Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (The Domes), Milwaukee, WI


The Domes of the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory offer a desert atmosphere, tropical jungle and flora. The Conservatory is located at 524 S.Layton Blvd, Milwaukee, WI. If visitors stay until it is dark outside, they will be treated to a light show as well. The Domes hold all manner of plant life.

One of the domes holds the arid deserts of Madagascar, Africa and South America as well as North America. Inside guests will find arid land bulb plants, succulents, cacti and shrubs. Pampas grass provides an oasis in the dome desert while following the paths. There are many geometric forms, colors and plant adaptations to the hot dry climate.

Visit the jungle in the Tropical Dome where visitors will find the rainforests from five different continents. Tropical flowers, spices, nuts, fruits, a variety of orchids and bromeliads will be presented in a unique atmosphere. No one wants to miss the beautiful cascading waterfall within the Tropical Dome. It is also home to many species of brightly colored birds. There are many things that come out of the rainforest that people use in their everyday lives.

Some of the products include: avocado, banana, chocolate or cocoa, guava, macadamia nuts, star fruit and tapioca. Spices that people use in their diets are black pepper, turmeric, cardamom, and vanilla. We use some of the hardwoods in buildings and furnishings; they include ebony and mahogany. Poisons and insecticides are also from the rainforest, with strychnine and curare being two by products of plants.

The Floral Show Dome changes five times a year when themed floral exhibits provide ideas for at home gardens. This dome encompasses many types of flowers and plant life. Past themes of the Floral Dome have been cultural, fantasy or historical. The themes are planned more than a year in advance. The shows generally last from six to fourteen weeks.

Mitchell Park Conservatory was first built in 1898 and the original buildings served the population until 1955 when it was no longer deemed safe. This conservatory was demolished to make room for the three bee hive shaped glass domes that make up the Conservatory today. The domes are 140 feet in diameter at the base. They stretch to a height of 85 feet. This gives each dome approximately 15,000 square feet of space to grow the plants and flowers. Construction was started in 1959 and gradually became the three domes. Because they weren't built all at once the city didn't have to use bonds to build the new Conservatory. The domes were completed in 1967.

The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Saturday & Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:00pm, Memorial Day through September. Hours change October 1st and can be found online. Admission is six dollars and fifty cents for age eighteen and up. Milwaukee County Seniors Age 60+ is five dollars with proof of residency. People with disabilities or students with an ID are five dollars. Children 6-17 are five dollars. The Conservatory has some wheel chairs for no charge, but they are first come first served.

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