There have been some sizzling hot days lately in Wisconsin, but that will not keep us from finding new gems to explore. This called for a bit of a location switch up! We decided to take it just about 45 minutes southeast of Madison to the Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville. After seeing so many gorgeous pictures online, we definitely had to venture out to the beautiful gardens for ourselves. We had a feeling that it was going to be a fun place to visit but we didn’t realize it would become a new family favorite. 

Hours & Location

1455 Palmer Drive
Janesville, WI 53545

  • July-August: 9am- 8pm daily
  • September: 9am-7pm daily
  • October-December: TBD

*Wheelchair & Stroller Accessible*

The Rotary Botanical Gardens is an award winning, non-profit garden that exhibits 20 acres of beauty while featuring over 26 various gardens. Each garden reveals different styles as well as an array of plants. About 4,000 to be exact! We loved that there was plenty of signage to let us know that we were going the right way when getting off the highway.

When you first arrive, you visit the guest center to pay for admission. They highly suggest using a card to pay as they try to minimize contact as much as possible. You’ll need to go inside first so be sure to have masks when paying. Once we received our map of the gardens, we were off! 

Admission Fees

  • Kids (Under 6): Free
  • Youth (6-15): $5
  • Adults (16 & Up): $7
  • Seniors (65 & Up): $6
  • Military (with ID): $5
  • Members are Free       

When you first walk out, your eyes are immediately drawn to these aqua blue tee-pee like stands in the garden. This area resembled a maze and the kids enjoyed weaving their way in and out through each one. To the right was a cute area that had very tall sunflowers and bear structures that moved. One bear was trying to run from bees so you can help him to run by pulling a string to make his legs move. Our kids thought these bears were hilarious and it took quite a bit of convincing to leave this interactive fun spot.

The Rotary Botanical Gardens is extremely spacious! This is the kind of place where your little ones can have ample room to wander. You can definitely take your time and spend a few hours learning about each garden.

We loved the Scottish garden as it was shady and quiet. This one was under construction but we enjoyed it’s peaceful atmosphere. Although we went on a Sunday afternoon, we can truly say that this a great place to get away from bigger crowds. There were people there but we had plenty of room to social distance.

The Japanese garden and bridge is a must see! There are gazebos and benches accompanied by a pond and fountain that could make for some really cool family photos. If you’re looking to visit a place filled with vivid colors; this is where it’s at! 

As we ventured into the children’s garden, our kids went straight for the fountain located in the center. There was a clear focus on bees, humming birds, and butterflies. This spot was dreamy and we could’ve easily spent an hour in there just taking it all in. The Rotary Botanical Gardens is a great field trip location for kids of all ages. We even think this would make for the perfect spot for a nature scavenger hunt. 

Another favorite was the herb garden as it contained some of the most beautiful basil bushes I’ve ever seen. You can tell they put a lot of hard work and effort into these gardens. They are all well maintained and absolutely beautiful.

Events At The Garden:

Lunch at the Gardens: Come enjoy delicious grilled cheese sandwiches from Stormy’s every Thursday. Every lunch purchase will give you 50% off your admission ticket to the Rotary Botanical Garden. 

Yoga in the gardens: Join Breathe Yoga and Wellness Center as they help you to slow down and get centered through gentle yoga instruction on Sundays and Thursdays when weather permits. Drop in classes are $15.

Every month they hold a What’s in Bloom Garden Tour as well as various plant sales.

With so much to see, we certainly fell in love with every garden we witnessed. The Rotary Botanical Gardens is a real hidden gem and is well worth the money. Our goal is to come back on an early morning during the week when it’s not as toasty. After spotting their Terrace Garden with tables, chairs, and umbrellas; we will pack a lunch as well! We hope that you get to visit soon and explore all there is to offer at the gardens.

Jacqui' is a stay at home mom to two curly boys. Her background is in culinary arts and childcare. She is a Robert Morris University alumni with a degree in culinary arts. She helped to open a restaurant in Bozeman Montana and then ran a daycare for three years before moving back to the Midwest. Jacqui' enjoys cooking delicious meals as well as planning parties, exploring new trails, and running her blog mymodernmom.com. You can also find her on Instagram @jacqui_rubsam



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