Looking for a unique excursion for everyone in Milwaukee? Consider heading over the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, better known as the Milwaukee Domes, for a day of exploration.
Discover thousands of plant species from around the world while walking through the three diverse domes. Enjoy seasonal shows or events throughout the year. We promise it will be a great day trip enjoyed by all!
About the Mitchell Park Domes
The Milwaukee Domes are located in Mitchell Park, one of many famed parks throughout the city. There are technically three separate domes connected by a large lobby area. The entire indoor complex and areas for exploring, totals to about 45,000 square feet!
And don’t worry – there are plenty of walking paths and bridges between the domes for an enjoyable stroll and perfect picture-taking opportunities!
Each dome has a separate indoor climate and specializes in different types of plant life. There is the Show Dome, which changes decor four times per year along with the seasons. It often takes on different cultural or specialized themes, such as Japanese gardens or literary-inspired motifs. Around December, the Show Dome switches to a holiday theme, along with one of the largest model trains displays in the country that spans across the decorated floral gardens.
The Tropical Dome features a warm and humid climate and showcases approximately 1,000 different types of plant species, including many fruit-producing trees like guava, bananas, and papaya. The dome is also home to many colorful birds. The third dome is the Arid Dome, with a hot and dry climate home to plants native to the Sonoran Desert and various parts of Africa, especially Madagascar.
Visiting Mitchell Park Domes
Visiting the domes is definitely a worthwhile and unique experience when in Milwaukee. Actually, there are few horticultural conservatories quite like the Milwaukee Domes in the United States, so if you have the chance to visit, we highly recommend doing so! Plus, The entrance fees to the Domes are pretty inexpensive, making them a budget-friendly way to spend part of a day in Milwaukee.
Although the domes are technically located on the south side, they are easily accessible over the 35th Street Bridge that cuts from the west side of downtown, near the Marquette University campus, and stretches across the formerly industrial Menomonee Valley. From most downtown locations, getting to the Domes should only take about ten to fifteen minutes, depending on the time of day.
Once finished at the domes, stick around this part of the city and check out the nearby restaurants and microbreweries. City Lights Brewing is one of Milwaukee’s newer breweries and totally worth a stop for a beer or two.
The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, or what’s known best by locals as the Milwaukee Domes, technically dates back to the early 1900s when the Mitchell Park was originally established. When it was originally established, a conservatory was placed on the site and eventually the Domes today replaced the original conservatory.
The project to build the Domes began in 1959 and was completed in 1967, with several renovations since, including major upgrades in 2008, and repair work completed in 2016. Ever since its completion, the Milwaukee Domes stand as one of several Milwaukee architectural icons, alongside the Milwaukee Art Museum, several famous historic buildings, and the Hoan Bridge.
The Domes can be seen from numerous parts of the city. From downtown at night, the Domes can be spotted, as they are lit up with LED light displays and can be seen in the distance. Currently, the city is working on a plan to restore the domes once again to improve them even further and aiming to create the domes into a multi-faceted facility.
The Domes host numerous types of events throughout the year. These range from public concerts to private educational tours. Many of the educational tours are for school children, but adults can also put together a group and reserve one for themselves.
The minimum number of adults is twenty and the cost is $9 per person, but it is well worth it. The tours last about ninety minutes and are great for plant and gardening enthusiasts, in addition to getting to learn about some of the inner workings of the Domes. The Domes can also be reserved for private events, in addition to weddings. Both have a capacity of about fifty people.
In recent years, another great highlight of the Domes has been the Winter Farmers Market. Taking place every Saturday between November and April, the indoor farmers market is held in the Greenhouse Annex and attracts about fifty vendors. Visitors can purchase everything from fresh produce from regional farms, crafts and lots of excellent food options like empanadas, salsas, and waffles. For tourists, this can be the perfect excuse to grab an inexpensive lunch before touring the Domes.
Pricing varies for Milwaukee and Non-Milwaukee Residents.
- Milwaukee Resident Admission (with I.D.):
- Adults (18+): $7
- Juniors (6-17): $5
- Children: Free
- Senior (60+): $5
- Persons with Disability: $5
- Students with ID: $5
- Non-Milwaukee Resident Admission:
- Adults (18+): $8
- Juniors (6-17): $6
- Children: Free
- Senior (60+): $8
- Persons with Disability: $6
- Students with ID: $6
- Address: 524 S. Layton Blvd.
- Hours: Open 365 days per year
- Closed Monday & Tuesday
- Wednesday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Saturday and Sunday, Holidays, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Official Website