From late spring to early fall, these gardens and flower farms are the perfect place to explore nature with your kids. Not to mention there are some pretty stunning photo opportunities among the blooms (just ask professional photographers)! Whether it’s an urban flower garden or a family farm, you and the kiddos will love being witness to the new life and growth found in these spaces.
Always be sure to check the farms’ websites and Facebook pages for the current growing season, open hours and admission prices (if applicable).
Alice’s Garden Urban Farm
2136 N. 21st St, Milwaukee, WI 53205
Alice’s Garden is a two-acre urban garden that is committed to wellness and community. You can check their website for upcoming events such as yoga classes and movie nights, or you can drop by with your children and take a walk in the labyrinth. This space is peaceful, relaxing, and really special. They also offer free movies for kids and families in the summer – check their Facebook page (or our Calendar) for dates and times!
Alice’s Garden was named in honor after Alice Meade-Taylor, a former Executive Director of Milwaukee County Extension. Alice’s vision for building neighborhoods and nurturing people included gardening programs for children, youth and their families.
Boerner Botanical Gardens
Whitnall Park, 9400 Boerner Dr., Hales Corners, WI 53130
Boerner opens for the season on May 1, and its formal gardens feature a rose garden and a peony garden, as well as variety of annuals and perennials. Plus, there’s a fragrant herb garden, a daylily path, and a serene rock garden with trickling streams and waterfalls.
Rest in the shade or have a snack inside the elegant gazebo, and don’t miss the regal shrub mall, historic garden house, and expansive arboretum. Kids will also love the stroller-friendly bog garden walk in the northeast corner of the property.
Ways to save: If you’re a resident of Milwaukee County, you’ll save $1 per ticket. The Gardens typically offer free admission to Milwaukee County residents with proof of residency on the first Tuesday of each month, May through September. Check their website for the most updated information.
Buds n’ Sprouts Kids Garden (Free!)
Havenwoods State Forest, 6141 N Hopkins St, Milwaukee, WI 53209
Havenwoods State Forest is home to a huge garden space where kids can discover nature. In the Buds n’ Sprouts Kids Garden, they can jump from plant to plant, collect bugs, watch worms, and sniff the colorful flowers.
Nearby, the Heritage Gardens feature traditional food crops from five major cultural groups in America – African American, Asian American, European American, Hispanic American, and Native American.
In the Naturalist’s Backyard, you’ll find a model landscape with native plants, nurtured by compost bins. There is also a rain garden that uses rainwater runoff from the roof to feed blooming flowers all summer long.
The Collaborative Farm
5500 W. Silver Spring Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53218
This historical urban farm also serves as a music venue, outdoor classroom, animal habitat, farmer’s market, community gathering space and more. It’s actually the last remaining piece of property in Milwaukee that is still zoned as a farm. Here, more than a dozen private farmers grow food for the local community, and visitors can learn about a healthier way of living. The historical greenhouses were built in 1926, and you can see chickens, ducks, goats, and fish on site.
Grohmann Museum Rooftop Garden
1000 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Located on the Grohmann Museum on the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) campus, this rooftop garden features a dozen large, bronze statues of men at work – toiling in the field and foundry, heaving hammers or pinching molten metal with hot tongs. Each sculpture is about 9 feet tall and weighs a thousand pounds. From their perch along the roofline, they have a commanding view of the city that was built on the hard work they depict.
The Grohmann Museum is home to the world’s most comprehensive art collection dedicated to the evolution of human work. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 12.
2708 Sherman Rd., Jackson, WI 53037
Lammscape’s beautifully landscaped grounds are open to the public for events and workshops throughout the season (Some of them are free!). Check out their kid-friendly events on their website. In the past they’ve hosted train-themed events, pumpkin painting parties, and more.
Lapham Peak Butterfly Garden
W329N846 County Hwy C, Delafield, WI 53018
Located in Kettle Moraine State Forest, the Lapham Peak Unit is near the top of our list for best natural places to visit. When you get done hiking Plantation Path, a one-mile, blacktopped, handicapped accessible trail through a prairie and wooded area, find the Butterfly Garden just east of this path. (Check the map before you go!) There are many flowers there, plus a memorial brick pathway. Vehicle admission sticker required.
Lynden Sculpture Garden
2145 W. Brown Deer Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53217
Admission is free at this garden that has wide open spaces for running around, magical trees the kids can hide inside of, frogs and turtles all over the place, and colorful sculptures. Don’t miss the bright polka dotted cows by the pond. Please remind your kids not to climb on the sculptures. Note: There are no paths. Bring suitable footwear. Donations encouraged.
Mitchell Park Domes
524 S. Layton Blvd., Milwaukee, WI 53215
The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory is a living plant museum with a permanent collection of over 1,800 plant species that represent plant life from across the globe. The conservatory, also known as the Domes, is located in Mitchell Park in Milwaukee. There are three different domes – the floral dome, the desert dome and the tropical dome – and each is a miniature version of the horticultural environment that it represents. Milwaukee County residents save $1 per admission.
1415 Campus Dr., Sheboygan, WI 53081
Trust us when we say this one is worth the drive!
Bookworm Gardens is an absolute must-visit, whimsical children’s garden based completely on children’s literature. The two-acre garden offers the young and young-at-heart the opportunity for free, unstructured play in a beautiful and secure environment. Entrance to the garden is free.
Special elements of the garden include outdoor classrooms, a small amphitheater, a greenhouse and an outdoor creation station. Reading nooks and crannies are plentiful, as are benches for resting and chatting. Read more about our visit to Bookworm Gardens and see more pictures here.
A member of the mint family, lavender blooms are typically purple, but varieties can also grow in shades of blue, pink, red and white. Lavender fields are typically in bloom June through August (weather dependent). This propagated perennial takes about 3 years to fully mature.
Lavender has an incredible array of health benefits, and a quality lavender essential oil (there are many that are not!) is a “must have” for the family medicine cabinet. Research has found pure essential lavender oil to possess antiseptic, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti fungal, and antibacterial properties. Even drug resistant strains of streptococcus aureus have been treated successfully with lavender. It also possesses analgesic and antidepressant qualities.
Lavender oil is also very effective on burns, scrapes and bug bites. Lavender has been found to be extremely effective in treating a long list of maladies relating to the nervous, respiratory, and digestive systems. Lavender is also a popular oil used in aromatherapy.
EDN Farms (COMING SOON!)
S66 W28796 River Rd., Waukesha, WI 53189
A USDA-certified organic and mommy-owned farm, EDN Farms specializes in producing garlic and immune-boosting elderberry, but they’re also branching out into lavender territory. They plan to grow a variety of lavenders for fresh floral, dried, and culinary use. The lavender fields will be blooming and open to visitors in Spring 2023, so stay tuned!
EDN stands for Ecology Diversity Network. They work with other small farms, developing and sharing best practices to build rich, life-sustaining soil through diversified planting.
“Edn” is also Hebrew for the original spelling of the garden described in the book of Genesis. Accordingly, the mission of EDN Farms is to get back to the way farming used to be.
E13901 County Rd. W Baraboo, WI 53913
Aside from taking home some fresh cut lavender from the Farm Cottage, walking the lavender field is one of the best ways to experience the farm! Enjoy the stunning hillside views decorated with 13 cultivars of lavender. Stop by the farm cottage for authentic lavender goods and savor some raw lavender honey.
Farm visit appointments must be made prior to your visit. The contribution fee of $5 per vehicle goes a long way in supporting the farm.
One of the earliest perennials to bloom in spring, the tulip grows in a variety of colors that herald the beauty of the season. If you get the chance to visit a tulip farm, you’ll be treated to some Instagram-worthy photo ops and a few fresh-cut stems for your own seasonal bouquets.
The weather determines when tulips bloom, but they usually arrive by late April or early May. A warm and dry spring usually yields earlier blooms, while cool, wet weather leads to later arrivals. Call ahead and confirm the status of the blooms before you go.
Happy Day Farmhaus – Tulip Fest & Harvest
Saturday, May 14, 2022, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: FREE (Parking: $5 per vehicle)
W188 N13251 Maple Rd., Germantown, WI 53076
This 6-acre, small-scale farm uses organic practices to grow veggies and flowers. This year they will have 3,500 tulips (1,500 more than last year) in dozens of colors and varieties of tulips.
Plan to visit on Saturday, May 14, when the farm will host its second annual Tulip Fest and Harvest. View the tulips in full bloom and purchase some at $1 per stem. Pay $2 and you can harvest the bulb with the stem, so you can grow your own tulips at home next spring. Produce will be available for purchase as well.
Vennture Brew Co. will be serving up coffee and beer, and Flour Girl & Flame will be making pizzas from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Bettny Mazur will perform live music from noon to 2 p.m.
Admission to the festival is free, but there is a parking fee of $5 per vehicle.
Richardson Adventure Farm
Admission: $12 Tuesday-Friday; $15 Saturday-Sunday; 3 and under FREE
909 English Prairie Rd., Spring Grove, IL 60081
Located just over the Illinois border, this farm grows 600,000 tulip bulbs in 30 different varieties next to a private, 36-acre lake. About 500,000 of the bulbs were planted in colorful blocks with a central design, perfect for those family photo ops. The rest are mixture of colors planted in a pick-your-own area.
From the tulip fields, the ground slopes down to a festival area (opening Mother’s Day – May 8, 2022) with food trucks, beer and wine served from a trolley, picnic tables, live music on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, free games like giant checkers and cornhole, and more. There’s plenty of free parking, and friendly leashed dogs are welcome.
Admission includes entrance into the flower field and the Tulip Festival, access to the picnic area around Richardson Lake, and one tulip stem to take home. Additional tulips may be purchased for $1 each. Remember to bring your scissors!
When you’re done smelling the flowers, walk or drive to the adjacent Adventure Farm grounds (about a half-mile from the tulip parking area). There you’ll find a gift shop with wine tasting, fresh donuts, popcorn, kettle corn, and indoor restrooms.
Note: The walkways among the tulips are grassy and a little bumpy, and rain can make them soft, so plan accordingly.
Warm Belly Farm
W8974 County Rd. C, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538
Founded in 2017 by Francis Wisniewski, Warm Belly Farm is a sustainable farm with the goal of providing high-quality goods and experiences for its visitors. In addition to thousands of multi-colored tulips, they grow 20,000 strawberry plants, 1,800 apple trees and 100 cherry trees (return for pick-your-own strawberries in June and apples in September).
In May 2021, the farm held a tulip cutting fundraiser to benefit St. Coletta’s Orchard, a non-profit in Fort Atkinson that serves children and adults with developmental disabilities. Selling fresh-cut tulips at $1 per stem, they raised $2,800 in an effort to get the 120-year-old apple orchard back in production. The money was used to purchase fertilizer and other equipment needed for the 4,000 apple trees on the property.
Warm Belly Farm planted 15,000 bulbs this year. They plan to hold another tulip cutting event, probably in mid-May (weather-dependent). Follow them on Facebook for updates.
Sunflowers typically bloom in late July, and there’s just something about them that makes us smile. Sunflowers can grow 5-10 feet tall, and a sunflower field provides the perfect backdrop for stunning photos. Plus, most farms will let you cut a few stems to take home and use in floral arrangements to decorate your front porch.
Soak up the last sunny days of late summer by visiting one of the many sunflower fields we found throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Some are nearby, while others require a day trip.
Open dates and times for sunflower season depend on weather and flower maturity. Be sure to call ahead for hours and the latest information.
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