The Domes draws plant fans
MILWAUKEE – The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory takes visitors from the tropics to the rain forest in just one stop, with the help of its incredible domes.
There are three of them to explore: the Floral Show Dome, Tropical Dome and Desert Dome.
The Desert Dome has a few trees soaring overhead, making it look like an oasis. Here travelers will find succulents, cacti and shrubs. The dome’s selections are grouped by geographic areas, each with its own particular plants. The plants and their regions are labeled for convenient recognition.
The Tropical Dome brings guests to a world completely different than the Desert Dome. Here is the rain forest with its array of plants that enjoy the moisture. Look for black pepper, curare, star fruit, bananas, cocoa, ebony and mahogany. There also are familiar friends used as houseplants such as bromeliads and philodendrons. One of the highlights is a kapok that stands tall at 85 feet.
In the Floral Show Dome, each show is displayed in line with a theme, whether it’s cultural, fantasy or historical, and each runs 6 to 14 weeks. It takes a lot of attention to keep a floral display going that long. Step in to see how hard work creates beautiful blossoms.
The Spring Show – Tulip Mania runs through May 28. The theme is 17th-century Holland’s tulip time. There’s even a windmill.
From May 29 to June 8, the dome starts to turn toward summer. Visitors then will see the change of season and a look at how that change occurs. The summer show, with summer winds as the theme, runs June 9 through Sept. 9.
Also coming is the spring plant and bulb sale, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 2.
The Domes’ history dates back to 1898, when its first conservatory was built. It received visitors until 1955, then came today’s domes, which were finished in 1967.
While a visit to the Domes in the winter can boost frozen spirits, any season is the right time to stop in and meet both new and old plants.
If you go
What: Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory
Where: 524 S. Layton Blvd., Milwaukee
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Cost: $6.50 for ages 18 and older and $5 for people with disabilities (a few wheelchairs are available at no cost – visit early to be sure of having one), students with photo identifications and kids 6 to 17
Information: www.county.milwaukee.gov or call 414-257-5611