Green Bay Botanical Garden is a year-round nonprofit botanical garden situated in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Spanning 47 acres, the garden features wooded trails, native plantings, a children’s garden, and formal gardens. Designed by the landscape artist Dennis Buetter, the garden also includes flora of the local region and plant species chosen for their ability to flourish in the upper Midwest. The garden annually hosts the WPS Garden of Lights festival during the winter months. This popular family event displays 250,000 holiday lights in various colors and designs throughout the grounds.
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The history of the garden began when a group of keen horticulturalists and Green Bay residents decided the city would benefit from a botanical garden space. After visiting and studying many other botanical gardens in the US, the group negotiated a lease of land from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. A large team of local volunteers worked exhaustively to create Green Bay Botanical Garden, which still stands on the original plot of land. The garden was opened to the public in 1996.
Areas and Attractions
One of the key places of interest is the Schneider Education Center. Its main floor features the K.C. Stock Lobby and the 200-seat Cornerstone Foundation Hall, where presentations and talks take place. The center’s lower level contains the classrooms used for the on-site educational programs, as well as meeting areas. The center also features a professional catering kitchen, which caters to the events held here.
The Fischer Visitor Center is a state-of-the-art facility comprising a reception area and front desk, a fireplace, restrooms for visitors, and the WPS Trellis Gift Shop. The shop sells merchandise such as jigsaw puzzles, mugs, photography, jewelry, garden gloves, and many other nature-related products. Maps of the garden for self-guided tours can be picked up from the visitor center desk.
The Les and Dar Stumpf Hobbit House is a multi-functional facility open to the public during three seasons of the year. Complete with roof deck, open-air windows, and a tiered drinking fountain, the building is fitted with energy saving technologies such as Dyson air blade hand-dryers and solar light tubes.
The Schierl Wellhouse & Garden features a view of the Kress Oval Garden to the right, a remnant of the Larsen Orchard on the left, and Wellhouse Garden in the center. The Schierl Wellhouse & Garden itself presents a barberry and boxwood parterre and is edged with display beds showing ornamental, medicinal, and culinary plants.
The Agnes Schneider Terrace is an American perennial garden. It contains a multi-textured walkway with benches on either side and the Mabel Thome Water Fountain at the end. More wooden benches surround the fountain, encouraging visitors to enjoy a rest and take in the surroundings.
The Gertrude B. Nielsen Children’s Garden consists of a tree house, a vine maze, a pond with fish, a giant sundial, and a slide. Further areas for children are the Wetting Zoo, the Children’s Garden Patch, and a compost demonstration area. Sections that encourage learning through the exploration of the surrounding nature are the Frog Bridge, the Dragonfly Bridge, and five other gardens, including the Einstein Garden.
Within the Horticultural Resource Center there are a number of interpretive displays covering many horticultural subjects, including interactive elements and activities for learners. The center contains the Scott & Nancy Ambrust Theater, where children can watch an introductory video tour of the history of the garden. The center is also home to the Garden Library, a horticulture-themed library for both adults and children.
Noted for its selection of roses is the Lux Foundation Upper Rose Garden. Planted in color groupings, the roses range from Austin® English roses to floribundas.
Ongoing Programs and Education
The garden offers both self-guided and guided tours for school groups as part of their School Tours Program. For Scout groups, the garden runs a badge scheme with hands-on activities and tours designed to fulfill the Scout badge reward requirements. An outreach program is in place for K-5th grade classes, whereby educators from the garden hold interactive lessons in local schools and daycare facilities, with topics varying per age group. Additionally, Green Bay Botanical Garden provides a scholarship program for financial assistance to organizations or schools that have a 40% or more involvement in the federal free and reduced lunch program.
2600 Larsen Rd, Green Bay, WI 54303, Phone: 902-490-9457