Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Boerner Botanical Gardens- Flowers and More

I've been to Boerner Botanical Gardens many times, but had never fully explored the building.  Of course you expect it to be a place with nice flowers and trees, but there is so much more!

When you enter the building, be sure to go downstairs and check out the historical photo display of the county parks.  You can learn what many Milwaukee forefathers did, in order to be remembered by having parks named after them.  You will also see what Washington Park looked like when it was a zoo.  Maybe you want to see how the parks looked with horses on the parkways?  It's all there and is quite interesting.

Display boards show black and white photos with commentary about the history of our parks
There's also a library with sections for children's books, garden catalogs, and all types of books about plants.  Spend some time with your kids browsing the selection of nature books and sit for a while on a hot day to share some stories.  You'll find plenty of inspiration.  Be sure to take a look at the giant sized scrapbook including hundreds of newspaper articles from the 40s about what took place in Milwaukee parks long ago.  If you find the downstairs restrooms, you will see an extraordinary display above your head that shows what the roots of plants look like.  
Children's section of nature books

Parks scrapbook

Library with books on every imaginable gardening topic

This is spring and the tulips are in full bloom.  Even if you saw last year's display, you'll find this is different.  They are good about creating something new each season.  I loved the orange array of tulips the best.  You can also sit outdoors and enjoy something to eat and drink, including espresso coffee drinks.  The cafe is open from 10-2 daily with indoor seating too.  All of the salads and most of the sandwiches are pre made, but the staff can make a fresh panini or heat up your sandwich selection.  If you sit outdoors, you'll see the brand new sculptures- earth, wind, and fire in the peony garden.
Tulips everywhere in many colors

You can become an individual member for as little as $35 per year which includes unlimited visits to the gardens, as well as discounts on food, classes, and the gift shop.  If you travel much and enjoy visiting botanic gardens, this will allow free or discounted visits to 300 botanical gardens, including the huge Chicago Botanic gardens and our Milwaukee Domes at Mitchell Park.  They make it easy to purchase on-line.  There are so many wonderful events at the Gardens- guided hikes, gardening classes, and concerts.  Take a peek at the calendar of events to see what's on this month, and plan a visit soon.

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