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The Arthur & Phyllis Kaplan Orchid ConservatoryFrequently Asked Questions

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Orchids from the Arthur and Phyllis Kaplan Orchid Conservatory

 How do I get there & where do I park?

The KOC is located in the heart of the ODU campus between Hampton Blvd and Elkhorn Ave. at 44th St. near the Perry Library.

Parking is available at parking lot A on Elkhorn Ave.

From Hampton Blvd. turn West onto 43rd St. (a right turn if coming down Hampton Blvd. from Terminal Blvd./Navy Base/Peninsula—or a left turn if coming from Downtown Norfolk/Midtown Tunnel). Turn right onto Elkhorn Ave. and turn right into Parking Garage A. Metered parking is available on the ground level, or you can request a visitor's pass from the parking office. Please obey all parking instructionsincluding those on visitor passes!

Exit the parking garage from the side door (opposite the parking office, walking away from 43rd St.), and you will see the KOC approximately 160 paces down the red brick road.

Daily Permits & Metered Parking Info Google Map to KOC Campus Map

 When can I visit?

The KOC is open to the public from 10:00am-2:00pm each Monday-Friday that the University is open. Private tours at other times may be arranged with the Associate Director.

 What does it cost to visit?

Nothing! We are a free facility that is open to the public.

 What will I see at the KOC?

The collection in the display conservatory includes flowering orchids, tropical plants, and desert plants from all over the world. The external gardens contain plants that provide habitat and food for birds and insects. These gardens have several milkweed (Asclepias) species that support the Monarchs for Monarchs program that was started at ODU in 2014 to provide food sources for Monarch butterfly caterpillars.

 What is the best time of year to visit to see orchids in bloom?

Fall and winter are the most active times for orchids to come into bloom, although there is usually something in flower at all times of the year.

 Are there other places nearby to see plants?

We recommend visiting the Hermitage Museum and Gardens and the Norfolk Botanical Garden. Of course, the ODU campus also has many landscaped areas with interesting plants to see. Take a walk around the campus.

 Can the facility accommodate wheelchairs and strollers?

Yes! The display conservatory is wheelchair accessible, however, anyone interested in attending a behind-the-scenes tour is encouraged to contact Associate Director Darrin Duling in advance to discuss your particular situation.

 Can I bring kids?

Yes! We welcome visitors of all ages. Please follow the guidelines of not touching or damaging the plants, stay on the walkways, and be mindful that there is a water feature within the display conservatory.

 How do I arrange a tour for my group?

Simply contact Associate Director Darrin Duling to arrange a time and discuss tour options.

 How many people can come at once?

We are a small facility and it is not recommended that more than 20 people at a time visit the facility.

 Can I take pictures in the KOC?

Yes, casual pictures are allowed. Opportunities for commercial photography may be available in consultation with the Associate Director.

 Can I eat in the KOC?

Food is not allowed in the facility because it serves as an attractant of pests, such as mice and nuisance insects.

 Are there places to grab something to eat?

Yes! Many eateries are available on campus and nearby, including the Webb University Center and Monarch Way. The Webb Center is the closest place to grab a bite to eat. With a Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, Subway, Panda Express and more, you and your tour group will find plenty to enjoy. During the summer and school breaks, they often have reduced hours, so it is best to check and make sure they are open when you are visiting.

 Can I hold a private event at the KOC?

Maybe, but please contact Associate Director Darrin Duling to discuss your event.

 Do you accept orchid or plant donations?

Yes, we do occasionally accept donations of desirable plants of botanical interest. Acceptance of donated plants is at the discretion of the Associate Director.

 Do you accept monetary donations?

Absolutely! Please talk with Associate Director Darrin Duling about a possible gift.

 Are plant & monetary donations tax deductible?

Yes, to the extent allowed by law. In-kind donation of materials can only be assigned a dollar value by the donor, not ODU. It is recommended that you consult your accountant or lawyer for additional details on tax deductions for donations made to ODU and the KOC.

 How do I get a receipt for a donation?

If you make a monetary donation through the website, an email confirmation will be sent. Please see the Development Office website for additional guidelines on giving to ODU.

 Can you help me with my sick or dying orchid?

We do not take in plants to care for them, but we may be able to help with some advice. Direct your questions to Associate Director Darrin Duling. Photos or images are helpful but do not bring any diseased or insect-infested plants into the KOC.

 What can ODU students do at the KOC?

This is a part of YOUR campus. You can come to the display conservatory to relax, take pictures, or just spend some quiet time. We are always looking for volunteers to help too if you have some extra time and want to get your hands dirty. A limited number of student internships are available during the summer. See the Student Opportunities page for more details.

 Are there any paid positions for students?

We have a limited number of paid positions for students. Typically, two internships are available for students during the summer. Along with a stipend, students engage in horticultural work with the collection or a research project. The internship program is announced annually in the early spring. See the Student Opportunities page for more details.

 Can I volunteer?

Yes! We love to have volunteers working in the KOC and can accommodate most schedules and desired work level. Contact Associate Director Darrin Duling if you are interested in volunteering.