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Wilbur D. May Center in Rancho San Rafael Regional Park

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What is the Wilbur D. May Center?

Sometimes referred to simply as the May Center, the facility in Rancho San Rafael Regional Park consists of the Wilbur D. May Museum and the Wilbur D. May Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

Wilbur D. May Museum

Wilbur D. May Museum features a permanent collection of artifacts collected by May during his worldwide travels. The museum building is designed after May's home in south Reno and includes items from China, South America, Europe, Africa, and North America. Sales in the Museum Store help support the Museum. It is stocked with beautiful, exotic, and educational products, including many fair trade items.

The May Museum hosts events and special exhibitions throughout the year, many of which are free. Check the May Museum event calendar to see what's going on and when.

The May Museum is open all year. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Hours may vary somewhat by season and there are occasional additional hours for special events. Call (775) 785-5961 for current hours. Admission to the permanent collection is $5 for adults, $3.50 for seniors and children 3 to 17. Kids 2 and under are free. Admission prices may vary for special exhibits. Call ahead to learn about available guided tours and group rates.

Wilbur D. May Arboretum & Botanical Garden

The Wilbur D. May Arboretum and Botanical Garden is next to the May Museum. The garden includes a variety of over 4,000 plants in an area of 13 acres. Many are native to the area and able to survive the harsh, high desert climate. Others require special care to survive. The garden is divided into theme areas such as Great Basin plant communities. The Arboretum is a beautiful and peaceful place for a stroll during any season of the year. Autumn, however, is particularly stunning when the wide variety of trees put on their fall color displays.

The May Arboretum also functions as an educational and research facility. In cooperation with the May Arboretum Society, many classes, workshops, tours, and volunteer opportunities are available to the public. Learn about current activities from the events and exhibits schedule.

There is no admission fee to the Wilbur D. May Arboretum & Botanical Garden. It is open during regular park hours, though special events and other activities such as weddings may temporarily restrict public admittance.

Wilbur D. May Center in Reno, Nevada
May Arboretum and May Museum at the Wilbur D. May Center in Reno, Nevada. Photos © Stan White

About Wilbur D. May and the May Center

"This facility preserves the life and legacy of Wilbur D. May. In addition to his life as an adventurer, rancher, artist, pilot, world traveler, businessman, and entrepreneur, Wilbur was also a philanthropist focused on the education and well-being of local children. The May Museum, Arboretum, and Botanical Garden are committed to being a place for fun and learning in the community." - Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space.

Wilbur D. May was a son of David May, founder of The May Department Stores Company. For more detailed information, refer to "About Wilbur May" on the Washoe County Parks website.

Location and Parking at the Wilbur D. May Center

The May Center is inside Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, 1595 N. Sierra Street in Reno. Parking is free in the lots next to the May Museum and May Arboretum.

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