Boerner Botanical Gardens
Thousands of plants bring the seasons to life at the Botanical Gardens, with colorful and fragrant displays laid out in 12 formal gardens. Explore a rose garden, peony garden and daylily garden; stroll under blossoming crabapples; and enjoy the view while having a light lunch in the cafe or a special holiday brunch in the Garden Room. Boerner Botanical Gardens is located just 15 minutes outside of Milwaukee in the Village of Hales Corners. Visit throughout the year to see the different gardens in bloom.
- Buy a Brick
Botanical Gardens Hours
Opening May 1: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., 7 days a week
Open through early Fall
Education & Visitor Center Hours
Through April 30:
Mon. – Fri.: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Beginning May 1:
9 a.m. – 4 p.m., 7 days a week
Gift Shop: Wed. – Sun.: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Garden House Hours
Collected during the Regular Garden Season
Reservations are NOT required.
Wearing a mask IS REQUIRED when in the Education & Visitor Center or the Comfort Station
|Adult (age 18 & up)
|Adult Group of 20+ (per person)
|Senior* (Milwaukee Co. Resident, age 60+)
|Junior (age 6 – 17)
|Junior Group of 20+ (per person)
|Person with Disability
|Friends of Boerner Member*
Explore the Gardens
With a dozen themed gardens, all blooming at different times of the year, Boerner Botanical Gardens always offers something new to see each time you visit. Gardens include the Rose Garden, Shrub Mall, Annual Garden, Herb Garden, Daylilly Walk, Rock Garden and Peony Garden.
Visitor Center - Limited Access
Stop at the Visitor Center to find unique items in the Gardens Gift Store or to enjoy lunch with a view in Nell's Cafe. Entry to the Visitor Center is free. The Visitor Center also houses a library, classrooms and event spaces available to rent.
Here you'll find over 500 new varities of plants being tested for their suitability for the Great Lakes region. Specially trained judges evaluate the trial plantings, and the results are used to determine which plants are named All America Selections.
Major Annual Events
Planned Return: Winter 2021
Gather the family to experience Winter Wonders, the 1.4-mile touchless, drive-through holiday light show featuring more than one million LED lights! The COVID-safe show is set in the area surrounding the Boerner Botanical Arboretum and Whitnall Park. The event is made possible in part through a Joint Effort Marketing grant from the Department of Tourism.
Planned Return: Fall 2021
Brighten up your autumn evenings with a visit to China Lights on the grounds of the Boerner Botanical Gardens. Enjoy illuminated scenes, live performances, cultural displays, a marketplace and activities for children. Food and beverages are available for purchase at this family-friendly event.
Concerts in the Gardens
Enjoy a free summer concert series, sponsored by Wimmer Communities, held on Thursday evenings in the gardens. Performances are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and visitors can explore the gardens for free after 6 p.m. Food and beverages are available for purchase at the concerts; however, guests may also bring food.
Arbor Day (Last Friday in April)
2021 Celebration Suspended
Each spring we celebrate Arbor Day at Boerner by inviting local school children to plant a new tree in the gardens. The day also marks the offical start of the botanical gardens season, with free admission. Admission is charged beginning the day after Arbor Day.
The Friends of Boerner Botanical Gardens offers groups of 12 or more an opportunity to view “Milwaukee County’s Living Museum” with a one-hour, educational, docent-guided tour at a special group rate of $10.50 per person. Available May through mid-October.
Garden House Art Exhibits
Suspended for 2021
Temporary displays of nature-inspired artwork are on view in the Exhibit Room of the Garden House.
If you or your group would like to be considered for an exhibit at the Garden House or the Botanical Gardens grounds, please complete the Artist Application
Boerner Botanical Gardens hosts educational programs, houses a plant library, displays a trial garden and more.
- Adult Programs
- Children's Programs
- Horticultural Therapy
Individuals and groups can experience the restorative nature of gardens and gardening through programs offered by the Friends of Boerner Botanical Gardens.
Get Your Plant Questions Answered
Not Available On-Site During COVID
Your questions about trees, lawns, shrubs, flowers, fruits, vegetables, pests, and plant diseases can all be answered by the University of Wisconsin Extension horticultural team and Master Gardeners. During COVID, the best way to get answers is to submit your question along with relevant photographs through the email form on the UW-Ext site. You may also call (414) 525-5638.
Friends of Boerner Botanical Gardens
The Friends of Boerner Botanical Gardens (FBBG) is an independent, non-profit group that supports Boerner Botanical Gardens through fundraising, educational programing and special events.
- Free Unlimited Admission to the Gardens
- 10% Discount in the FBBG Gift Shop
- 10% Discount in Nell’s Garden Cafe
- Discounts on FBBG classes and events
- This Season Newsletter
- Membership Appreciation Event
- Reciprocal admissions to over 300 American Horticultural Society Gardens (www.ahsgardening.org)
Become a Member
Indoor Venue Rentals Suspended
Boerner Botanical Gardens offers variety in venue size, function, and decoration. With expansive wide-windowed halls, as well as more intimate gathering spaces, the Gardens has options for every event, wedding, or corporate party. Located just 15 minutes outside of Milwaukee, this location not only offers convenience, but also impresses — and offers 300 free parking spaces!
Garden House Room Rental Permit Application (not currently available due to COVID-19 precautions)
Alcohol Permit Request
Boerner Grand Hall
The Boerner Botanical Gardens Grand Hall features a 21-by-21 dance floor, two 6-by-8 risers, 60-inch round tables for eight guests each, and upholstered-style chairs. Large windows let guests enjoy the view of the Fragrance Garden.
Rentals and catering of Boerner Hall are provided by Zilli Hospitality Group. Contact Zilli’s for current rates at (414) 525-5635. Group admission rates to Boerner Botanical Gardens are also available.
Banquet Style: 300
Theatre Style: 350
Boerner Garden House
The Garden House was constructed in 1935 using native fieldstone. The Exhibit Room features hand-carved animals above the entrance, hand-hewn oak beams, wooden furniture, and a fireplace mantel inscribed with an excerpt from a poem by Alexander Pope. Renters may bring in beverages, home-prepared foods, and light snacks only. Formal catering is available from Zilli Hospitality Group.
During the garden season, April through October, admission fees to the Botanical Gardens are also required with rentals. Ask about group rates for admission.
Rooms at Boerner Botanical Gardens include two main-level classrooms with sinks (each with a capacity of 36), two lower-level lab-style classrooms (each witha capacity of 45), and a multi-media room (with a capacity of 180). These rooms are ideal for presentations, meetings, or art and garden workshops.
Coffee service and audio/video equipment are available for an extra fee. Educational partners, plant societies, and garden clubs qualify for special rates. Rentals and catering are provided by Zilli Hospitality Group. Contact Zilli’s for current rates at (414) 525-5635.
Group admission rates to Boerner Botanical Gardens are also available.
Room 114 – Garden Tree Club Room: 36
Room 115 – Connie Grove Memorial Room: 36
Room B05 – Grandparents Room: 45
Room B24 – Rosarian Room: 45
Room B06A – Multi-Media Room: 96 classroom style or 180 theater style
The Garden Room
The Garden Room at Boerner Botanical Gardens Visitor Center is located off the Atrium and overlooks the Silver-Blue Garden, allowing guests a nice retreat from a business meeting. This space is ideal for meetings, cocktail receptions, intimate sit-down dinners, and more. Ideal for groups of up to 96 people. The Garden Room can also be combined with Boerner Hall as a perfect site to enjoy cocktails and dancing.
Rentals and catering are provided by Zilli Hospitality Group. Contact Zilli’s for current rates at (414) 525-5635. Group admission rates to Boerner Botanical Gardens are also available.
Cocktail Setup: 96
U-shape Setup: 50
Other set-ups available on request
Weddings at Boerner Botanical Gardens
Capacity: Currently limited to 50 people due to COVID-19 Precautions
Boerner Botanical Gardens is ideal for everything from an intimate wedding for 30 guests in the Annual Garden gazebo to a large ceremony for 200 guests in the Shrub Mall. The historic Garden House can also be rented for use as a bridal room, or an alternative ceremony site in case of inclement weather. Outdoor areas are available spring through fall and remain open to the public.
Boerner also offers several indoor spaces for receptions through our catering partner, Zilli Hospitality Group.
Ceremony Site Map
Annual Garden & Gazebo
The Annual Garden includes a central water garden with water lily and lotus, grassy malls with flowered borders, ornamental flowering trees, and dazzling beds of colorful annual flowers. A low, decorative wall made from native glacial-stone outlines the garden, and a traditional gazebo offers quiet repose.
Rock Garden Vista
In early spring the Rock Garden is carpeted with Wisconsin wildflowers and the delicate blooms of Asian and European bulbs. As spring flows into summer, Japanese Primrose and Siberian Iris lead a parade of flowering perennials. Summer gives rise to a host of ferns, fragrant-flowered Japanese Hostas, and bright South American and African tropical flowers.
Capacity: 200 (Limited to 50, under the COVID Clause)
The Rose Garden that today’s visitor sees is very much the same garden seen by guests in the 1930s. Many of the roses originally planted in this garden were provided by Eugene Boerner. The wedding site also offers a vista beyond the Rose Garden.
Capacity: 80 (Limited to 50, under the COVID Clause)
The Shrub Mall has the regal look and feel of an English country estate garden. Its impressive central lawn or “mall” offers an impressive vista to the south.
Capacity: 200 (Limited to 50, under the COVID Clause)
Limited to 50 people in photo session, at this time
Boerner Botanical Gardens provides the perfect backdrop for engagement, wedding, prom, and family photos. Formal photography requires a photography permit.
Wedding Photography Permit
Rate Subject to Sales Tax
Package Rate (includes admission for up to 20 adults): $160 for up to 1 hour
Additional Half-Hour: $80 per additional 30 minutes beyond package
For more information or to reserve a time, call the Botanical Gardens at (414) 525-5600
Complete the Boerner Photo Permit Request
Buy Personalized Bricks!
Whitnall Rotary Circle at Boerner Botanical Gardens
Purchase a personalized paver as a memorial, to honor an individual, family, or organization, or to share a favorite nature quote, poem, or haiku!
The pavers are part of the Rotary Circle, an accessible pathway and terrace that not only provide connections to previously wheelchair-inaccessible garden collections, but also showcase best practices in storm water management.