Modern staircase and people walking through the Atrium
Explore. Engage. Discover.

A campus-community crossroads

From a dinosaur-era garden to motion-sensing walls, hands-on exhibits, two restaurants and teaching laboratories—the Town Center welcomes campus and the community. Visitors can take a tour, hold an event, participate in a program or have a casual or formal meeting.  An array of programs speaks to many audiences, spotlighting business acceleration, interdisciplinary collaboration and opportunities to experience the campus’s cutting-edge scientific research firsthand. Regular and special event programs connect science, humanities and the arts for young and old alike year-round. Learn about our impact as a crossroads of minds.

Explore
Town CenterA campus-community crossroads

Location

330 N. Orchard St.
Madison, WI 53715

Parking

Visitor parking is available
in lots 17, 20 and 80

Hours

Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Crossroads of Ideas: Laboratory of Oligarchy

Tuesday, September 20, 7:00 pm

DIY Science: Cool Carrots & Pigment Power

Friday, September 23, 7:00 pm

Afterschool Expeditions

Monday, September 26, 2:30 pm

Programs for Campus & Community Members

The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, known as the Discovery Building, is home to many programs that highlight science and creativity for campus and community members.

Programs for Inventors, Entrepreneurs and Researchers
Programs for Campus and Community Members
Programs for K-12 students, Educators and Families

 

View all programs

Chairs set up in the H.F. DeLuca Forum
Award-winning, sustainably designed

Meeting & Event Spaces

The Town Center at the award-winning, sustainably designed Discovery Building on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus offers inspiring spaces for use by campus and community groups. The spaces accommodate lectures, expositions, receptions and banquets.

 

View Reservable Spaces

 

  • State-of-the-art audiovisual services including projection, sound, live streaming and multimedia capabilities
  • Onsite dining options and catering
  • Onsite event staff support
  • Free WiFi
  • Water features, plants and trees that create a natural ambience
  • Flexible, functional spaces with customizable setup options

 

Interactive Map

Take an interactive tour of the Town Center by clicking the the red dots below.

Map Details

Click on the red circle indicators within the map to learn more about each section of the Town Center.

Dining at Discovery

Dining at Discovery

Dining at Discovery The Town Center includes two public dining venues: Aldo’s Café and Steenbock’s on Orchard. In addition to providing food and drink for building occupants, program participants and visitors, the venues offer opportunities for informal science education programming.

Penrose Tiling

Penrose Tiling

In the center of the forum’s cherry wood floor is an inlaid pattern of Penrose tiling. The different shapes fit together like puzzle pieces but no two sides are the same and the order of the shapes never repeats itself. Mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose investigated these nonperiodic tilings in the 1970s. Former UW–Madison chancellor John Wiley suggested adding this pattern to the floor.

Dining at Discovery

Dining at Discovery

Dining at Discovery The Town Center includes two public dining venues: Aldo’s Café and Steenbock’s on Orchard. In addition to providing food and drink for building occupants, program participants and visitors, the venues offer opportunities for informal science education programming.

Media walls

Media walls

Two media walls with ultrahigh definition screens respond to movement. Visitors can learn about science and the building and create interesting visual effects by interacting with the walls.
 

Media walls

Media walls

Two media walls with ultrahigh definition screens respond to movement. Visitors can learn about science and the building and create interesting visual effects by interacting with the walls.
 

WisconScience wall

WisconScience wall

This changing display features information about famous UW–Madison scientists and researchers and reminds us that we are "In a Constant State of Discovery."
 

Water walls and Fibonacci chimes

Water walls and Fibonacci chimes

Three slate water walls with LED lights respond to visitors' movements with light patterns and chimes in the Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical ratio found throughout nature, such as in the patterns and spirals of leaves, flowers, pine cones, shells, fish scales, human proportions and single cells. The first two Fibonacci numbers are 0 and 1, and each number that follows is the sum of the previous two. For example: 0+1=1; 1+1=2; 1+2=3; 2+3=5; 3+5=8; and so on.

Mesozoic garden niche

Mesozoic garden niche

This niche features plants dating to the dinosaur age, geologic artifacts and more. The primeval setting—complete with several fossils—features mosses, horsetails, cycads, ferns, tree ferns, palms, ginkgoes, blooming magnolias and conifers. 

Mesozoic garden niche

Mesozoic garden niche

This niche features plants dating to the dinosaur age, geologic artifacts and more. The primeval setting—complete with several fossils—features mosses, horsetails, cycads, ferns, tree ferns, palms, ginkgoes, blooming magnolias and conifers. 

Discovery niche

Discovery niche

discovery-niche

This interactive niche features rotating exhibits highlighting research at UW–Madison and the Morgridge Institute for Research.   

Fossils

Fossils

Fossils of creatures that once lived in the ocean can be found in the stone tiles in the floor of the Town Center.
 

Water walls and Fibonacci chimes

Water walls and Fibonacci chimes

Three slate water walls with LED lights respond to visitors' movements with light patterns and chimes in the Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical ratio found throughout nature, such as in the patterns and spirals of leaves, flowers, pine cones, shells, fish scales, human proportions and single cells. The first two Fibonacci numbers are 0 and 1, and each number that follows is the sum of the previous two. For example: 0+1=1; 1+1=2; 1+2=3; 2+3=5; 3+5=8; and so on.
 

Water walls and Fibonacci chimes

Water walls and Fibonacci chimes

Three slate water walls with LED lights respond to visitors' movements with light patterns and chimes in the Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical ratio found throughout nature, such as in the patterns and spirals of leaves, flowers, pine cones, shells, fish scales, human proportions and single cells. The first two Fibonacci numbers are 0 and 1, and each number that follows is the sum of the previous two. For example: 0+1=1; 1+1=2; 1+2=3; 2+3=5; 3+5=8; and so on.
 

Field Trips

We offer several field trip workshops for students in elementary, middle and high school. All groups interested in a field trip must fill out an online registration form. The workshops we offer are described on our early elementary school (K-2), late elementary school (3-5), middle school (6-8) and high school (9-12) program pages.

Learn more

Group Tours

Town Center group tours are designed for groups of 10 or more and a three-week advance notice is appreciated. Tours take place on the first floor of the Discovery Building (Town Center) and include a general overview of the unique physical features of the building, the Discovery partnership, research within the institutes and information about ongoing programs. Tours are limited to the first floor; we are unable to provide tours of the lab and research environments. Tours are approximately 30-45 minutes long.

The following group tour application is designed to gather information about your tour needs. Submission does not guarantee a tour date; tours are confirmed based on the availability of our tour guides. Questions about Town Center group tours should be directed to Debbie Edge at dedge@warf.org or 608.316.4484.

arrowGroup tour application form

Group tours are supported by UW–Madison Campus and Visitor Relations and WARF.

Contact Us

The Town Center welcomes
your comments and inquiries.

 

Welcome Desk and General Information:     608.316.4300     info@discovery.wisc.edu

All Contact Information

About Us