Attraction Spotlight: Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary

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The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary is a 15-acre garden in Minneapolis and is the oldest public wildflower garden in the whole country. This exciting attraction opened in 1907 when the botanist Eloise Butler and other botany teachers petitioned with the city’s MPRB to create a place where a natural botanic garden could be for preserving native flora with the growth of the city.

That year, three acres of bog, hillside and meadow were fenced and that’s how the Wild Botanic Garden began. Today, visit the garden to see over 500 plant species and 130 bird species.

About Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden & Bird Sanctuary

The garden & sanctuary sees over 69,000 visitors every year due to the more than 500 plant species and 130 bird species that live here. There are seasonal displays of native wildflowers in prairie, wetland and woodland areas. Each area provides a different type of habitat which caters to specific types of animals, birds and plants.


You can visit from mid-April through October 15th at 7:30am to one hour before sunset. In the fall, they are typically open for a few dates from October 18-26th from 7am to sunset. The location is 1 Theodore Wirth Pkway, Minneapolis.

You can take public transit like the MTC Bus Routes 9C, 9D and 9E which stops at Glenwood Avenue and Theodore Wirth Parkway. Just walk two blocks to get to the garden gate.

Peak times to see your favorite plants include: 

  • April and May check out Woodland’s wild ginger, trillium, bluebells, bloodroot and trout lilies
  • June and July check out Wetland’s Showy lady’s-slippers, native irises and cardinal flowers
  • Middle-to-late summer check out Prairie’s asters, blazing stars, sunflowers and goldenrods
  • Fall is the time to see prairie grasses and autumn leaves throughout the garden

There is a Martha Crone Visitor Shelter and 2/3-mile trail featuring 49 interpretive stations for tours. Check out natural history displays and volunteers to answer questions. Along with visiting the garden and sanctuary, you can join in on special projects, volunteering, and programs for families, youth and adults.

Check out the oldest public wildflower garden in the nation.

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