The Dow Gardens Conservatory will reopen on October 4 after extensive renovations.


The Dow Gardens Conservatory will reopen on October 4 after extensive renovations.

Construction crews have come to a conclusion on the project which aims to meet the ever-changing needs of the gardens, while preserving the history and integrity of the unique structure designed by Alden B. Dow in mid-century modern. The reopening is perfectly timed to provide a warm respite during the cooler fall days.

Saginaw-based WTA Architects were selected to update the structure with Serenus Johnson acting as the general contractor.

Visitors will enjoy stunning additions like a light-filled lobby and an all-new water feature that incorporates moving water in nine different ways. With its monotonous color palette and sparkling LED lighting, the new areas provide space for visitors to interact with plant life. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the landscape outside. (A total of 432 pieces of double-walled low-e glass let in sunlight, while an additional 62 pieces open up the inverted sidewalls).

Critical system updates optimize plant and visitor comfort. A new high-efficiency HVAC system automatically sequences based on internal and external air conditions. It can be controlled both onsite and remotely to provide precise temperature and humidity control. Below-grade enhancements provide additional support at masonry joints and buttresses.

“Sustainable design was a key part of our creative strategy,” said Dow Gardens Director Elizabeth Lumbert. “We remain committed to preserving the historic integrity of the Dow Gardens Conservatory that gracefully converges with the surrounding landscape, provides an oasis during cold Michigan winters, and inspires love of plants in future generations.”

Conservatory exploration is included in general admission. Activities include the popular Butterflies in Bloom exhibit which returns in March 2023 after a two-year hiatus. Visitors will mingle with thousands of butterflies from around the world, while surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. The building’s unique design carries the iridescent insects down to eye level, while an all-new pinned window offers up-close views of their metamorphosis.

The conservatory will be open 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday until October 31, when winter hours take effect (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Weather-related closures may occur.

For more information, contact Kristen Inman, Marketing Manager, Dow Gardens, at [email protected]


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