A quiet respite

The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary in Theodore Wirth Park is the perfect escape from city life

Bryn Mawr—It’s rare for cities to have truly quiet and wild spaces in their midst.

Bryn Mawr boasts such a place — the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary in Theodore Wirth Park.

The 15-acre garden just minutes from downtown Minneapolis opened for the season Friday, April 1. It’s open seven days a week through Oct. 16.

Woodland wildflowers expected to bloom in April and May include snow trillium and hepatica with bloodroot, wild ginger, trillium, bluebells and trout lilies.

Founded in 1907, the garden is the nation’s oldest public wildflower gardens. It has more than 500 plant species and 130 bird species.

Visitors will find a two-third’s mile trail with 49 interpretive stations with information about the garden’s history and wildlife. The Martha Crone Visitor Shelter also has reference materials, natural history displays and staff who can answer questions about the garden.

A sign that reads, “Let nature be your teacher,” greets visitors at the garden’s entrance.

The garden also has a beautiful new boardwalk in the wetland garden area. Visitors can see marsh marigolds, skunk cabbage and trout lilies in this area.

Garden programs include naturalist-led tours for people interested in birding, learning more about tree species and wildflowers. There are also special classes for young children.

Eloise Butler, the garden’s founder, was an influential science teacher in Minneapolis who was passionate about connecting youth with nature, according to Sara Strzok, a blogger for the Historyapolis Project.

She said: “Knowledge of the soli and its products … would do much toward shielding young people from the temptations of artificial and unhealthful amusements of city life and lead them back to nature where the mind and body could develop in a healthful and sane way.”

When she retired from teaching, Butler became the wild flower garden’s first curator — a post she held until her death in 1933.

The garden is the city’s most biodiverse parcel of parkland with three distinct areas: the woodland zone, wetland area and prairie zone.

So if you’re craving a tranquil place to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with nature, the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden is a perfect destination.


If you go …

Where: Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, 1339 Theodore Wirth Parkway

Hours: Open daily, 7:30 a.m. until one hour before sunset, through Oct. 16. After Oct. 16, it’s open on weekends through the end of the month.

Website: minneapolisparks.org/ebwg

Contact information: [email protected] and 370-4903

Programs: There are several naturalist-led hikes and tours, including ones for birding, spring wildflowers and the Quaking Bog Tour.

Special classes and tours: There will be a Pink Moon Garden Tour, Thursday, April 21, 8–9 p.m.; and a Full Flower Moon Tour, May 20, 8:30–9:30 p.m.

Volunteer opportunities: Those interested in volunteering at the garden, should contact [email protected] or call the visitor shelter at 370-4903