Winter can be pretty tough sometimes--cold, dark, and quiet. On a recent trip to Milwaukee, we found a location that can bring back a little bit of "spring" to you and make the long days of winter a little more tolerable. The Mitchell Park Conservatory, lovingly called "The Domes," provides an oasis where tropical birds fly, flowers bloom, and you can walk through nature without your jacket on in the middle of winter.
When we first drove up to The Domes, my daughter let out a shriek of excitement. She was amazed by the three domes and quickly noted that there were brightly colored lights atop each. She could not wait to go exploring!
We entered The Domes and found everything to be easy to navigate and the staff to be friendly and helpful--big pluses when traveling with children! Upon entering there is even a place to hang up jackets--something you may want to do before exploring the Tropical Dome!
After picking up some scavenger hunts (one for each dome!), we headed for the Tropical Dome. When we entered the Dome, we were immediately greeted with warm weather, lush and colorful vegetation, and birds singing. A nice change of pace for a winter day! We were amazed by the number of plants in the Dome--they seemed to be in every nook and cranny. There were even some in small pots hanging from the trees! Signs throughout the forest identified plants and trees. Also, there were some with more detail about specific plants. Additionally, there was a box that my daughter could wind up in order to listen to a description of the Dome. We spent quite some time in the Tropical Dome because there was so much to see and learn about!
Next, we headed to the Desert Dome. The Desert Dome truly transported you from the Midwest to a desert. As we ambled through the desert, we were delighted by the many shapes and sizes that desert plants come in. This Dome was a little calmer for us, so my daughter had more time to read more of the signs and learn more about the plants. She eagerly went from sign to sign and completed her scavenger hunt. I enjoyed the collections of small desert plants. Very adorable yet intricate! Some of the cacti and succulents were decorated for the holidays, thereby adding a festive element.
The last dome was the Floral Show Dome. The Floral Show Dome is a floral creation set to a certain theme. During our visit, the Dome was full of poinsettias with snowmen playing throughout the display embodying the "Let it Snow!" theme. I personally loved the Floral Show Dome because it was so vibrant and fanciful. It was also pleasant to find such a bright spot during a dark, winter day.
Besides the exhibits, The Domes have many events throughout the year. One of their popular events happens to be their New Year's Eve Event which will be held from 6:00PM-9:00PM on December 31. There will be family entertainment including a balloon artist, a magician, music, kids' crafts, and more. There will also be food for purchase. Admission to the event is $10 per adult, $5 for kids 4-17, and free for kids 3 and under. You can purchase advance tickets here. Also, The Domes will be having a train show January 19, 2013 - March 10, 2013. I know that a lot of the kiddos would love the train show! There are many more special events under The Domes that you can check here.
Admission to The Domes is $6.50 per adult, $5 per child (6-17), $5 for those with disabilities, and $5 for Milwaukee County seniors 60+ with proof of residency. Hours from now through March 14, 2013 are Mon through Wed. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Thurs: 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m. (Hours extended for Music Under Glass), Fri: 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m.–4 p.m. For an updated schedule, check the website.
Admission rates may vary for special events. There is a AAA discount. The Domes are at 524 S Layton Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53215.
**Disclosure: I did receive complementary admission to the Domes in order to accommodate this review. I did not receive compensation for this review. All opinions are 100% my own.