hile in the Omaha, Nebraska area for a convention in June of 2019, we took a few extra days and explored Omaha. We had already been to Omaha a couple of times, so we wanted to do something different. Thus we ended up enjoying the beautiful flowers at Lauritzen Gardens.
The Airbnb where we were staying wasn't very far so we grabbed some lunch and headed out to see what this place had to share with us and what we could learn. I was hoping to find a nice shady place to sit, eat, and enjoy some peace for a few minutes while we ate. Sadly we learned later that we couldn't do this. Oh well, we still enjoyed our visit.
When we first arrived we couldn't help but notice the huge visitor and educational center building. It is 32,000 square feet, with a 65-foot vaulted glass roof. Inside it includes a 5,000 square foot floral display hall, an education wing containing two classrooms, and one of the region's only horticultural libraries, the great hall, community room, café, and gift shop. It is actually so big you can see it from Interstate 80. It is quite unique and eye-catching for sure.
I learned that a botanical garden is a place where a wide variety of plants are cultivated for scientific, educational, and ornamental purposes. Sometimes these botanical gardens also include a library, herbarium, and greenhouses. I didn't know this before, but I will probably add this information to my Missouri Botanical Gardens post.
I also learned that Lauritzen Gardens is very huge, with about 100 acres. They also have an arboretum which has seven regional plant communities. These include prairie, savannah, oak, hickory forest, maple linden forest, farmstead windbreak, marsh, and flood plain river margin.
There was so much to see and do that we didn't know where to start. One of the nice people in the visitor center suggested taking the little tram ride through all of Lauritzen Gardens to get a better idea of what we might like to spend more time exploring later. We agreed, paid our entrance fee, tram ride fee, then ate our lunch (as I said, we couldn't take it inside) while waiting for the tram to come back around.
Here is some information from their tour if you think you might want to take it yourself. It's a one-hour narrated tour of their 100 acres during the months of May through October. Luckily we were there in June! It is an additional $5 per person, or $3 if you are a garden member.
We got on the tour and it made several stops at certain locations so we could get out, walk around, and take some pictures. It was quite interesting to hear some of the stores and about the history of Lauritzen Gardens. There were so many gardens that I could never remember them all. However, here are a few that might interest you during your visit.
Conservation Discovery Garden
English Perennial Border
Garden in the Glen
Garden of Memories
Marjorie K. Daugherty Conservatory
Model Railroad Garden
Song of the Lark Meadow
Spring Flowering Walk
Tree Peony Garden
Of course since we were there in June we didn't get to see all the ones that were probably so beautiful during the spring. I did love the Rose Garden and the Japanese Gardens. They were both lovely to see. The rose garden is pretty much explanatory, but I will explain a little bit about the Japanese Garden.
To get to the garden, visitors walk on a path, through a kabuki gate which signals “public space,” through the Sunpu castle gate to a red torii gate at the base of the scaled replica of Mt. Fuji. On Mt. Fuji are ten volcanic stones representing the ten stations of Mt. Fuji that climbers in Japan pass on their way to the shrine at the peak. A granite shrine and red torii gate from Shizuoka sit atop the Lauritzen Gardens miniature Mt. Fuji. We didn't get to go inside at that time, but it looked extremely impressive.
We had a very enjoyable time on an impromptu decision to visit Lauritzen Gardens. Everyone seemed very friendly and willing to answer any questions, etc. We only had about 3 hours which wasn't enough time to really go back and see everything we had wanted to see while on the tram ride. We will definitely have to go back on our next visit to the area. Here is a link to their website with more information. Please drop me a message if you have been here and what you enjoyed most about your visit. Would love to hear about your experience. Thanks.
Lauritzen Gardens Visitor Information
- 100 Bancroft Street Omaha, NE 66108 Tel 402-346-4002
- Open Daily 9 am to 5 pm Admission: Adults $10, children 3-12 $5
- Free parking in the Lauritzen Gardens unique parking garden.
- Service animals are welcome, but other animals are prohibited.