Learning from Nature

Washington State Parks Arboretum Environmental Education Center

Seattle, WA

Gateway to the Arboretum

Sprouting from a collaborative partnership between the University of Washington, Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Arboretum Foundation, the new center dramatically expands educational programming at this beloved park. A multipurpose space and café open onto an outdoor gathering plaza, creating a welcoming gateway experience. To the south, classrooms enjoy a separate educational courtyard with experiential connections to the learning meadow beyond.

Learning with Each Step

Educational opportunities engage visitors from their arrival to the parking lot and continue to unfold throughout each visit. Landscape and building details like a rainwater cistern, site-harvested timber, green roof, cross laminated timber (CLT) structure, extensive daylighting and information displays extend learning opportunities.

Protecting the Regional Watershed

Vehicular runoff from the parking lot is processed and celebrated by new green stormwater infrastructure as it flows towards Duck Bay. This process is made visible as a series of outdoor rooms for exploration by visitors of all ages.

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