Take the whole family on a day of discovery at this museum and botanical garden, where curious artifacts from around the globe bring faraway cultures to life.
The Wilbur D. May Center consists of two parts: the Wilbur D. May Museum and the Wilbur D. May Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Together they honor the legacy of Wilbur D. May who, through his world travels and adventures, collected thousands of rare and exotic artifacts and brought them back to his home in Reno. Bring the whole family to have fun and learn at this center of intrigue and discovery.
Peruse the weird and wonderful displays in the museum and learn about different cultures from around the world. The unique ethnographic collection includes everything from Japanese swords to artifacts from Egyptian tombs. See African tribal masks, Polynesian carvings, Chinese pottery and European glasswork. Venture into the trophy room of exotic taxidermy, numbering well over 200 pieces.
Travel the world and follow the route the eccentric millionaire took as he traded with locals for art, crafts, weapons and curios. See giant elephant tusks, snuff bottles and even shrunken human heads.
From the museum, head into the Arboretum and Botanical Garden, which stands as a 13-acre (5-hectare) living plant museum. Reno is located between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Great Basin Desert and has a very small amount of rainfall. These conditions mean it is difficult for most plants to thrive here. Wander the gardens and discover the hardiest of plants, the only ones that can withstand these extremes. About 4,000 native and non-native plants grow here. Visit the Rock Garden, the Songbird Garden or the Rose Garden or head to the Evans Creek Wetland Area.
The wetlands here are among the only ones in Reno. Stand quietly on the bridge over the creek and look for the 57 different species of birds fluttering through the black willows and cottonwoods.
The Wilbur D. May Center is located inside the Rancho San Rafael Regional Park in Reno. Enter the regional park for free; the museum has an admission fee. Both the museum and the botanical gardens are open during regular park hours. There is a lot next to the center where you can park for free.