The Visitor Plaza Campaign
New Entrance: A Portal to the Future
The Los Angeles Arboretum Foundation is excited to announce the public launch of an ambitious campaign to transform the visitor experience. We are doing more than building a state-of-the-art entrance; we are creating a portal to a new era at the Arboretum. The Visitor Plaza Project will provide an even more welcoming and accessible entry for all into this treasured garden.
Enhancing the Arboretum experience became even more urgent as the coronavirus pandemic drove Southern California residents to the garden in record-breaking numbers. Not only did this emphatically demonstrate the importance of a safe and beautiful place to connect with nature, but it also highlighted how these improvements are critically necessary to accommodate today’s higher visitation.
“Visiting the Arboretum was the highlight of our week for my family during the pandemic. Our visits, and seeing the garden in bloom, have brought us so much joy, healing, and hope.” Yun Kim, Member
COVID-19 made clear that the Arboretum is an essential community resource. This is further evidenced by the fact that we are one of the very few major public gardens in the nation to have remained open throughout the entire pandemic. Nearly 600,000 visitors journeyed through the gardens last year alone and a new entry is required to ensure that the Arboretum can efficiently handle the growing number of guests.
The Visitor Plaza Project is also the realization of a long-held vision to build an entrance appropriate for the Arboretum and part of our commitment to enhance these gardens for future generations. Additionally, this project is pivotal to the Arboretum’s continual efforts to make the garden accessible for visitors of all ability levels and to provide exceptional hospitality that enriches enjoyment. The time is ripe for a new entrance that better serves all and reflects the Arboretum of the 21st century.
New Pathway from Lower Parking Lot
“Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined a place like the Arboretum existed. I have visited countless times since my youth, bringing my parents, grandmother, friends, and, most recently, my children. The new Visitor Plaza Project will transform our magnificent garden, making it even more accessible for all!” Annette Castro Ramirez, Co-Chair of the Visitor Plaza Steering Committee and Arboretum Trustee
Visitor Plaza Project Status
The Arboretum’s $7.5 million fundraising effort to construct a new Visitor Plaza will increase accessibility, provide superior hospitality, and enhance enjoyment of all that the Arboretum offers.
This is the organization’s first capital fundraising campaign since 1980, and the Visitor Plaza Project will leave a lasting imprint on the Arboretum. To date, with $6 million raised, our campaign is 80% funded. Groundbreaking on the Visitor Plaza is slated for 2022, with construction lasting roughly 24 months.
Thanks to the individuals and foundation partners that have already generously funded our campaign, we are on our way to making the Visitor Plaza a reality. However, there is more still to do, and we are depending on friends, like you, to ensure success. Let’s celebrate the Arboretum’s unique horticultural and historic heritage, while also dramatically upgrading guest access and amenities, with a new Visitor Plaza. Please Give Today.
What the Visitor Plaza Project Will Do:
- Create new areas for gathering, ticketing, and initial orientation
- Ease navigation for all visitors
- Increase safety by addressing congestion issues
- Honor our storied horticultural heritage with beautiful botanical specimens
- Restore and re-adapt our mid-20th century modern architecture
- Improve access to fully meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements
- Provide an unparalleled arrival vista from the historic Bauer Fountain to the majestic San Gabriel Mountains
- Construct an entrance worthy of a world-class botanic garden.
Three Components of the Visitor Plaza. An Arrival Plaza, a Ticketing Pavilion, and a Welcome Plaza will comprise the new Visitor Plaza, which is being designed by EPTDESIGN in Pasadena. To take a Visitor Plaza Virtual Tour, click here.
The Arrival Plaza will expand the current entrance, providing ample gathering space for the more than 17,500 field trip students and other groups that visit each year. Importantly, new ADA-accessible ramping will be installed in the south parking lot, supplying much-needed wheelchair and stroller access to the entrance. A newly designed and dedicated pathway, with built-in benches, will ease congestion and provide an attractive passage into the gardens. Lighting in this area will be upgraded as well.
Rain gardens, illustrating storm water capture, along with iconic plants the Arboretum has popularized in the region over the decades, will add beauty. The Arboretum will have a Horticultural Walk of Fame, showcasing the outstanding plants the Arboretum has introduced to the region.
The Ticketing Pavilion will restore and reconfigure the present Gift Shop to create an open-air breezeway with ticketing windows, including an ADA-accessible window. The Membership Office will be integrated into the Ticketing Pavilion, while the Gift Shop will move to today’s Membership Office, adjacent to the Arrival Plaza. In addition, these changes will ensure that our historic mid-20th century structures are preserved for future appreciation.
The Welcome Plaza will provide exemplary hospitality and orientation. New plantings and shaded garden areas, a visitor information kiosk with knowledgeable docents, updated maps, beverage options, and a dining terrace will be added to set the stage for relaxation and discovery.
A spectacular view of the Arboretum, stretching from Bauer Fountain, across Bauer Lawn and the Africa collection, to the magnificent San Gabriel Mountains, will be an additional reward for all who come to the garden.
“I am excited about the Visitor Plaza Project. It will be a great statement of what visitors can expect to enjoy inside. This special garden will continue to touch hearts and minds – and those of future generations – with its wonder.” Kathleen Ellison, Co-Chair of the Visitor Plaza Steering Committee and Arboretum Trustee
Ways to Give and Recognition Opportunities
Your support will help us reach this crucial goal, and, most importantly, make certain that this extraordinary public garden is accessible for all in our community far into the future. There are many ways to contribute to the Visitor Plaza Campaign. The Arboretum gratefully acknowledges the support of our donors through various recognition opportunities. Whatever you choose, know that your gift makes a tremendous difference.
For More Information
Please contact Sylvia Rosenberger, Chief Development Officer, at 626.821.3232 or by email at Sylvia.Rosenberger@Arboretum.org, if you have any questions. Thank you for your support!