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Explore the Beauty of Powell Gardens


Article by City Lifestyle

Photography by Provided

As Kansas City’s Botanical Garden, Powell Gardens plays a vital role in the community as a space for release, rejuvenation, and the celebration of the fleeting nature of nature itself. Visitors enjoy eight themed display gardens, a three-mile nature trail, seasonal festivals, rotating exhibitions, exceptional architecture, and dining options featuring ingredients grown in our Heartland Harvest Garden, one of the nation’s largest edible landscapes.

Established in 1988, Powell Gardens is a public garden, maintaining 970 acres of lush, rolling hills and windswept meadows, with more than 175 acres and a large collection of plants open to the public for education, exploration, and recreation. Many of the plants in the Gardens are regionally native, and all highlight the changing seasons and Midwest spirit of place. Visiting the Gardens provides the public with the opportunity to step away from the rules and routines of every day to learn, explore, reset and feel free. 

More than 15,000 youth visit the Gardens annually, taking advantage of the educational programs for classrooms and nature activities for the whole family. Our Children’s Garden features a variety of interactive installations and is situated just steps away from locally made ice cream treats at the reFresh snack shop in the Missouri Barn. 

The Gardens feature the largest collection of public buildings designed by renowned architects E. Fay Jones, a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright, and his partner Maurice Jennings including the Visitor Center, Meadow Pavilion, Gate House, and Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel. More recent architectural additions to the Gardens including the Missouri Barn and Miller Hammond Chapel Study as well as the soon-to-be-constructed front entrance are also designed by the same firm, now called Jennings + Santa-Rita Architects, LLC. Each of the buildings serve as exceptional settings for life’s milestone moments and are available for wedding, memorial, corporate, and private rentals.

Do you need to make an appointment or call ahead?

Visitors are encouraged to reserve advance timed tickets online. Advanced ticket purchase allows visitors to have a contactless check-in experience, and timed entry enables us to regulate the number of visitors in the Gardens at any given time.

What are the hours of operation?

Hours will be limited to 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. to ensure our custodial staff can maintain increased sanitation procedures. We are currently open Tuesday–Sunday, but will add Mondays during Festival of Butterflies.

What is the procedure for entering?

One-way paths have been lifted to allow our visitors more room to roam across 175 acres. All areas of the Garden will be open, but buildings are currently closed except for three public restrooms.

Are masks required?

Per the Johnson County, MO face covering mandate, masks are required to enter the Gardens. Masks must be worn indoors and on the Visitor Center Terrace. Masks are not required outdoors in the Gardens when social distancing is possible. 

What resources are available onsite?

Snacks and beverages by Chef Michael Foust will be available at the Missouri Barn in the Heartland Harvest Garden from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Tram service will be limited to Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Coolers with picnic items (food and non-alcoholic beverages) are allowed.

Is anything currently unavailable?

All buildings will be closed, except for three public restrooms.

What are some upcoming events?

Festival of Butterflies

July 25 – August 9 | Daily, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

On this magical migratory trip from the southern hemisphere and through Mexico to the Midwest, you will have opportunities to get up close and personal with many different species. Explore each butterfly’s origins, preferred habitats, and life-cycles while enjoying a variety of festival events in celebration of the summer season.

Fun + Games: Play in the Gardens

Summer 2020 | Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Spend your summer playing outside in the Gardens, where new games and activities are popping up across every inch of the Gardens throughout the season. Keep an eye on @PowellGardens on social media for surprise activations and to find out what’s new in the Gardens. You’ll want to visit throughout the summer to experience all this exhibition has to offer.

Species Spotlight: Hunt for Berry Treasure

Saturday, July 18 | 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Join a Powell Gardens docent for a hunt for berry treasure. This family-friendly hike features a short walk (.8 miles) through our forest to our lotus pond in search of blackberries and other woodland treasures. This experience is suited for families with kids ages five to twelve. Come prepared with bug spray and sunscreen. Space is limited, so please register online in advance.

Play With Plants: Pollinators

Saturday, July 25 | 1-4 p.m.

Drop in to view and gently handle caterpillars and butterflies in the native butterfly house. Bring the camera for this great photo opportunity!

After Hours

Friday, July 24 | 6 p.m. – Sunset

We invite you to enjoy longer hours during our Festival of Butterflies, listen to music, treat yourself to beer, wine, and snacks and take in the sunset views in the gardens to celebrate the peak of the summer season.

Rhythm, Blooms + Butterflies

Saturday, July 25 & Sunday, July 26 | 12-4 p.m.

Enjoy the rhythm of live music inspired by the migratory path of the Monarch butterfly. Snacks and libations are available at Refresh or Perennial Lounge to enjoy as you sit, stroll, or dance with the music outside.