Visiting the Domes in Milwaukee Wisconsin

Milwaukee, WI is commonly known as “Brew City” for the many breweries. But beer and cheese is certainly not the only thing this city offers! This Midwestern city has a multitude of other interesting attractions, including “The Domes,” or Mitchell Park Horticulture Conservatory.

The Domes | Milwaukee Wisconsin

Known to the locals as “The Domes,” the Conservatory has 3 large domes: Tropical, Desert, and a Show Dome. Tropical and Desert are pretty self-explanatory, but the Show Dome is pretty interesting. The Show Dome switches themes 5 times a year! (More of an excuse to visit more than once, right?) When I visited, it was a beautiful purple explosion using garden plants. These domes in Milwaukee are the world’s only conoidal glass houses, meaning they are more conical than spherical in shape. The conical shape of the domes offer a better angle for solar heating for the plans and more space for the trees.


Tropical Dome

Tropical Domes | Milwaukee Wisconsin

The tropical dome was my first (and favorite) stop. I loved walking these paths, not only did it look like a tropical rainforest, it felt like it, too! Hot and humid, just the way these plants like it! In the tropical dome are over 1,200 types of rain forest plants, frogs and toads, finches, insects, and koi fish. I’m disappointed to say I did not see any frogs and toads, but loved seeing the koi fish, and was surprised to see some snails!

Koi Fish | Milwaukee Domes | Wisconsin  Tropical Domes | Milwaukee Wisconsin

This dome was my favorite because I just adored all of the unique, vibrant flowers in here. I just couldn’t get enough! (I mean don’t tell me you don’t love these…)

 Tropical Domes | Milwaukee Wisconsin

tropical domes | Milwaukee Wisconsin tropical Domes | Milwaukee Wisconsin


Desert Dome

The Desert Dome showcased plants from several different deserts across the globe, including the American Southwest, Madagascar, Africa, South America, and Mexico. Though I’ve visited the American Southwest, it was fascinating to see the various cacti and plants from other deserts.

Milwaukee Wisconsin Domes | Desert Dome

My personal favorite (shown below) was the “Old Man Cactus.” It looks really soft, though did not want to risk it being otherwise. There are signs scattered all over this dome saying “Do not touch” which truly is for our safety, since some of the cacti had quite large spikes on them!

Desert Dome | Milwaukee Wisconsin

Desert Dome | Milwaukee Wisconsin Desert Dome | Milwaukee Wisconsin

Desert Dome | Milwaukee Wisconsin Milwaukee Desert Dome


Show Dome

During this visit, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect inside the Show Dome. So much work goes into recreating and redesigning this dome which includes the help of artists, carpenters, horticulturists, arborists, electricians, plumbers, and even welders! They all do a spectacular job at making it look beautiful

During my visit, the Show Dome was a beautiful purple explosion. This space was filled with a variety of purple flowers you’d see in your garden to intriguing abstract sculptures and art pieces.

Show Dome | Milwaukee Wisconsin

Show Dome | Milwaukee Wisconsin
Abstract sculpture made of Styrofoam.



The Domes in Milwaukee Wisconsin are really a perfect addition to your itinerary whether you’re stopping by for the afternoon or in the city for a weekend!



Fun trip visiting the Domes in Milwaukee Wisconsin in the USA.


  1. Wow, so it’s like visiting three distinctly different countries in one place! That might be a slight exaggeration, but you get what I mean. I’m a fan of visiting places like this, even though I have a black thumb. I’m writing this sitting at the kitchen table with two dead orchids in front of me. I guess we can’t all be horticulturalists right?

  2. I had never heard of the domes before reading this. What a cool initiative and a great attraction for tourists of course. That tropical dome takes me back to trips to Asia it looks so gorgeous and green

  3. The beauty and tranquility of these types of gardens and lovely. I feel like I would have to whisper in a place like that so as not to disturb the work of nature as it makes itself into something sacred. Lovely photos!

  4. Amy

    The domes are beautiful! We have similar ones here, ours are pyramids, so I can relate to how it feels to walk around inside them. I love that this one also houses frogs and birds! So relaxing, a world inside a world!

  5. This is awesome! I love the idea of domes that have different climate styles of plants inside of them. I think we have a tropical one in our Botanic Gardens, but I love that there is greater variety here.

  6. This looks like a great place to visit. I have been to the domes in Singapore and we have some in the UK, but I haven’t had chance to visit. I always love to see the different environments and plants that live in them. It looks like a great day out.

  7. I like the domes’ architecture. I was not that interested in this kind of attraction until I saw the ones in Singapore so if I ever visit Wisconsin I will probably will like to have a look. What a pity about the Old Man Cactus, it looks so soft I would like to touch!

  8. A wonderful attraction to have in a city. I just love how the themes change during the year too. Just goes to show that because something might seem a little “less cool” to some, that there are ways of using different techniques to make them cool for everyone. Love these types of destinations to draw people into in a big city.

  9. People tend to underestimate the importance of conservatories as compared to gardens, but each has their own beauty. I would tend to agree with you that the Show Dome is the most attractive of the three. And now I’m imagining what the 5 themes of the year are!

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