Penn State’s campus is full of many attractions and unique artifacts that in some cases come from all over the world.
From historical objects that date back to the 1800s, to world-famous ice cream and a breathtaking botanical garden, the University Park campus has a diverse offering of things to see and do.
Stay with Lion Country Lodging when you come to learn about the history and explore the culture of Penn State University.
Here are seven places you must visit when on Penn State’s campus.
Old Main Frescoes
Lining the entire second floor of the Old Main lobby, the frescoes pay tribute to Penn State’s history as a land-grant institution. The first frescoes were painted by Henry Varnum Poor in 1940. Eventually, Penn State students wanted the whole wall covered with frescoes, so they raised money to bring Poor back in 1948 to complete the east and west halls of the lobby and by 1949 all was complete.
University activities, (many of which are still key parts of the school today) are depicted such as agriculture, mineral industries and engineering. The most endearing shot sits right above the main stairway to the second floor. It depicts President Abraham Lincoln with a young student planting a tree. Poor painted Lincoln because he signed the Land-Grant act into law and he viewed Lincoln as a symbol of hope for higher education.
The building is open to the public Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Palmer Museum of Art
This free-admission Palmer Museum of Art is a terrific way to spend a few hours on campus. Among the more than 5,000 permanent fixtures are: American and European artwork, European and Japanese studio ceramics and objects from ancient European African and near Eastern cultures. Throughout the year, the museum also hosts special exhibits in addition to its normal collection of artwork.
PSU All-Sports Museum
Explore the athletic history and tradition of Penn State athletics inside the Penn State All-Sports Museum. The museum sits in the southwest corner of Beaver Stadium and showcases the deep athletic history of the university that goes far beyond the football team. Learn about the successes of some of the smaller programs such as fencing, softball and track and field. The museum houses trophies, floor-to-ceiling visuals and other significant Penn State sports memorabilia. Most notably, the Heisman Trophy won by Penn State running back John Cappelletti in 1973.
Nittany Lion Shrine
The symbol of Penn State and the most photographed spot on campus, the Nittany Lion Shrine is located directly across from Rec Hall on Curtin Road. Made out of Indiana limestone, the shrine was a gift to the University by the class of 1940.
The Berkey Creamery
With no disrespect to the Creamery building, a lovely building on the east side of the campus, it’s not about the venue; it is all about the ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream! Situated on the ground floor of the Food Sciences building, the nation’s largest university creamery is a must-visit when you’re in State College.
You can’t go wrong with some Alumni Swirl (vanilla ice cream with Swiss mocha chips and blueberry swirl), Arboretum Breeze (mint flavored vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips and raspberry swirl) or the classic Death By Chocolate (chocolate ice cream with chocolate flakes, chocolate fudge and swirl). In total, the Creamery makes about 100 different ice cream flavors.
Penn State Arboretum
Constructed in 2009, the Arboretum is one of the newest additions to Penn State’s campus. Located next to the Lewis Katz Law building on Park Avenue and Bigler Road, it’s easy to get lost in the beauty of the Arboretum’s gardens, water structures and stone sculptures.
The Overlook Pavilion provides a breathtaking view of the garden when you look towards campus. When looking north, you can take in the beauty of the rolling hills and countryside of Happy Valley. During the spring, summer and fall the Arboretum is a great place to take a stroll or just relax. A winter garden and conservatory are being planned for the future.
Situated on the Allen Street Mall just behind Willard Building, the Obelisk contains 281 stones that are arranged in their natural geological order. It was built in 1896 to show the value of Pennsylvania building stone.
After a long day strolling through campus, relax by dining away from the fray at Carnegie Inn & Spa’s fine dining venue and then choose from one of our six hotel properties for the perfect State College stay.
Visit Lion Country Lodging
Carnegie Inn & Spa - (814) 234-2424
100 Cricklewood Drive State College, PA 16803
Days Inn Penn State - (814) 238-8454
240 S. Pugh Street State College, PA 16801
Hilton Garden Inn - (814)-272-1221
1221 East College Avenue State College, PA 16801
Nittany Budget Motel - (814) 238-0015
2070 Cato Avenue State College, PA 16801
Quality Inn State College - (814) 234-1600
1274 North Atherton Street State College, PA 16803
Super 8 - (814) 237-8005
1663 S. Atherton St State College, PA 16801