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 Horticultural Conservatory.
Known to the locals as “The Domes,” the Mitchell Park Conservatory has 3 large biodomes: 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 Milwaukee biodomes 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.
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 even surprised to see some snails!
This biodome 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…)
The Desert Dome showcases 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.
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!
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.
Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory is a perfect addition to your itinerary whether you’re stopping by for the afternoon or in the city for a weekend!