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This wonderful open-air pavilion, shaded by pines on Comstock Knoll, offers a view of Beebe Lake through the trees and can comfortably accommodate up to 40 to 50 people.

The Summer House has very limited lighting, so it’s best for events to be held between sun up and sun down. There is limited access to electricity and no access to water at the pavilion. There are bathrooms inside the nearby Welcome Center accessible via a small wood-chipped trail through a nearby green lawn.

We can usually loan out two or three tables (plastic, 6 ft. long with folding legs). Any additional needed chairs, tables, cocktail tables, tents, etc. must be rented from an outside vendor.


40 to 50 people


$110 flat fee for Cornell departments.
$250 flat fee for groups external to Cornell University.
For Cornell Student Groups: $50 per hour from the start (set up) of the event until the end (clean up) OR the Cornell department fee, whichever is less.

Things to Note

  • No candles are allowed.
  • No smoking is allowed within 50 ft. of the Summer House.
  • Amplified sound equipment is prohibited.
  • Signs may not be posted on trees or other permanent fixtures. Signs on removable stakes are acceptable, but must be removed immediately after your event.
  • Restroom facilities are available in the Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center, only during hours that the building is open.
  • We ask that you not staple or nail anything to the structure. Push pins are also not allowed. You may tie decorations around the posts or hang and drape things as needed.
  • We ask that you please remove all trash, all supplies, decorations and leftover food when your event is finished. There is no garbage removal service for the Summer House.
  • There is limited access to electricity in the Summer House. There is one standard outlet.
  • There is limited lighting at the Summer House. Once the sun sets, it can get very dark, even with the two flood lights turned on.

Food and Beverages

For catered events, only University-approved caterers may be used. A listing can be found here. All caterers must abide by University rules.

For non-catered events, no on-site cooking is allowed. All food preparation must be done off-site and delivered ready to serve.  Takeout food and drinks for immediate consumption, purchased from local restaurants and markets, may be delivered or brought in. No personal catering by event participants of homemade food is allowed. If purchased food is brought in, renters are responsible for all liability associated with serving food. We ask that all events please completely remove their trash and leave the site as they found it.

All users must adhere to New York State law and Cornell University policy concerning alcohol use. External (private) groups planning to serve alcohol must have the alcohol served by a University approved caterer with liquor liability insurance, as must Cornell groups charging for alcoholic beverages or charging for an event at which alcohol is served.


Any damage to the facility beyond normal wear and tear must be reported as soon as it occurs or is discovered. Renters are responsible for the repair and/or replacement cost associated with such damage.


The parking lot in front of the Nevin Welcome Center is managed by Cornell Transportation. The lot is monitored between 7:30am and 5:00pm, Monday through Friday. During these times parking is available for up to three hours at $1.50 per hour. You may pay using the meter in the parking lot or by using ParkMobile, location Cornell University zone 4120. The meter will accept both cash and credit/debit cards. Please contact Transportation directly to make any needed parking arrangements for your event. The lot can sometimes fill quickly, so carpooling is always encouraged. The next closest parking lots are the Peterson Lot, which is across from the Dairy Bar on Tower Road, and the small lot at Beebe Hall, which is available after 5:00pm and on weekends.

Use of Outdoor Space

Cornell Botanic Gardens’ grounds remain open to the public from sunrise to sunset daily and do not close for special events. Please feel free to enjoy the surrounding gardens. Please stay on paths and lawns, leaving garden beds and plants undisturbed. During your gathering, visitors and staff will also have free access to the surrounding gardens.

You are responsible for the actions of your guests. Please advise them of these policies.

Rental Process

How to reserve a space for your special event.

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Rental Request Form

Interested in this space? Tell us about your event.