. You may submit a photo taken this summer or 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


Arboretum T-Shirts For Sale



Main Garden Entrance with Meadow Disc

New Pollinator and Bird Garden to be Completed by Mid-Summer

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 later this month for updates!

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

School Visits and Group Tours Suspended

Because of COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Commonwealth and the University, we are not allowed to schedule school visits or group tours until further notice.

Upcoming Activities

Read about activities in Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden.
No registration required.
2021 Children’s Garden Calendar June

Behind the Scenes in the New Pollinator and Bird Garden
Free Webinar – Adults (18+)
Thursday, June 24, 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Advance registration required at

Arboretum Newsletters

2021 Spring Arboretum Newsletter

2021 Spring Volunteer Update

2020 Autumn Arboretum Newsletter

2020 Fall Arboretum Volunteer Update

Read earlier newsletters.

Events Calendar

Featured at the top of the page is Tulipa clusiana var. stellata (star-flowered tulip).