An innovative escape in downtown Des Moines.

With a mission of exploring, explaining and celebrating the world of plants, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden inspires and engages visitors through education, experience and exploration. As a renowned cultural institution, the Botanical Garden cultivates diverse plants and connects people to the environment surrounding them.

From our storied Bonsai collection to uncommon plant species (like Carrie the Corpse Flower) to seven acres of outdoor gardens, there’s something of interest for gardening enthusiasts and casual observers alike. Immerse yourself in the Gardens through self-guided exploration, take a class or attend one of our signature events.

Our Mission

Exploring, explaining and celebrating the world of plants.

Our Vision

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is a vibrant, seven-acre public garden in the heart of downtown Des Moines, providing an enduring guest experience through progressive design, innovative programming and dynamic exhibits.

We are:
  • Educational: Our commitment to literacy is rooted in the belief that education is a lifelong pursuit.
  • Cultural: We believe the fusion of art and horticulture provide a venue for meaningful, memorable experiences.
  • Innovative: As explorers, we curate dynamic collections with application to both industry and community.
  • Ecological: As ecological stewards we embrace the challenges and opportunities of environmental changes.


Our first seeds were planted long ago. In the Spring of 1929, plans for a public garden were laid, only to be delayed by the stock market crash until the Friends organization formed in 1969. The Des Moines Botanical Center opened December 1979, operating under the City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department.

Des Moines Water Works assumed the operation in 2004, opening the Gardeners Showhouse, which laid a foundation for a more robust garden.

In 2013, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and underwent an extensive renovation and expansion. Learn more about our rich history.