When in Milwaukee, Visit the Mitchell Park Domes

On our visit to Chicago, we flew into Milwaukee and had a bit of time to kill before driving to our cousin’s house outside of Chicago. Our first stop was Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park Domes.

These domes came highly recommended and, surprisingly for me, did not disappoint.

Unfortunately, the Mitchell Park Domes are at risk of demolition. It has been going back and forth since at least early 2019. If you are at all interested in visiting the Mitchell Park Domes, which I assume that is why you are here, then plan that visit quickly to make sure you don’t miss your chance.

What are the Mitchell Park Domes

The three domes at Mitchell Park make up a pretty unique conservatory. There is a tropical dome, a desert dome and a show dome. We will discuss those more below.

Once you pay an entrance fee, listed below, you can wonder freely between and among the domes, spending as much time as you like (note, this isn’t the case during Covid restrictions) examining the plants, enjoying the peaceful surroundings or taking lots of great photographs. If you are into macro photography at all, this place will be heaven!

Where are the Mitchell Park Domes

The Mitchell Park Domes are located at 524 S. Layton Blvd. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The domes are located at the west end of Mitchell Park. Mitchell Park is just south of the Menomonee River and I-94. Access to the domes is off S. Layton Blvd. (N 27th).

What to Know before Visiting the Mitchell Park Domes

The Mitchell Park Domes are open Wednesday through Sunday, from 9:00-5:00, but closing one hour early on weekends.

The Cost of Admission to the Mitchell Park Domes is $8 for an adult, $6 for kids under $18 and free for children under 6. Local residents get a $1 discounts and local seniors get $3 off.

There is plenty of free parking nearby.

If you have any questions, you can reach the Mitchell Park Domes at  (414) 257-5600.

The 3 Domes at Mitchell Park

The Tropical Dome at Mitchell Park

You know right away you are in a tropical atmosphere in this dome due to the humidity as soon as you walk in. It was a bit chilly when we visited so the humidity was actually a welcome treat.

Our girls loved a little fairy garden near the entrance.

The Tropical Dome is home to over 1,200 species of tropical plants and even a few tropical birds you can have fun finding among the plants.

When you are in the Tropical Dome, don’t forget to look up. The tall trees climbing to the top of the dome provide a completely different view.

The Desert Dome at Mitchell Park

Coming from the desserts of Las Vegas, I wasn’t too excited about the Desert Dome. However, I was pleasantly surprised the Desert Dome had a lot more diversity than the usual desert landscape I am used to seeing.

The Desert Dome features plants from the American Southwest, but also from Africa, South America and Mexico, which were much more interesting to me. Just look at this crazy cactus below with its branch twisting around forever!

You get to walk through collections from several regions and even see some exotic plants from Madagascar. This definitely made it one of the coolest desert conservatories I have ever seen.

The Show Dome at Mitchell Park

The third dome at Mitchell Park is the Show Dome. This is the only dome that changes. The featured display in the Show Dome changes five times every year, which is nice to add some variety each time your visit.

When we visited the Mitchell Park Domes, the theme was Japanese gardens.

If I am honest, the Show Dome was pretty underwhelming for us. There were a lot of high school kids taking prom photos so the atmosphere wasn’t as good and it also just felt lackluster after touring the Tropical and Desert Domes.

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