Pittsburgh Botanic Garden opens its new Welcome Center and Auto Garden on April 1 as it marks its six-year anniversary. This 7,500-square-foot facility will greet visitors entering the gardens and woodlands and transport them to a place of exploration, wonder, and learning.
“This new center will elevate the visitor experience by creating deeper engagement opportunities year-round,” said Keith S. Kaiser, Executive Director. Inviting and intuitive, the new center will be the starting point for immersion into the gardens and woodlands with reception, ticketing, a café, gift shop and offices as well as multi-function event spaces.
“As the gateway to our gardens and woodlands, this new entry drive and welcome center, invites visitors to leave behind their busy lives as they enter into the natural setting,” said Mr. Kaiser. “The building becomes ‘home base’ during a visit, providing orientation and information, along with programs, art and access to our cultivated 60 acres.”
The welcome center will open for members and visitors at noon on April 1. The Garden’s spring and summer hours will begin that day as well, extending visitation until 7 pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
In addition to the welcome desk for admission, and accessible restrooms, visitor amenities include:
Zappala Woodland Room – This space offers visitors a casual atmosphere to view each season through the floor to ceiling windows.
Canopy Café – a dining space for a cup of coffee or light lunch during a visit to the Garden. The outside, adjacent terrace will suspend guests into the surrounding deciduous and evergreen trees.
Forage & Finds – a boutique filled with unique merchandise for the home and garden, including seasonal plants and other outdoor garden treasures.
Peirce Education Rooms and Courtyard Garden – This flexible space will host educational programs for school students as well as experienced gardeners.
Art Gallery – Local artists, representing a variety of mediums, will be featured year round.
Planted among its surroundings, the welcome center was oriented to take advantage of natural light, especially important in a region that experiences heavy rain and snowfall. The Entry Garden draws visitors through a grove of American Hornbeam trees, and will be lushly under planted with grasses, ferns, and woodland perennials.
To facilitate access to the welcome center, a new Auto Garden was designed to immerse visitors into the natural world around them, as well as expand parking.
The new All Seasons Garden, arrayed on the hillside next to the entrance drive, guides visitors toward the welcome center with a display of rhododendrons, azaleas, and dwarf conifers, interwoven with colorful grasses and perennials. Native trees such as Black Gum and Kentucky Coffeetree will provide shade along the Auto Garden walkway leading visitors from parking to the Welcome Center.
Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is transforming 460 acres of land, which tell the story of Pittsburgh’s industrial past, into flourishing gardens, inviting trails, forested slopes and an open meadow. The Garden’s mission is to inspire people to value plants, garden design and the natural world by cultivating plant collections of the Allegheny Plateau and temperate regions, creating display gardens, conducting educational programs and conserving the environment. Since opening its gates to the public in 2015, nearly 125,000 visitors have explored the gardens and woodlands, attended educational programs or celebrated a special occasion.