Notice: Beginning Monday May 18, the university will temporarily close Arboretum Drive to motor vehicle traffic from the Wingra Drive entrance to the Visitor Center. The road will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists to make it easier to use the road safely and with social distancing. Vehicle traffic should use the Seminole Highway entrance. Read more»
The Visitor Center will be closed and Arboretum events are cancelled until further notice. 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
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.