Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (Mitchell Park Domes or The Domes) is a conservatory located at Mitchell Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. It is owned and operated by the Milwaukee County Park System, and replaced the original Milwaukee Conservatory which stood from 1898 to 1955. The three domes display a large variety of plant life.
Designed by Donald L. Grieb Associates, Architect, the Conservatory is composed of three beehive-shaped glass domes that span 140 feet (43 m) in diameter and are 85 feet (26 m) high. They are properly referred to as the World's first conoidal domes.They cover 45,000 square feet (4,200 m2) of display area and were constructed in stages from 1959 to 1967. Locally, they are commonly called the "three-breasted lady".
The Conservatory was closed during the summer of 2008 to facilitate the replacement of 800 cracked glass panels. The lobby was remodeled and a $500,000 donation allowed for a new external and internal lighting system.The Conservatory re-opened to large crowds on October 20, 2008. A series of concerts was held on Thursday nights through November. Several other improvements include a re-configured parking lot, outside landscaping and a new educational center scheduled to open in fall of 2009. Future plans call for a greenhouse complex at the rear of the Conservatory to replace current off site facilities.
Mitchell Park is one of the six original Milwaukee parks created by the first park commission. It occupies a spot on the south side of Milwaukee, starting with a core of 5 acres (20,000 m2) that was donated by the Mitchell Family and named after the wealthy banking magnate Alexander Mitchell, grandfather of General Billy Mitchell. Further donations brought the total area to just over 60 acres (240,000 m2).
Also found on park grounds, at a bluff overlooking the Menomonee Valley, is a monument marking the site of an early trading post built by Jacques Vieau. Vieau was a settler and fur trader who later became father-in-law to Milwaukee founder Solomon Juneau. Just south of the Conservatory was the site of extensive formal gardens and a sunken water feature. Opened in 1904, it was removed in the late 1980s due to budget cuts.