Penn State Arboretum is a feast for the eyes and a font of knowledge

Flowers, fragrance, birdsong and falling water – that’s the serene world you’ll walk into when you enter the H.O. Smith Botanical Gardens, a part of the Arboretum at Penn State.

Every day brings something new to the gardens, from spring’s first crocus to winter’s scarlet berries.

But the gardens and the arboretum aren’t just music for the eyes. They also contribute to Penn State’s research and education missions.

The facility sits on 370 acres near the center of campus. In addition to a chestnut tree seed nursery that works toward reintroducing blight-resistant chestnut trees into American forests, the grounds house an Air Quality Learning and Demonstration Center. Biology students use the arboretum for field trips and identifying plant species, soil science students study soil “horizons” here, and the grounds include hiking trails. Expansion plans for the gardens and the arboretum include an education center and a conservatory, as well as a children’s garden and other areas.

Money to fund the additional work planned for the gardens and arboretum will come entirely from donations.

To learn more about the history of and plans for the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens and Arboretum, visit

Go to /video/156380/2013/02/09/video-no-title to see a video of plans for the gardens and the facility’s dedication in 2010. This Penn State landmark is part of the iHear Penn State self-guided cell phone campus tour, listed as stop #24.  Accessing iHear Penn State is easy. Dial the tour access number (814-308-5020) on your cell phone and follow the instructions. All stops are listed at

Last Updated April 03, 2012