Boerner Botanical Gardens
Thousands of plants bring the seasons to life at Boerner, 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. The Boerner Botanical Gardens are located just 15 minutes outside of Milwaukee in the village of Hales Corners. Visit throughout the year to see the different gardens in bloom.
|Adult: (age 18 & up)
|Senior*: (Milwaukee Co. Resident, age 60+)
|Junior: (age 6 – 17)
|Person with disability:
|Friends of Boerner Member*:
Free First Tuesdays at The Gardens
On the first Tuesday of the month from May to September, Milwaukee County residents receive free entry (with proof of residency). See all Milwaukee County free days.
The Friends of Boerner Botanical Gardens offers docent-guided tours to groups of 12 or more for $10.50 per person.
Botanical Gardens Hours
Arbor Day – September*
Open Daily, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Open Daily, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
*Open 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. during the run of China Lights
May – October, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily
Other times of year, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday – Friday only
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.
Stop at the Visitor Center to find unique products 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
China Lights, September - October
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, June - August
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)
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
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
Master Gardeners from the University of Wisconsin Extension Horticultural team can answer your plant and gardening questions. The Master Gardeners are available from May to September, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Bring in samples or photos for plant or pest identification, or get answers to your questions about trees, lawn, shrubs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. (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
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
Alcohol Permit Application
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 (seats 36), two lower-level lab-style classrooms (seats 45), and a multi-media room (seats 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 setup 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 Gardens, 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
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 Primroses and Siberian Irises lead off 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.
The Rose Garden that today’s visitor sees at Boerner 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 Shrub Mall has the regal look and feel of an English country estate garden. Its impressive central lawn or “mall” stretches from end to end.
Boerner Botanical Gardens provides the perfect backdrop for engagement, wedding, prom, and family photos. Formal photography requires a photography permit.
Wedding Photography Permit
Package Rate: $158.40 for up to 1 hour with admission for up to 20 adults included
Additional Half-Hour: $84.48 per additional 30 minutes beyond package
Formal Photography Permit
Package Rate: $36.96 per hour (does not include admission)
For more information or to reserve a time, call the Botanical Gardens at (414) 525-5600
Download the Boerner Photo Permit Application