Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board embarks on new project to improve facilities at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary

New bathroom, tool shed, visitor center addition and front entrance upgrades are all being considered.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is planning improvements to the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden (EBWG) and would like to hear from area residents and current and future garden visitors to help inform the new project.

Improvements, slated for construction in 2020 and 2021, will likely include:

  • Adding an all-gendered, family-friendly, accessible bathroom
  • Building an addition to the visitor center for EBWG staff and operations
  • Re-envisioning the front entrance area
  • Taking down the existing tool shed and building a new shed outside of the garden’s fence

MPRB staff will be engaging people this summer to learn more about EBWG programming and operation needs. Your feedback will help shape upcoming design decisions and inform programming and garden improvements for years to come! Here’s how to get involved:

About the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary

In 1907 Eloise Butler and other botany teachers successfully petitioned the Minneapolis Park Board to create a natural botanic garden to preserve native flora as the city grew. Three acres of bog, meadow and hillside were fenced and the Wild Botanic Garden opened on April 27, 1907 in Glenwood Park, which was renamed for Park Board Superintendent Theodore Wirth in 1938.

Wirth appointed Butler to the Garden Curator position in 1911, the garden was named after her in 1927, and she died while working in the garden in 1933. Over the years the garden evolved and expanded under the stewardship of the MPRB, aided by volunteers and philanthropic support from the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden, a non-profit organization founded in 1952.

Now an estimated 60,000 annual visitors enjoy spectacular seasonal displays of native wildflowers in woodland, wetland and prairie areas. Each area creates a different habitat that fosters different types of plants, animals and birds. Nestled in the garden is the Martha Crone Visitor Shelter, where visitors will find natural history displays, natural history reference materials and friendly staff and volunteers waiting to help with garden-related questions.

Two previously approved plans have already helped inform the parameters of this project:

The Eloise Butler Management Plan [PDF] Theodore Wirth Regional Park Master Plan [PDF]