ATTENTION! The Biological Sciences Greenhouse will be closed until Autumn Semester 2018. The Insectary is open. Contact 614-292-9634 or email to schedule a visit. No walk-in’s accepted.

Planning A VisitVisitors learning about millipedes

We offer several opportunities for visiting the facility.

Class Visits

The Ohio State University courses and affiliated groups and events have scheduling priority. Instructors will want to check our Events Calendar prior to making a scheduling request. Instructors should make reservations during the first week of the term or earlier to ensure we are able to accomodate the group on the desired date(s). Instructors should review the Etiquette for Classes prior to their visit.

Tour Group Visits

Tour groups from outside the university will be accomodated based on staff availability. Please check our Events Calendar for potential dates. Groups of 10 or more require a guided tour. Groups may tour either the Conservatory or the Insectary or both areas. Groups should plan to spend one hour in each area however, we will work within shorter time constraints if necessary. We are unable to provide impromptu guided tours.

Our staff is happy to work with school and home-school groups to tailor tours to cover specific Ohio academic content standards. In general, many standards across a variety of grade levels are addressed by the typical tour. Depending upon time constraints, there may be a hands-on component to the tour offering students the opportunity to "get their hands dirty".

Individual or Small Group Visits

Tour group with guide, in ConservatoryIndividuals or small groups of less than 10 wishing to have a guided tour may be requested to join an already scheduled group visit or clustered with other small groups. We offer self-guided tours of the greenhouse on an "as-available" basis. Please check the Events Calendar just prior to visiting or call ahead to make sure the facility will be open for visitation. The facility is not open to self-guided tours during scheduled classes, guided tours, and events.

The Insectary does not permit self-guided visits. Please contact the Insectary Manager to arrange a small group or individual visit.



General Information for Visitors

About the FacilityYoung visitors touching a tarantula

The Conservatory houses plants native to tropical and desert environments. The collection has an estimated 1200 specimens representing over 100 plant families from around the world, including some specimens rarely found in cultivation and endangered species. There are flowers and fruits year-round and a vast diversity of foliage shapes, sizes and colors. Carnivorous plants, ferns, orchids and bromeliads are specialty collecions with the Conservatory collection.
The Insectary rears approximately 130 species of insects and arthropods for instructional and research purposes, including tarantulas, walking sticks, and giant hissing cockroaches.
Not all areas of the facility are open to public access.
Adjacent to the Biological Sciences Greenhouse facility are the Jennings Courtyard and the Aronoff Bioswale. These outdoor areas are planted with Ohio native species are under the care of the greenhouse staff. Tours of these outdoor areas provide an opportunity for classes and tour groups to instruct students on plants and insects indigenous to Ohio, bringing a local approach to learning.

Child filling pot with soilHours of Operation 

The Conservatory and Insectary are available for visitor tours and classes Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM. The facility is closed on University recognized holidays and weekends. Scheduling of visits outside of business hours may be arranged by special request. These are made at the discretion of faciity staff and are dependent upon staff availablility.



Instructors should make reservations prior to the start of the term or early in the term.Groups are requested to make reservations at least 15 working days in advance of visit. Facility scheduling is available for 6 months in advance and is subject to change based on course demand and facility staffing. Scheduling priority is given to Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences courses first, followed by other university courses. Impromptu guided tours are not available. 


Groups are requested to call at least 48 hours in advance should the tour or class need to be cancelled or rescheduled. Reservations will be cancelled by the facility staff when groups are more than 30 minutes late for their scheduled time.

Visitors in the greenhouseGroup size 

Due to space limitations, groups in excess of 40, not including instructor or adult supervisors, cannot be accomodated. Tour groups larger than 20 may be required to divide, usually with half touring the Conservatory while the other half visits the Insectary. Both parts of a divided group will have the opportunity visit each area. Groups of fewer than 10 may be asked to arrange their visit with another small sized group. 



With Ohio State’s commitment to the safety and well-being of all visitors on campus, the Biological Sciences Greenhouses and Insectary are implementing the following policy regarding tour attendees under the age of 18:

  • A minimum ratio of one (1) adult chaperone to six (6) children is required to attend tours of the facility.

  • Groups containing greater than twelve (12) children must have three (3) chaperones present at all times. 

  • Chaperones cannot include students or staff members of the Biological Sciences Greenhouses or Insectary.

Due to space restrictions, many groups who attend our tours split into smaller groups while on campus, in order to have the best learning experience. Please keep this possibility in mind when recruiting chaperones for your visit. For example, a classroom of 30 children would be split in half, therefore requiring 6 total adult chaperones, per the guidelines stated above. 

⇒Please Note: We are an active teaching and research facility. The Conservatory and Insectary are not designed, as museums and zoos are, for handling large numbers of visitors. The tour allows visitors the unique opportunity to experience the educational resources inherent of such a facility.


For guided tours, we request a nonrefundable minimum donation of $2.50 per student (18 and under). There is no charge for 1 adult for every 6 students. For adults, the fee is $5 per person. Groups larger than 40 will need to divide and schedule separately, due to facility space limitations. The fee is due at time of scheduling, to reserve a single date and time for a guided tour of the Conservatory and/or Insectary. Contributions are payable by check made to the order of The Ohio State University and directly support the Biological Sciences Greenhouse and its programs. 
There is no fee for OSU classes.


Please read over the Etiquette for Tours or Etiquette for Classes prior to visiting the facility. Failure of any group or group member to comply with these rules will result in a prompt end of the tour or class and the group asked to leave. These guidelines are meant to insure the safety and enjoyment of all visitors. 


For questions about scheduling the Conservatory and Insectary together or only the Conservatory, contact Ms. Emily Yoders-Horn via email or by phone at 614-688-5593
For questions about scheduling the Insectary only, contact Mr. George Keeney via email or by phone at 614-292-9634

Etiquette for Tours

  • Please remember that this is a teaching and research facility. There are classes in session and researchers working in their offices and laboratories. Visitors are asked to remain quiet in the hallways. Running and horseplay are not tolerated.
  • Do not touch plants and arthropods unless instructed to do so by the tour guide. Certain plants and arthropods can cause irritations when handled. When instructed to handle organisms, rest assured that it is safe to do so, as we have your safety in mind. Please handle gently as these are living organisms.
  • The Insectary does not allow strollers due to space limitations.
  • Please show respect for the tour guide and fellow visitors by keeping quiet during presentations. Questions and comments are welcome during the presentation with a raised hand..
  • This building has been designated as a smoke-free environment.
  • Please be aware that there is no seating available in the Insectary and Conservatory. Tours involve walking and standing for the duration. Visitors needing special assistance can be accommodated with prior arrangement.
  • Groups showing a lack of control and respect will be dismissed from the premises, and future tour arrangements for such groups will be made at the discretion of the facility management.
  • Artists are welcome with water-soluble paints and chalks. No inks or permanent markers are allowed.

Etiquette for Classes

  • Lab class working in greenhouseDo not touch plants and arthropods unless directed to do so by the instructor. Certain plants and arthropods can cause irritations when handled. When instructed to handle organisms, rest assured that it is safe to do so, as we have your safety in mind. Please handle gently as these are living organisms.
  • Please do not move plants or plant labels. If assistance is needed, please contact a staff member.
  • No food or drink is permitted in the greenhouse as they attract pest insects.
  • This building has been designated as a smoke-free environment,
  • Please respect the plants in the Conservatory collection by not removing leaves or flowers, or by injuring plant specimens. Dead leaves and flowers on the floor may be collected if desired.
  • Should a plant become damaged or accidentally knocked over, the instructor should contact a staff member immediately.

Special Note for Art Classes

  • Art students may not use any permanent inks, paints, or markers in the Conservatory. Please have students use water-soluble paints or chalks.
  • Students may move chairs into the greenhouse ONLY if they are returned to their original location.