Text by Caroline Miniscule. Photos by Tamara Rodgers.
The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens began construction in Wyoming’s capital in 1977. After five years of planning and construction, its new centerpiece, a beautiful Grand Conservatory, opened near the Gardens’ 40th Anniversary, on August 14, 2017.
As you enter the Conservatory, you are greeted by a helpful and knowledgeable volunteer who will ask you to sign the guest book, and direct you to any location within the Conservatory or Gardens.
The Journey of the Soul
In 2004, the Cheyenne Depot Museum Foundation and the Downtown Development Authority launched a fundraising project called “The Boots are Made For Talking.” Twenty-six “Big Boots” were illustrated by various artists and then auctioned off to various businesses and private individuals.
One of these was “The Journey of the Soul,” a mosaic by artist Vicki McSchooler, which was purchased by the owner of the Hitching Post Inn and placed near the Inn on the Old Lincoln Highway/Highway 30. Time and the elements took their toll on this boot. It has recently been refurbished by the artist and now stands to your right as you enter the Conservatory.
Walk into the Tropical Indoor Education Park and you’ll be walking into a tropical paradise.
The serenity of the fountains is soothing.
and the fish that swim in the waters are beautiful.
But there’s whimsy as well.
Children and adults enjoy the Kiwanis Periscope, as well. The periscope was donated by the US Navy from a de-commissioned submarine. People looking through the periscope can get a 360-degree, 20 mile view of the city and surroundings.
The second floor also features an aviary and a small alcove for noshing and relaxing.
The roof of the Grand Conservatory will be especially pleasant during spring, summer and fall. There are tables and chairs where one can snack and chat with friends, all while enjoying the view of the adjacent Paul Smith’s Children’s Village.
The Grand Conservatory is still morphing. One addition that will be present next spring is a Bonsai House, also on the roof. Members of the Cheyenne Bonsai Club will stock this bamboo building with beautiful examples of this fascinating art.
The Grand Conservatory has several “gathering spaces” or meeting rooms that can be rented. Weddings, engagement parties, activities of all kinds can be held here.
The Grand Conservatory is quite a showcase that complements the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens and will do so for years to come.