Madison was our second stop in Wisconsin on our Midwest road trip, and the first place we visited was Olbrich Botanical Gardens. We were there in late October, and it was still beautiful with a lot of flowers blooming! And fall leaves were peaking, so there were lots of pretty colors throughout the gardens. If you want to make a trip to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, I definitely recommend it, and this is what you need to know to plan your visit!
Planning a visit to Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Olbrich Botanical Gardens are open every day from 10 am- 4 pm (expect for major holidays), and they are totally free to visit! Donations are encouraged, and the Bolz Conservatory is $6 to visit (which we didn’t have time to see on this trip).
Olbrich Botanical Gardens has 16 acres of gardens that you can explore. So I would recommend budgeting a couple of hours to spend there if you want to see everything.
They have a Rose Garden, Perennial Garden, Sunken Garden, and Herb Garden, plus a Thai Pavilion and Garden. There are also lots of walking paths lined with trees, which are really pretty in the fall!
I couldn’t get enough of the vibrant fall colors!
Thai Pavilion and Gardens
I didn’t know this before visiting, but Olbrich Botanical Gardens has the only Thai Pavilion in the continental United States, and it’s the only one outside of Thailand surrounded by a garden! The University of Wisconsin-Madison actually has the largest Thai student population of all the colleges in the US, so the pavilion was a gift from the Thai Government and the Thai Chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association.
The gardens was chosen as the location of the pavilion because it has water flowing through the park, and water symbolizes good health and prosperity in Thailand. The plants in the garden around the pavilion were chosen to look like gardens you would find in Thailand.
The Thai pavilion was made in Thailand from teak and ceramic tiles, and it’s coated in gold leaf. So you actually can’t touch it because oils from skin can damage it. The details in the pavilion are amazing, so make sure you get close enough for all the great views!
So if you’re in Madison, Wisconsin, you need to make a trip over to Olbrich Botanical Gardens. It was beautiful to tour in autumn, and I would love to go back to see all the flowers in bloom in other seasons!