Botanical Garden

Want to find your true nature at an urban oasis located in downtown Des Moines? The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is a natural choice. Located amidst a vibrant cityscape and lovely river views, the 12-acre oasis is teeming with thousands of native plants and exotic greenery from across the world. Its verdant offerings include a soothing waterfall and pond, one of the country’s most extensive bonsai collections, and brilliant seasonal blooms galore. The breathtaking gardens are open to the public currently Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (except for major holidays), with NEW summer Happy Hours starting June 1. Visit in the warm weather Tuesday 10 a.m – 7 p.m.; Wednesday – Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; and on the weekend 9 a.m.– 4 p.m. No matter the season, the Botanical Garden provides a range of fun, signature events and classes in an always friendly climate.

About the Botanical Garden

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is more than a dome, it’s the connection point between plants, people and the natural world. ​It’s a place where you can be who you aredo the things you love and spend time with the people who matter most. A place where anyone can explore, create, connect, and find their true nature. 

In operation since 1979, the Botanical Garden borders the banks of the Des Moines River. The facility is an exceptionally lush greenspace place where you’ll want to linger. Its iconic, 80 feet tall geodesic-domed conservatory has been modernized and includes a living wall that changes throughout the year. Inside the dome, you can immerse yourself in a balmy paradise featuring over 1,000 tropical specimens.

The 18 outdoor gardens are interspersed with sculptures, a serene half-acre water garden, regal rows of shade trees, walking paths, a stunning orchid collection, a vibrant, fragrant rose garden, a unique Asian-style garden and much more. 

After exploring the flora and fauna, enjoy a delicious lunch at the Botanical Garden’s Trellis Cafe. Open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m.– 2 p.m., they serve a rotating menu of locally sourced, plant-based soups, pastas, salads, sandwiches, desserts, plus craft beer and cocktails. Floor to ceiling windows give you a view overlooking the water garden and beyond, and when the weather warms up, they have, according to DSM Magazine, one of the best patios in town. You’ll also find snacks and fun gifts in The Garden Shop.

Events at the Botanical Garden 

In addition to seasonal events, like its popular holiday-themed Dome for the Holidays and recurring Friday night event, Dome After Dark, the Botanical Garden hosts a variety of signature events that take place throughout the year that will make you want to come back again and again. 

Starting in January, check out Botanical Blues, a Sunday concert series featuring live music inside the conservatory. Welcome the spring season with the Spring Garden Market, a celebratory four-day pop-up plant and botanic art sale. Music in the Garden is the outdoor concert series making summertime even more delightful! Have fun with your family at Trick or Trees in October, grab some bulbs at the Fall Bulb Sale and finally, don’t miss out on the decadent Champagne & Chocolate holiday fundraiser that’s become a must-see, must-attend event in the metro.

The Botanical Garden also features an impressive array of rotating monthly programs, ensuring there’s something for everyone. These include physical activities like Yoga in the Garden, educational opportunities like the Science of Tea, and crafty classes like Valentine Candle Making. There are also many other fun classes offered throughout the year. 

Know Before You Go

As with any visit to a place you’ll be strolling about, it’s best to wear comfy clothes and shoes. There are free coat racks to hang outerwear. If anyone needs a wheelchair, stroller, or sensory backpack (to help parents in situations that may be overwhelming for their child), each one of these is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Visitors will appreciate the ample free parking at the Botanical Garden. General Admission is $12 for adults, $11 for Seniors 65+, $11 for Active Military, $9 for kids ages 2 to 12, and free for children one year of age and younger. Complimentary Daily Admission is for members and EBT card holders through its Museums for All program. Members of participating AHS Reciprocal Admission Program Institutes receive two free General Admissions per visit during regular hours.

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