Mitchell Park Garden Domes in Milwaukee, Wi

Mitchell Park Garden Domes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Mitchell Park Garden Domes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Mitchell Park Garden Domes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin | Source

Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Mitchell Park Domes
Mitchell Park Domes | Source
Another outside view of one of the domes and landscaping outside of the domes.
Another outside view of one of the domes and landscaping outside of the domes. | Source

Milwaukee,Wisconsin


Milwaukee is known for their wonderful parks and gardens among other things. One star attraction in their collection is definitely the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory. Residents lovingly refer to this park as "The Domes."

Almost everywhere one travels in Milwaukee, the esplanades are artfully landscaped in addition to what they achieve in the parks.

In the summertime bright blooming flowers are sure to catch one's eye and brighten even the darkest of days. Who doesn't appreciate a montage of mixed and colorful beauties along-side the road?

As a matter of fact, the Milwaukee County Parks received a Gold Medal Award by the National Recreation and Park Association for their management program...thus it is not just my observation that Milwaukee excels in their horticultural endeavors. They have been singled out and recognized for their successful efforts in helping to make that Mid-West city that sits on the banks of Lake Michigan most attractive.


Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee

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Some background information


The original conservatory in that location was built in 1898 but the on site greenhouse needed so much repair that it was decided to demolish it in 1955 and rather build something new.

A local architect Donald Grieb was consulted and he successfully bid upon and was hired for the new project. What he designed were three beehive shaped domes to replace the old greenhouse.

The total cost was 4 1/2 million dollars and it was completed in 1967.

Each dome is 140 feet in diameter at the base and is 85 feet in height providing 15,000 square feet of space in which to house the plants, birds, water elements and the like.


Located on the South side of Milwaukee at 524 South Layton Blvd, the entire park now consists of sixty acres.


Arid Dome / Mitchell Park Domes / Milwaukee, Wisconsin

My husband and mother-in-law in the Arid Dome...many years ago when we visited Mitchell Park.
My husband and mother-in-law in the Arid Dome...many years ago when we visited Mitchell Park. | Source
Another view inside the Arid Dome
Another view inside the Arid Dome | Source

Needless-to-say with sixty acres, the exterior grounds are also nicely landscaped although the sunken garden feature that we enjoyed many years ago was removed in the 1980's due to budget cuts.


Most people that go to this park are intrigued and drawn towards visiting the domes. Certainly tourists would want to see what is inside and since Wisconsin is in the "snow belt" and for many months of the year the grounds are covered with an accumulation of the icy white crystals, the warm interiors of the domes become even more inviting.

The normal hours of operation are from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday to Friday; and 9 AM to 4 PM, Saturdays and Sundays. The hours are extended beginning October 1st and help to accommodate more visitors throughout the holiday season.

Ticket prices are low and range from $5 to $6.50 and admission is free to Milwaukee County residents on Monday mornings.


The Domes are also opened from 6:30 to 8:30 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a variety of live musical entertainment from October to November and January to March. The same ticket prices apply.

This I have never seen...the various musical groups performing nor the light shows that are shown during the breaks and at the end of each performance. I do not believe that these extras were in effect when we lived in Wisconsin and visited the Milwaukee area.

What a beautiful sight that must be with the outside grounds blanketed in white and the glass domes lit up in intermittent jewel toned colors pulsing to the music.

40 Seconds In...this Videotaped Light Show Really Takes Off...

Mitchell Park Domes interior photos

Inside the Arid Dome
Inside the Arid Dome | Source
Seasonally decorated Dome the year we were there.
Seasonally decorated Dome the year we were there. | Source
Another view of the seasonally decorated Dome in the summer.
Another view of the seasonally decorated Dome in the summer. | Source

Each Dome portrays an array of different plants


The Arid Dome, as shown in the picture above with my husband and mother-in-law is filled with cactus, trees and plants that exist in desert type regions of the Americas and Africa.

Pathways lead one through this interesting collection of water conserving plants.

The Domes are interconnected through a central passageway.


The Tropical Dome is filled to the brim with palm trees, banana plants, orchids, bromeliads, water elements including a waterfall, free flying birds and other plant-life that thrives in a more humid environment.

Just as in the Arid Dome, one can meander through this Tropical Dome at one's own pace even sitting on benches if desired absorbing the atmosphere. Once inside, one can linger as long as one would desire while the domes are open to the public.


The Floral Show Dome is changed out a total of five times during the year and showcases seasonal flowers and things appropriate to the time of year.

Apparently one of the favorite and returning shows is during the Christmas season when a huge model train display is operational in addition to the other holiday decorations and flowers that one might expect to see.

We were told that in the Spring one might expect to see masses of tulips and other bulb plants. Chrysanthemums could be expected to be viewed in the Fall. But in addition to typical varieties of plants, this seasonally decorated Dome also portrays a specific theme. It might be another country...anything to keep it fresh and appealing to returning visitors.

Mitchell Park "Dome" miniature railroad garden (Would be one of their seasonal displays.)

A two minute tour of the Mitchell Park Domes

Mitchell Park Domes Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Beautifully landscaped beds outside the Domes.
Beautifully landscaped beds outside the Domes. | Source

Mitchell Park Conservatory - Tropical Dome

Postcard photos of the MItchell Park Domes...

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Written on back...

Displayed in these domes are varieties of living trees, shrubs, cacti, and flowering plants from all continents. Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory Milwaukee, Wisconsin

A MAJOR UNIT OF THE MILWAUKEE COUNTY PARK SYSTEM

Postcard photos of Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee

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Same information on the back of both oversized postcards above...

The unique, space-age "Domes" of the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, in Milwaukee, duplicate climates and plant communities from around the world. In addition to the Tropical and Arid Domes, the "Show Dome" presents exciting displays of horticultural beauty.

The Conservatory is located at South Layton Boulevard (South 27th St.) and W. Pierce Street. It is open to the public from 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. daily and weekends, except on Monday when closing is at 5:00 P.M.

A MAJOR UNIT OF THE MILWAUKEE COUNTY PARK SYSTEM

Published by CREATIVE COMMUNICATIONS * Milwaukee 53213

Would you like visiting Mitchell Park Domes if you were in Milwaukee?

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These domes are truly a thing of beauty and some brides and grooms have even begun their married lives by having their nuptials performed inside the domes. Special events like this can be arranged if desired.

If you are a person who likes visiting gardens when touring a new area, be sure and check out the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory ( also known as "The Domes") in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And if you have time, visit some of Milwaukee's other parks. I believe you will be duly impressed!



These photos below came from slides converted to a DVD of the Mitchell Park Garden Domes when we made a visit there in the Fall of 1973. My grandmother was our tour guide for my husband and myself. Enjoy the additional scenery!

Milwaukee Domes in Mitchell Park

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The DomesMy grandmother and husband outside the Milwaukee DomesMy grandmother and me walking around the Sunken Gardens in Mitchell Park (1973).Landscaping in Mitchell ParkLandscaping in Mitchell Park in the Fall of the year.My grandmother and me at the Domes (1973)Inside the entrance to the 3 different domes.Tropical domeInside the tropical dome - my grandmother and me.Tropical dome - plants were well marked as to varieties.Arid domeArid domeArid domeMy grandmother inside of the Arid Dome.Seasonal Dome decorated for Fall.
The Domes
The Domes | Source
My grandmother and husband outside the Milwaukee Domes
My grandmother and husband outside the Milwaukee Domes | Source
My grandmother and me walking around the Sunken Gardens in Mitchell Park (1973).
My grandmother and me walking around the Sunken Gardens in Mitchell Park (1973). | Source
Landscaping in Mitchell Park
Landscaping in Mitchell Park | Source
Landscaping in Mitchell Park in the Fall of the year.
Landscaping in Mitchell Park in the Fall of the year. | Source
My grandmother and me at the Domes (1973)
My grandmother and me at the Domes (1973) | Source
Inside the entrance to the 3 different domes.
Inside the entrance to the 3 different domes. | Source
Tropical dome
Tropical dome | Source
Inside the tropical dome - my grandmother and me.
Inside the tropical dome - my grandmother and me. | Source
Tropical dome - plants were well marked as to varieties.
Tropical dome - plants were well marked as to varieties. | Source
Arid dome
Arid dome | Source
Arid dome
Arid dome | Source
Arid dome
Arid dome | Source
My grandmother inside of the Arid Dome.
My grandmother inside of the Arid Dome. | Source
Seasonal Dome decorated for Fall.
Seasonal Dome decorated for Fall. | Source

Mitchell Park Conservatory - Arid Dome

Location of "The Domes" in Milwaukee

A markerMitchell Park Domes, Milwaukee, Wisconsin -
Mitchell Park, Milwaukee, WI, USA
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5 out of 5 stars from 2 ratings of Mitchell Park Garden Domes

© 2009 Peggy Woods

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Comments 36 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi alocsin,

I'm sure that when the Domes were first constructed in Milwaukee, many people probably thought that they were very futuristic in appearance. Mitchell Park is truly worth visiting in a city that spends quite a bit on parks for public use. It must be especially nice for residents in the winter when everything outside is covered with snow and ice! Thanks for your comment and votes.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

This looks so futuristic and since cacti are some of my favorite plants, I'm happy that one of them is devoted to arid foliage. Voting this Up and Interesting.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hello Lisa,

Glad that I could tell you a bit about the Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee and show you these pictures. Thanks for your comment.


Rusticliving profile image

Rusticliving 4 years ago from California

I love this hub Peggy! I have never heard of the Mitchell Park Domes until now. They are magnificent. I wish they weren't so far away from me. I would love to visit them some day. Thank you for sharing this with us. It's so informative and the pictures and videos are amazing! Kudos! Voted Up!Lisa


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Mike,

Many parks have wheelchairs available for use for their older or incapacitated visitors. To be sure, why don't you contact the Mitchell Park Domes at 414-257-5611 or email them at http://county.milwaukee.gov/ContactUs01121635.htm

Hope that you and your mother get to share the experience of visiting there someday soon. Thanks for your inquiry and comment.


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