Wisconsin may be most known for its harsh winters, but the state is also a verdant and lush wonderland in the spring and summer months. Botanic gardens are great places to visit and get lost in the natural beauty of a carefully manicured landscape. And in some cases, indoor greenhouses offer you a glimpse of green even in the dead of winter. There’s a reason Wisconsin’s state seal features a plow and a cornucopia bursting with fruit—Wisconsin has a lush, fertile landscape that is known for its natural beauty. Go forward and honor the state’s green thumb by visiting the best botanical gardens in Wisconsin.
Allen Centennial Gardens
620 Babcock Drive, Madison WI 53706
Part laboratory, part garden, and open year-round. Madison’s Allen Centennial Garden is one of the best gardens in Wisconsin. Started by the Horticulture Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Allen is one of the best free botanical gardens in Wisconsin. The garden is open to the public but also serves as an outdoor classroom for UW-Madison students. At 2.5 acres, there’s plenty of space to find a secluded picnic spot or get lost in the garden’s natural wonder.
Bookworm Gardens is one of the top botanical gardens in Wisconsin for a reason—it’s a kid-friendly botanical experience located in the heart of Sheboygan. It features a storybook theme and plenty of room for your child to find their little corner to read or to get out their energy by exploring the grounds.
W7041 Olmstead Rd, Winter, WI 54896
Why window shop when you can garden shop? Winter Greenhouse is, at its core a garden center and a nursery. But it’s so much more—with acres of beautifully manicured land and thousands of plants to discover (and buy!), you can visit, shop, or both at this greenhouse. With a pond, a nursery, and a peaceful woodland path to walk, you can wile away an afternoon at Winter Greenhouse.
Paine Art Center & Gardens
1410 Algoma Blvd, Oshkosh, WI 54901
Admission: $12 (Adult) – $7 (ages 5-17) – FREE (ages 4 & Under)
Otherwise known as “The Paine”, the Paine Art Center and gardens are a historic estate featuring beautifully manicured gardens and thoughtfully curated art that you won’t see anywhere else. One-third historic mansion, one-third botanical garden, and one third art gallery, the Paine Art Center & Gardens will give you a whole lot to do.
Rotary Botanical Gardens
1455 Palmer Drive, Janesville, WI 53545
Admission: $7 (Adult) – $5 (ages 6-15) – FREE (ages 6 & Under)
The Rotary Botanical Gardens take their mission seriously, and proudly proclaims it at their doors: “Enriching lives through natural beauty, education, and the arts.” At 20-acres there is plenty of natural beauty to go around. With 24 different garden styles ranging from Japanese, French, and Scottish and with over 4,000 varieties of plants, Rotary Botanical Gardens is, at its core, an educational experience that teaches and captivates all at once.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704
Admission: Outdoor is FREE, Indoor is $2 or FREE for 5 & Under
At 16 acres, Olbrich Botanical Gardens aims to show its visitors the world through the lens of horticulture. The outdoor gardens are free and open all year, filled with numerous species of plants including hardy Midwest varieties that will stay green even through the harshest winter. When the temperature plunges, the conservatory stays warm all-year long and hosts exotic plants, fragrant flowers, birds, and even a waterfall!
Boerner Botanical Gardens
9400 Boerner Drive, Hales Corners, WI 53130
Admission: $6.50 (MI Residents) – $7.50 (Non-MI Residents)
They call themselves a “living museum” and the moniker fits. Boerner Botanical Gardens is celebrating its 80th year in existence and isn’t about to slow down. Featuring an arboretum, rock garden, and even a “trial garden” where their team of horticulturalists test out innovative growing techniques, there’s plenty to learn at Boerner. With so much to explore, you’ll be able to visit throughout the year and find something new each time.
Green Bay Botanical Garden
2600 Larsen Road, Green Bay, WI 54303
Admission: $10 (18+) – $5 (ages 3-17) – FREE (ages 2 & under)
Half outdoor concert venue, half botanical garden, Green Bay Botanical Garden has something for you, be it day or night. Once an abandoned orchard full of abandoned machinery, the gardens are now known as a “restful gathering place”, and that description is spot-on. Enjoy a self-guided tour of the grounds, where you’ll see butterflies and flowers galore. Or drop by in the evening to listen to music on the lush, green lawn. Whatever your desires are, there’s plenty to do at Green Bay Botanical Garden with friends, family, or all by yourself.
Monk Botanical Gardens
1800 N 1st Avenue, Wausau, WI 54401
Find inner peace and tranquility at Monk Botanical Gardens. In just a decade, this garden went from an idea to an exquisitely executed botanical project that everyone can enjoy. With an emphasis on peace and introspection, the gardens feature a memory garden and memorial plaza that can be explored on foot. If you’re in the mood for a climb, then check out the treehouse that towers above your head! And wind down your visit in the meditation garden, where you can find your sense of self or enjoy a quiet lunch among the greenery.
Visiting botanical gardens can inspire your landscape changes. Earth Development services from lawn maintenance to landscape renovation can help you figure out how to make the most of your yard’s layout and achieve the look you’re going for.