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Arboretum Set for $60 Million Expansion

The Penn State Arboretum comprises nearly 370 acres of northern campus, holding the reputation as one of the most remarkable and memorable sights at Penn State.

While we all know how beautiful the Arboretum is, director Kim Steiner and his team have decided to expand the venue in hopes of making it more interactive and kid-friendly.

Many designs have been laid out for the Arboretum before construction begins. In the works now are plans to expand and redefine the pollinators’ garden (which will triple the size of the current one), create an education center, a conservatory, and a digital video theater similar to a planetarium that will further the educational mission of the Arboretum. These will all be located in the Smith Botanic Gardens along Park Ave.

Below is a preview of the future education center, conservatory, and planetarium.

Central Valley
Central Valley

There are clearly tons of new additions that are in the works right now, but what has gotten underway is the Children’s Garden for the families of State College who all know and love Penn State like we do. Construction actually already started this past spring, and we can anticipate its completion early this coming summer.

Kate Reeder—the Event and Marketing Coordinator of the Arboretum—said that to understand the connection between the earth below and surface above, visitors will be able to walk through different mediums like a “valley prairie landscape,” a cave, crops and plants, and even tree roots.

Here are a few pictures of what the Children’s Garden should look like once it’s finished.

Entry Court
Entry Court
Preview of Mushroom Hollow
Mushroom Hollow
Fossil Ridge
Fossil Ridge

The vision for the Children’s Garden is “to create a delightful, interactive learning environment not only for children ages three to 12 and their families, but for children of all ages,” said Reeder. The theme of the garden is based on Pennsylvania’s floral culture.

Other than the anticipated date for the Children’s Garden to be opened, all of the other features are tentative due to the funds needed to proceed. The education center, conservatory, and planetarium are estimated to cost $60 million all together.

About the Author

Amber Kloper

Amber is a first-generation Penn Stater--class of 2016--studying broadcast journalism and business. She likes THON and traveling and reading and writing and music and words and rambling.

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