The Visitor Center (previously the McKay Natural Awareness Center) was constructed in 1977, with a 16,000-square foot addition built in 2001. Solar thermal panels provide 40 percent of the building’s heat. 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
The 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.