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The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary is open from 7:30 a.m. until one hour before sunset, seven days a week between April 1st and October 15th, and on until October 31 from 7:30am to one hour before sunset.
The Martha Crone Visitor Shelter in the Wildflower Garden is open from 10 a.m. until one hour before sunset Monday-Saturday and from 12 p.m. until one hour before sunset on Sundays.
Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden is part of Theodore Wirth Park. The 15-acre garden is the oldest public wildflower garden in the nation. Its legacy dates back to 1907 when Minneapolis botanist Eloise Butler and botany teachers successfully petitioned the MPRB to create a natural botanic garden to preserve native flora as the city grew. Three acres of bog, meadow and hillside were properly fenced and the Wild Botanic Garden opened April 27, 1907. In 2019, the boardwalk was expanded to increase accessibility to the gardens for visitors.
The Garden is home to more than 500 plant species and 130 bird species. It provides 60,000 visitors annually with spectacular seasonal displays of native wildflowers in woodland, wetland and prairie areas. Each area creates a different habitat that fosters different types of plants, animals and birds. A 2/3-mile trail features 49 interpretive stations for guided and self-guided tours. Nestled in the garden is the Martha Crone Visitor Shelter where visitors will find natural history displays, natural history reference materials and friendly staff and volunteers waiting to help with Garden-related questions.
Programs and Tours at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden
- Online at www.minneapolisparks.org using ActiveNet (credit card payment)
- In person at the Visitor Shelter in the Wildflower Garden
Family Fun Adventure Backpacks at Eloise Butler
The Garden offers loaner Family Fun Adventure Backpacks that are filled with activities to do together while exploring. Start your visit with a stop to the Visitor Shelter to borrow a backpack or a Garden Scavenger Hunt for a fun way to explore the Garden with your family. Binoculars are also available to borrow.
Self-Guided Tours at Eloise Butler
Garden Guidebook can be borrowed or purchased for $5 at the Visitor Shelter. Follow the station numbers to learn more about plant species within the Wildflower Garden.
Parking at Eloise Butler Gardens
NOTE: The Garden parking lot is a pay lot. You will need a Minneapolis Parks Parking Permit sticker, or use the pay box to park. Payment receipts or sticker must be displayed on your car’s dashboard to be valid. Parking at Minneapolis Park Lots ranges from 75 cents to $1.50/hour.
Improvements to Eloise Butler
The parks department is in the early stages of planning improvements at the gardens and are considering adding a new bathroom, a tool shed, an addition to the visitor center (which is quite small), and some upgrades to the front entrance. Work is planned to begin is 2020 or 2021.
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