Oswald Visitor Center
This large and eco-friendly hub of activity is a great place to start when you arrive or to visit when you’re about to head out. The Visitor Center contains the Arboretum Information & Membership desks, the Arboretum Gift & Garden Store, the Eatery at the Arb Cafe, and more! Get a free map, use the restrooms and explore the latest art on display in the Reedy and Cafe Galleries. Learn more about the features of the Oswald Visitor Center below.
Parking & Access Directions
- After you gain entry past the Arboretum gatehouse, follow the drive to the right.
- Turn right at the first stop sign and park in one of the Visitor Center parking lot bays.
- The Visitor Center is the large teal building to your right as you leave the parking lots on foot.
Additional History & Building Details
Completed in 2005, the breathtaking Oswald Visitor Center is a spectacular 45,000-square-foot building that serves as a formal entry to the Arboretum and an information hub for the more than a half-million people who visit each year. Its soaring McQuinn Great Hall features a 40-foot ceiling framed by Douglas fir trusses, huge windows and skylights. The Great Hall is where you'll find the Arboretum's reception desk and comfortable seating areas as well as special exhibits at various times throughout the year.
Other highlights include the 375-seat MacMillan Auditorium; the Wall Education Wing, with two high-tech classrooms and a teaching garden; a large gift store featuring a wide selection of books, toys, clothing, and other unique garden items and gifts; a cafeteria-style restaurant; and the Reedy Gallery, featuring ever-changing art exhibits.
The Visitor Center incorporates many "green" features. Windows were strategically placed to capture maximum natural daylight through the seasons. An automated lighting system complements the natural daylight, providing supplemental electrical light on cloudy days or evenings and dimming when natural daylight filters into the building. Geothermal energy provides heating and cooling year-round by tapping the natural storehouse of energy just below the Earth's surface.
The Visitor Center is connected to the historic Snyder Building via an enclosed skyway which enhances the functionality of both buildings. The Oswald Visitor Center is surrounded by six uniquely designed outdoor terraces and gardens.