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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

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In Travel & Visitors Guide Blogs

The Domes have been a Milwaukee landmark for nearly 50 years now.

Rapid review: The Domes

March Madness is here, and the basketball action heats up in Milwaukee this week as the Bradley Center hosts the Midwest and West regional rounds of the "big dance." With fans flocking from near and far, the editorial staff at thought we'd help greet our new visitors with a week's worth of features and guides to everything that makes our city a great place to visit. It's "Welcome to Milwaukee Week" at!

Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory
524 S. Layton Blvd., (414) 649-9830

Sure, official documents may call it the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, but ask a local where that is and you'll get a blank stare. However, everyone knows -- and loves -- The Domes!

When the 57-year-old Mitchell Park Conservatory greenhouse was demolished in 1955, plans for the three beehive shaped domes (they are not geodesic) were hatched and construction began four years later. The Domes -- as they are affectionately called -- were finished in the early '60s and became an instant hit among Milwaukeeans and visitors.

The show dome features changing exhibits, while the arid dome in the center is full of crazy looking cacti and swooping birds. There's also a glowing moon at the top. What I like to call the "damp dome" or the "banana dome" is warm and wet, transporting visitors to the rainforest.

A couple years ago, great new lighting was installed in the newly renovated domes. You can often spot the domes at night now from afar and on nights when there are concerts inside, there is a lively and fun light show.

When to go: The winter 2010 hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, from 9 until 9 and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Prices: Admission is $6.50. The disabled and students with ID -- as well as kids ages 6-17 -- get in for $5. Kids 5 and under are free. AAA discounts are available. Major credit cards accepted.

Don't miss: Alas, the Music Under Glass concert and light show series ended its season on March 18 (last night ... doh!), so I'd say just about any time is the right time.

Parking: Plenty of free parking in the lot out front. There's also an overflow lot around the back, follow the road around the left side of the Domes.


phoner | March 20, 2010 at 10:47 p.m. (report)

look carefully for the "Cast Iron Plant" in the moist dome. This plant illuminates it's underside!

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hardgeminiguy | March 19, 2010 at 3:08 p.m. (report)

why didn't you state that milwaukee county residents can get in the domes FREE with proper i.d. on monday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon?

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