Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Des Moines

#4 of 14 in Parks in Des Moines
Garden · Nature / Park
The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden (14 acres / 5.7 hectares) (known as the Des Moines Botanical Center until 2013) is a botanical garden located in Des Moines, Iowa, United States, on the east bank of the Des Moines River.

Interest in a Des Moines botanical center began in 1929. A city greenhouse was acquired on the west side of the river in 1939, which served the city as a production and display greenhouse until the Botanical Center was completed in 1979. From 2004 to December 31, 2012, the facility was operated on behalf of the city by Des Moines Water Works. On January 2, 2013, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden opened for the first time as a nonprofit organization under the leadership of president and CEO Stephanie Jutila and the governance of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden Board of Directors. The institution is undergoing a dynamic renewal funded by a successful capital campaign to raise $12.6 million for the Phase I expansion of the outdoor gardens and improvements to the existing conservatory and building.

The conservatory has over a 1,200 different taxa from around the world in artistic settings designed to explore, explain and celebrate the majesty of the plant world. Future outdoor gardens, designed by the Chicago-based landscape architect Doug Hoerr, will include a new rose garden, entrance garden, nearly 0.5-acre water garden, maple allée, belvedere overlooking the Des Moines River, celebration lawn and walled perennial border, conifer and gravel garden, a hillside garden, and an annual and bulb parterre. These gardens reflect the institution's commitment to developing gardens as forms of public art. The gardens will feature rich annual color designs conceived around artistic concepts inspired from music, history, art and pop culture, utilizing plants as the ingredients for exhibitions.

From the 1986 until the mid 2000s, the Botanical Center was a used as a Do It Yourself venue for the Des Moines Underground, Punk and Hardcore Music scene. Countless national touring acts such as Henry Rollins, Scream, Saint Vitus, Regional and Local bands played shows for all ages in the rental halls there. Often these bands and their fans had no other venue open to them in the area and for that reason the Botanical Center provided a much needed space for the music scene.
According to a contest on the WHO Radio Van & Bonnie morning show on June 21, 2011, the dome is constructed of 665 plexiglass panels.
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Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
358 reviews
  • Went through the gardens today, even though early spring. Lots to see, well laid-out, and nicely choreographed, in terms of plant placement. Friendly, and family friendly, as well. I go to lots of...  more »
  • No matter how many times I have visited this beautiful facility over the last 40 years there is always something new to see. I visited recently to see some green growing plants/flowers and to break.....  more »
  • What an amazing place to spend the day. I drove down just to check this place out and I was not disappointed one bit! I didn’t realize the grounds were so expansive. Beautiful water falls and amazing ponds frame this indoor/outdoor parade of horticulture excellence. I’m writing this review as I sit on the indoor terrace over looking the main dome.
  • This is a great way to spend an afternoon. Beautiful atmosphere and very friendly staff. Their bonsai trees were amazing and the outside portion was so peaceful. And it's pretty cheap!!! Only 10$ per person if I remember right. For my birthday my girlfriend got me a bonsai tree from there and its thriving! They also hold other clubs and educational events. Great place

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