The Hidden Gem of Des Moines

Uncovering Iowa’s best kept secret, The Botanical Center.


Inside the dome at the botanical center. (Leslie Hunter)

Looking for a place for a date, to hang out with friends, or learn about cool plants? Somewhere warm in the cold is the Botanical Center, here there are a variety of events hosted.

“The events at the Botanical Center are so fun. You get to go into a warm humid space and walk around. There are lights and many different plants and there are scavenger hunts and there is a drink bar if that’s interesting to you. There are also small little centers that are like nurseries for the plants,” senior Kirah Mayhew said.

The Botanical Center is a very underrated place in Iowa. It has three collections, with nearly 1,000 different species of tropical, subtropical, and arid regional plants. It is a beautiful place with many things to offer, for example another event they offer around this time of year is the Botanical Blues on Sundays from January 7th to March 31st. When you arrive to this very fun event, you’re welcomed by the very nice staff upfront who are very knowledgeable.

“The staff are very helpful and informed on proper plant care. Many are volunteers and contribute their time,” senior Aidan Jones said.

The botanical center is a fun place for all ages, but it is especially a great place for people who love plants, or gardening.

“I would recommend anyone of any age going because it’s a really cool place that I think just about anyone would find interesting,” sophomore at Waukee North-West Sophie Putnam said.

One of the events your can go to is Dome After Dark. Dome after Dark is an event that goes from November 24 through March 29 on Friday nights. It starts at 6 p.m. and goes to 10 p.m. Many agree that this experience is very fun to go to and would highly recommend going to it.

“It was magical! The dome was beautiful, the music was pretty. Overall, it was a very nice experience,” Putnam said.

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