The Arthur & Phyllis Kaplan Orchid Conservatory is a $2.1 million structure with almost 3,000 square feet of greenhouse space houses the orchid collection of late Norfolk physician Arthur Kaplan, a longtime grower of exquisite orchids. It opened in 2008. The Kaplan Orchid Conservatory at ODU welcomes visitors from all over the world with an indoor tropical landscape brimming with orchids and other exotic plants. A curated collection of more than 1,300 orchid specimens offers exceptional beauty as well as an abundance of educational opportunities. An onsite laboratory is the site of research into the cultivation of orchid species from seed for use in studying their development and habitat requirements. Within the KOC there are five individually climate-controlled greenhouses with a centerpiece 30-foot high display conservatory that is landscaped with a rock wall, waterfall and pool, which serve as a backdrop for tropical plants and blooming orchids.
In addition to the display conservatory, three other greenhouses are used for growing orchids, and one is used for botanical research. There is also a potting room and orchid propagation lab, as well as three office/lab complexes for plant research faculty.