Aerial of visitor center

The Visitor Center will be closed until further notice. The Arboretum is offering fall virtual events. COVID-19 updates»

The Visitor Center (previously the McKay Natural Awareness Center) was constructed in 1977, with a 16,000-square foot addition built in 2001. State-of-the-art photovoltaic cells, added as part of the expansion, convert sunlight into electricity to help meet the building’s energy needs. Rainwater from the roof is channeled to rain gardens to prevent contributing to storm-water runoff.

In the Visitor Center you’ll find:

  • A reception area with restrooms and drinking fountains, a friendly volunteer to answer questions, and information about the Arboretum
  • A theater featuring murals by world-class nature artist Victor Bakhtin and an orientation film on Arboretum history and the importance of ecological restoration
  • An extensive library of non-circulating books about plants, animals, birds, ecosystems, and restoration ecology
  • A bookstore, art gallery, auditorium, and classrooms

Visitor Center Spaces

Arboretum BookstoreThe Arboretum Bookstore carries a broad selection of nature, gardening, and science titles for all ages and interest levels, as well as nature-inspired gifts, Arboretum apparel, and home decor. Go to the Bookstore page for more information.


The Steinhauer Trust Gallery
 celebrates Wisconsin’s natural heritage and the human connection to the land through visual arts by showcasing the creativity and talent of artists inspired by nature.
 Go to the Art Gallery page for information about the space and the selection process.


The auditorium and classroom may be rented for university, nonprofit, and private events. Go to Facility Use for more information.