Highlands Biological Station buildings remain closed to visitors with the exception of limited visitor hours for the Nature Center.  HBS Botanical Garden trails remain open, and in accordance with University policy masks and physical distancing are required on the HBS campus.  Highlands Biological Station currently plans to offer academic and public programming in summer 2021, observing University mandated Covid-19 safety protocols.  For the safety of the HBS summer community, before being permitted to work or study at HBS prospective summer students, teaching faculty, and researchers must provide documentation of (1) having received a Covid-19 vaccine or (2) a negative Covid-19 test taken within 3 days of planned arrival.  Please see the HBS website for full summer 2021 Covid-19 safety policies and procedures, and bear in mind that University policy and HBS program plans are subject to change in light of developments with the pandemic this spring. 


Gathering Spaces on Campus

Looking for a place to picnic after you visit the Nature Center?  Check out these spots on our campus!


Our amphitheater is a large, open space located just behind the Nature Center.  It consists of five grassy terraces lined with stone, perfect for sitting after a nice hike or gathering groups together in a natural area.  It also features a stage area with butterfly and salamander photo stand-ins for a great photo opportunity.

Cooke Pavilion 

The Cooke Pavilion, made possible through the generous support of Mountain Findings, is located just passed our amphitheater along the edge of the meadow.  It provides a nice refuge from the sun and rain, and it features several picnic tables that can easily be transitioned into benches depending on your need. 


Our meadow is a large, open area surrounded by our Plants of the Cherokee garden and Native Grass Garden. It is also available for gatherings.  Bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic while observing native birds and pollinators visiting the area and then gather everyone to play a game of Cornhole.

Picnic Tables

HBS also has picnic tables located just outside of the Nature Center back door and several benches scattered throughout the campus including by the entrance to the Botanical Garden and by the lake that are available for use.

Illges Overlook

The Illges Overlook is a cozy picnic spot where the old Illges Cottage used to sit. Spread a blanket on the lawn or sit at one of our two picnic tables while enjoying view of Lindenwood Lake. This site is located off of Lower Lake Road, just across from the north entrance to HBS.


John W. “Sto” Stowers, Jr. Teaching Pavilion

The “Sto” Teaching Pavilion rests on Lindenwood Lake and when it is not being used as an outdoor classroom, it is a nice spot to relax and enjoy the view. In the warmer seasons it is an ideal perch to watch fish and Common Snapping Turtles. Waterfowl, such as Mallards, are on the lake nearly year-round. Funding for the pavilion was made possible thanks to generous donations to the Highlands Biological Foundation.