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Visitor Center

New Visitor Center

Opened May 2012

Seamlessly melding architecture and landscape, the new Visitor Center is a model of energy-efficient design, including earth-sheltered construction, a geoexchange system for heating and cooling, a living roof, and fritted-glass walls. Surrounding the building is a new garden filled with native plantings and water-capturing beds. Meticulously designed by the renowned architecture firm Weiss/Manfredi, the Visitor Center has earned LEED Gold certification for environmental sustainability.

The Visitor Center’s engaging exhibits, amenities, and gracious event space welcome and orient visitors and underscore the Garden’s commitment to education, science, horticulture, community, and conservation.

View an excerpt from Plants & Gardens (pdf) BBG Members' Newsletter to learn more.

Left photo: Albert Vecerka/Esto

A Closer Look at the Visitor Center

Living Roof

living roof

The 10,000-square-foot living roof, planted with a diversity of native species, both absorbs rainwater and provides the building with insulation.

Bright Light, Good Wood

natural light

Glass walls provide ample natural illumination, decreasing the need for artificial lighting, and the fritted-pattern glaze helps prevent bird collisions and reduces solar heat gain. The wood-paneled walls in the Lillian and Amy Goldman Atrium are made from ginkgo trees harvested from the site.



Twenty-eight geothermal wells drilled 400 feet deep enhance the building’s heating and cooling system.

Water Savings


Storm-water runoff is directed to collection basins in the plaza rain gardens, where it replenishes the groundwater supply. The living roof alone is expected to harvest almost 200,000 gallons of water each year.



State-of-the-art exhibits as well as orientation and educational tools help visitors of all ages and levels of horticultural expertise appreciate the rich diversity of the Garden.

Conscientious Design


BBG has earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for the new Visitor Center.

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Green Facts

Selecting plants that are best suited for your soil and climate conditions reduces fertilizer and water use—and maintenance!