Lauritzen is more than a walk in the flowers

Lauritzen Gardens

When someone tells you to stop and smell the roses, in Omaha, you can stop and smell a lot more.

You can also take a stroll through a wooded area, and “travel” to different countries.  Just take a trip to Lauritzen Gardens

Omaha’s botanical gardens opened in 1982. New gardens have been added throughout the years to make it one of the city’s most popular attractions. Lauritzen has 20 gardens located on 100 acres.

It’s a great area for a nice walk. You have the chance to view flowers ranging from roses and peonies to perennials. The Storz family rose garden is perhaps the most popular garden at Lauritzen.

Lauritzen Gardens 1During your walk you can take in so many flowers and trees, as well as other plants.

The Japanese Garden was a great addition. The garden opened in 2005. You can walk through a gate and climb a hill. Once there, you can appreciate the view of the Japanese Garden, as well as the landscape surrounding it.

Lauritzen Gardens 2Once during a citywide event, the garden was the spot of a wine tasting event. Two Japanese musicians played some of the most beautiful and soothing music. Lauritzen Gardens 3

You can also see English perennials in their own garden. I know it’s nothing like being in England, but I appreciate the inclusion of different floral arrangements.

I like walking farther into the botanical garden, into the arboretum and bird sanctuary, on to the herb garden and the founder’s garden. They are deepest in the park.

One of my favorite spots in the arboretum is a pond. On a nice summer day, you can hear the bull frogs croaking. If you watch carefully, you can see them pop their heads above water. The frogs seem to be photographers’ favorites.

Lauritzen Gardens 4Every season is enjoyable at the gardens. It seems like we tend to go at least once a quarter.

In the spring, you get to see the leaves budding on the trees in the woodlands. The staff is busy planting new flowers and plants for the season, so you can check out the flowers as they prepare to grow.

Lauritzen Gardens 5Later, during the summer months, you get to see the flowers and plants in full bloom.  The rose garden is probably the most beautiful area of Lauritzen.

Lauritzen Gardens 6However, each garden offers its own beauty and uniqueness.

As I mentioned previously, the arboretum is one of my favorite gardens to walk. I think it represents nature well, with trees, prairie grass and other plants lining the path. Birds fly around you, landing on branches and singing their songs. It’s like taking a walk along a secluded lake area.

Lauritzen Gardens 7Fall brings the changing colors of leaves. This is Lisa’s favorite time of the year, so visiting places with lots of trees is a requirement. Lauritzen meets it. The park even has a sculpture of fallen leaves.

Lauritzen Gardens 8You can see all the colors during the fall – browns, yellows, oranges, greens and reds. Lisa is in heaven when she sees the colors.

Lauritzen Gardens 9While winter is the least favorable time to take a jaunt through the gardens; it can be done. I think during winter, most people stick around the visitor’s center, checking out the special exhibits.

However, if you are dressed accordingly, take a walk through the gardens. While most of the trees are bare, and the flowers have long been gone, you can see other beauty.

Lauritzen Gardens 10Bare branches can represent beauty. If it is snowing, or freshly snowed, trees without leaves can give you decent photo opportunities.

You have the chance to see animals scampering about the gardens – squirrels and rabbits. Maybe, you’ll get a glimpse of a deer.

Then, as the weather thaws and spring comes again, the cycle continues.

Laurtizen is more than just flowers and gardens.

IMG_8301The visitor’s center hosts special exhibits throughout the year.

Last year, it was one of the few cities in the United States to host a collection of artwork built with Legos. From bison to a dragonfly, 27 pieces of artwork were displayed for a few months.

Lauritzen Gardens 12Earlier this year, Lauritzen hosted a collection of Chrysanthemums. The center looked beautiful with the different colors of the flowers.  They were spread out among the water features and other plants.

Lauritzen Gardens 13Currently, the center is hosting its annual poinsettia show. There is a 20-foot high tree made from poinsettias. Poinsettias from more than 25 types are displayed from Thanksgiving weekend until early January.

Lauritzen Gardens 14The poinsettias are displayed next to models of Omaha landmarks, including St. Cecilia Cathedral, Joslyn Castle, Union Pacific, Central High School, and Old Market buildings.

The poinsettia show takes about five months to put together before the display is opened to the public. About 5,000 poinsettia plants are delivered to Lauritzen in July. The staff then cultivates them in the greenhouse.

Lauritzen Gardens 15During the summer, Lauritzen Gardens participates in the annual Railroad Days in Omaha and Council Bluffs. A Union Pacific mini train is available for guests to ride in while they tour the gardens.

For us, the coolest part of the gardens on this special weekend is the outdoor train display. Four trains travel through their own garden area. There are bridges above head, where people will look upward until they see one of the G scale trains come chugging through.

The train display opens in June annually and runs through the fall, until the weather dictates shutting down for the season. Trains run on their tracks past models of some of the local sites, including the UP building and the Desert Dome at the Henry Doorly Zoo.

So, please remember that while most people may think you can visit botanical gardens only during the warm months, you really can and should take advantage of the gardens throughout the year. You will not be disappointed.

For more information on Lauritzen Gardens, please visit the website at

Lauritzen Gardens 16


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