Just in time for winter, indoor exhibits at Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden to reopen

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Just in time to provide an escape from the dead leaves and chilly winds of winter, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is set to reopen its conservatory to the public for the first time since closing in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 80-foot-tall geodesic dome, a landmark for travelers crossing the Des Moines River on Interstate 235, is home to a tropical garden featuring everything from delicate orchids to towering palms. 

The building, which also houses the Gardeners Show House, Garden Shop and an art exhibit, will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. beginning Wednesday. The Trellis Cafe is also open for limited hours. 

Kelly Reilly, director of marketing for the gardens, said the staff has taken its time to ensure it can reopen the conservatory safely.

“That was the first date that we had the right protocols, the right safety precautions planned out, and the resources to get the conservatory and gardens ready for the public,” Reilly said. 

General admission will be available for purchase in advance at DMBotanicalGarden.com or by calling 515-323-6290. Entry into the garden is not guaranteed to those who don’t reserve a spot, except for holders of an Iowa Libraries Adventure Pass, Museums for All participants and Pineapple Program token holders.

More: With a new reflection garden open, what’s next for the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden?

Tickets will be for specific times to aid in ensuring social distancing.

Other protocols include: 

  • Groups should not exceed more than five people unless they are direct family members.
  • Drinking fountains will not be accessible, so bring a water bottle.
  • Face masks will be required at all times, except for children under age 2. Admission will not be given without a proper face covering. 
  • Six feet of distancing is required.
  • Patrons are asked to stay home if they are feeling ill or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Surface areas in the garden and restrooms, and door handles will be regularly cleaned throughout the day to ensure safety. 

The garden will be closed to the public on Mondays to allow staff to take care of the collection without having to compete with visitors for space on the narrow paths.

The outdoor garden reopened in July and will remain open through the fall and winter, depending on the weather. 

For more information, head to DmBotanticalGarden.com. 

Sierra Porter covers entertainment for the Des Moines Register. She can be contacted at [email protected] or via Twitter @SierraAPorter95

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