The Arboretum at Penn State, State College

Must see · Garden · Nature / Park
The Arboretum at Penn State (370 acres), which contains the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens, is a new arboretum being created by The Pennsylvania State University adjacent to its University Park campus in State College, Pennsylvania. It will become Penn State's second arboretum, joining the Arboretum at Penn State Behrend, which was created in 2003.[1]

The arboretum's master plan was developed from 1996-1999 by Sasaki Associates. Specific plans for landscape and botanic gardens and their associated facilities were completed in 2002 by MTR Landscape Architects LLC, and the first tree, a white oak (Quercus alba) was dedicated in 2005. A donation of $10 million was needed to begin the construction of the Arboretum and on May 18, 2007, this donation was received from Charles H. "Skip" Smith. The construction of Phase I of the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens, named in honor of Mr. Smith's father, was completed in fall 2009 and the gardens were officially dedicated on April 25, 2010.

In July 2014, the Arboretum finished construction of and opened the Childhood Gate's Children's Garden. It includes a limestone cave, stone amphitheater for events, and other attractions for children. The Children's Garden has many native Pennsylvania plants and is a microcosm of the regional landscape.
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The Arboretum at Penn State reviews

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521 reviews
  • A must go back in different seasons - and parts of seasons! So much more than we expected! Ages 16-90 and we all enjoyed every inch we covered!  more »
  • Nice big park to walk around and view all the various plants and trees. Parking is free but be ready to walk because it’s plentiful.  more »
  • We live in walking distance. It is always a fun place to just relax and enjoy the outdoors. Worth a visit  more »
  • I absolutely adore this plant haven in State College! It’s my favorite place to walk around and unwind. I’m always impressed by their beautiful plantings and arrangements. I love it so much I’m having my wedding here next year and I’m so excited! Keep up the great work!
  • Took my graduation photos there and they looked amazing. Nice place to visit on a regular day too, and during summer it's a nice spot for a picnic. Might have to bring sunscreen though because there's not a lot of shade around.
  • Soulful and beautiful place! Well maintained garden, lots of places for kids to play and explore. Can spend hours sitting there looking at the mountains under the breeze....
  • A fountain that looks across a meadow and boardwalk to campus. A sundial unlike any others with stone pillows marking date and time. A children's area with zen toned chimes, water, caves and crops. Plenty of paths weaving through various plants, trees and flowers. Benches and seating all around for relaxing, studying or reading. A large central open grass lawn. Plans for upgrades to double its size. Easily my favorite place at PSU when class is done.
  • This always-changing seasonal attraction is more than just a garden, it is a horticultural experience. Every season has something beautiful to see and each time you visit there is a new discovery. Absolutely gorgeous location for a wedding, photoshoot or relaxation spot.

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