Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Mitchell Domes

On vacation in the middle of winter here in Wisconsin...there isn't much to do, except go to someplace warm like the Mitchell Domes Horticultural Conservatory. Located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, the Mitchell Domes are basically biosphere like greenhouses that literately holds thousands of different species of plants from different regions of the globe in three diverse domes.

Over a thousand plant species are on display in the Tropical Dome. Many of these are economically important fruit bearing trees such as banana, papaya, ackee, avacado, cocoa and guava. Hardwoods include big-leaf, little-leaf, and African mahoganies, ebony and lignum vitae. The center of the Tropical Dome is dominated by a large kapok tree. It is one of the tallest trees under glass growing up to 95 feet. Amazing as it was, when we exited the Tropical Dome was we sweating from the humidity in there.

Expecting to especially hot in the Desert Dome, we found it be surprisingly cool and quite comfortable. A large number of plants, mostly from the Americas and Africa are on display here. Most these are native to the Sororan Desert in Arizona. Among them are species of shrubs, trees, annuals, bulbs as well as familiar cacti. The African section has aloes, crassulas, euphorbias and the unusual Welwitschia plant which has only two continuously growing leaves and may live for over a thousand years. From Madagascar, come the succulent flora of Euphorbia, Pachypdium, Adenia, Didierea, Alluaudic and Operculicatya.

The Show Doom was kind of cool... It hosts four seasonal shows and one holiday exhibit held annually in December for visitors to enjoy. Each show has a theme chosen based on cultural ( German, Japanese and French) literary as well as historical. In most recent years, the Winter Show has featured an extensive killer garden railroad display that will surely please kids and adults like me. It has become one of the most popular displays during the year and is one of the largest indoor Garden Railroad displays in the Midwest.

For $6.50 per adult to get in, I couldn't complain. It was a sure fire way to getaway for a winter afternoon. After that, we had dinner at TGIF's at Miller Park. Talk about a succulent meal...

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