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Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory

Visiting "the Domes" in Milwaukee

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Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory - The Domes
Photo courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

Visiting the Mitchell Park Domes

Where: 524 S. Layton Blvd.
Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Cost: General admission is $6.50 adults; $5 seniors, students, and children 6-17. Milwaukee County resident receive free admission on Mondays from 9 a.m. - noon.
Contact: (414) 649-9830
Website: www.milwaukeedomes.org

Though officially called the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, most Milwaukeeans refer to this interesting botanical attraction as simply "the Domes." A popular place for weddings, events, and a great stop for out-of-towners, the Domes are a fun, peaceful place to spend an afternoon. Visitors will find three distinct climates in the domes: one features a desert climate, another features a tropical climate, and the third, the Floral Show dome, features rotating seasonal floral displays.

Though the Domes themselves are only a little more than 50 years old, Mitchell Park is actually the oldest park in the Milwaukee Parks system. Originally, the park was home to the Milwaukee Conservatory, a traditional glass house style horticultural conservatory that was opened to the public in 1899. The grounds also featured a large water mirror, fountains and extensive parterre gardens and a sunken garden. In 1955, the old conservatory was razed, and constructed in its place were three beehive-shaped glass domes. In 2008, the Domes underwent many repairs and upgraded their lighting system, including the addition of neon halo rings about each of the Domes, making visible from some distance.

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