The Arboretum at Penn State

Visitor Information

The H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens and all other parts of the Arboretum are open to the public without charge. The Arboretum is not a public park or playground, however, and we ask that you respect the special nature of this University facility as a place for study, research, reflection, and enjoyment. To help us to preserve the Arboretum and make everyone’s visit enjoyable, please abide by our rules and policies. Solicitations are not permitted in the Arboretum. Non-University individuals and groups may not use the facilities in the Arboretum for fundraising or for commercial purposes.

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.


The Arboretum is open every day from dawn until dusk.
There is no admission charge for visiting the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens or the Arboretum land beyond the gardens. Please follow University policy  for social distancing (staying 6′ away from other visitors) and wear a mask to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
If you are visiting the Arboretum, you do not have to pay to park in the Arboretum’s parking lot, which holds approximately 55 cars, but on weekdays from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. you must go into the gardens to the office in the Overlook Pavilion to get a (free) parking pass to hang from your vehicle’s rear-view mirror. You do not need a parking pass to park in the Arboretum’s lot after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, or on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.

If you are visiting the Arboretum between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and the lot is full, you may pay by the hour (for up to four hours at a time) to park in the lot of the nearby Lewis Katz Building by using either of the two automated pay stations in the lot (one in the middle and the other at the end of the lot adjacent to the intramural fields). The station accepts only coins or a credit card. After 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and on weekends and holidays, there is no charge to park in the Katz lot.

Another option on any day is to pay $1/hour to park in the East Parking Deck on Bigler Road.

Important: Over-sized vehicles such as school buses, motor coaches, and recreational vehicles may not be parked in the Arboretum parking lot. Drivers of large vehicles may let passengers disembark in the Arboretum lot but they must move their vehicles to the Porter North parking lot on Porter Road near Beaver Stadium. Click here to see a map showing the route from the Arboretum’s parking lot to the Porter North parking lot. On holidays and weekends, over-size vehicles may be parked in the Lewis Katz Building lot if there is sufficient space available.

You may also see the route by going to the University’s interactive map and clicking on “Penn State Athletics” in the side bar on the left. From the drop-down menu, choose “Baseball” and then choose “Baseball Parking – Porter North.” The map will zoom to a localized view of that area.

To drive to the Porter North lot from the Arboretum’s parking lot, turn right onto Bigler Road as you leave the Arboretum lot and follow Bigler Road to its intersection with Park Avenue. Turn left onto Park Avenue and travel to the traffic light at the intersection of Park Avenue and Porter Road. Turn right onto Porter Road. The first building on the left will be the Centre County/Penn State Visitor Center and the second will be the Penn State Meat Lab. Turn left into the Porter North lot right after you have passed the Meat Lab.

Note: Drivers will have to use the pay station ($1 per hour) in the Porter North lot on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

If you are hosting an event or bringing a group to the Arboretum, you can also consider hiring a shuttle to transport your guests or contact the University’s Parking Office to make arrangements for parking.

The Arboretum offers guided group tours. To schedule a tour, contact Timothy Gould.

Docent-Led Tour Policy

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.


School groups (including home school groups) and child-related organizations (such as daycare, 4-H, and scouting groups) must make reservations (Timothy Gould – to visit the gardens. Children must be supervised by an adult. For more information regarding the use of our Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden, please view our Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden Guidelines.

Group Visit Policy

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.


Many areas in the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens are available for private rental. Contact Kate Reeder in advance of your visit if you wish to schedule a gathering or event.
Barbeque grills are not permitted in the Arboretum, but you can read about the many public parks in the State College area where grilling is allowed at

If you are interested in renting a pavilion for a gathering in any of the local and regional parks, visit Please note that the Centre Region Parks and Recreation Authority will not accept requests to reserve a pavilion less than 60 days in advance.

Stop by the Centre County/Penn State Visitor Center at 800 East Park Avenue (a short distance from the Arboretum) for maps showing the locations of local eateries.

H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens
The Arboretum at Penn State
Corner of Park Avenue and Bigler Road
University Park PA 16802
Wheelchairs and baby carriages or strollers are welcome in the gardens and all of the major walkways are accessible. Other means of transportation, such as Segways, bicycles, scooters, razors, and similar recreational devices are not permitted in the gardens. If you require special accommodations for mobility, please contact Kathleen K. Reeder (

Garden Map

The Arboretum is at the corner of Park Avenue and Bigler Road. The entrance to the parking lot of the gardens is on Bigler Road. Visitors arriving by automobile from distant locations should exit the I-99/Route 322/Mount Nittany Expressway at Park Avenue and proceed southwest to Bigler Road.

Those arriving from the south on Routes 26 or 45 should take Route 26 to Whitehall Road/University Drive and thence to Park Avenue and turn left.

Those approaching from the University Park Airport should travel southwest and then southeast on Fox Hill/Fox Hollow Road to Park Avenue and turn right.

There are no public roads through the larger Arboretum, but the woodlands, fields, and Bellefonte Central Rail Trail are accessible by foot or bicycle from several adjacent neighborhoods.

  • From College Heights – Follow the McKee Street/Clinton Avenue bike path from Sunset Park at the end of McKee Street down into Big Hollow and turn right (onto the Bellefonte Central Rail Trail). This trail traverses the Arboretum.
  • From Campus or Fox Hollow Road – Follow Big Hollow Road from its intersection with Services Road on the northwestern edge of campus to the University’s maintenance depot along Fox Hollow Road (shortly before the I-99 overpass).
  • From Overlook Heights – Follow the path from the termination of East Aaron Drive in the College Heights neighborhood into the fields.
  • From Toftrees – Enter the Arboretum from the Toftrees residential development by following the railroad bed that becomes the Bellefonte Central Rail Trail.

View or print a map of the Arboretum:

Arboretum map

H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens Map

Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden Map

Marilyn Quigley Gerhold Wildflower Trail Map

Discover the Arboretum through our interactive maps:

Plant Finder

Blooming Bulbs 
(A map of the bulbs in bloom throughout the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens)

Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden Tour

Commemorative Finder (commemorative benches, trees, recognition plaques)

Explore the rest of the University Park campus:

Self-Guided Campus Tour of University Park

Click on the above image to view the Arboretum’s location on Penn State’s interactive campus map.