Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory

Visiting "the Domes" in Milwaukee

••• The Domes. Visit Milwaukee

Where: 524 S. Layton Blvd., Milwaukee

Hours: Weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Weekends and major holidays from 9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Extended hours on Thursdays during the Garden Train Show from January 24 to March 15, 2018 until 9 p.m.)

Cost: Admission fees vary, please visit website for current prices

Contact: (414) 257-5611

Though officially called the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, most Milwaukeeans refer to this interesting botanical attraction as simply "the Domes." A popular place for weddings, events, and a great stop for out-of-towners, the Domes are a fun, peaceful place to spend an afternoon.

Just look for the glass conservatory dome-shaped structures on Layton Boulevard on the city's South Side. Visitors will find three distinct climates in the domes: one features a desert climate, another features a tropical climate, and the third, the Floral Show dome, features rotating seasonal floral displays.

Though the Domes themselves are only a little more than 50 years old, Mitchell Park is actually the oldest park in the Milwaukee County Parks system. Originally, the park was home to the Milwaukee Conservatory, a traditional glass-house style horticultural conservatory that was opened to the public in 1899. The grounds also featured a large water mirror, fountains, extensive parterre gardens, and a sunken garden. In 1955, the old conservatory was razed and constructed in its place were three beehive-shaped glass domes. In 2008, the Domes underwent many repairs and upgraded their lighting system, including the addition of neon halo rings about each of the Domes, making visible from some distance.

Year-round are several fun events hosted at the Domes, including a winter farmers market, Art in the Green (May), the Mystery Chef Dinner (September) and "Ghosts Under Glass (Halloween season).