Get out of the house! Cheyenne Botanic Gardens Solar Conservatory

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Daniel Gage
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Cheyenne's Botanic Gardens offer the local community a nine-acre sanctuary of green plant life among the high plains prairie; and in the winter the Solar Conservatory at the Botanic Gardens offers an escape from the winter weather.

While the Solar Conservatory houses a library, offices, a meeting room and stores seeds and produce, the main attractions are the three greenhouses on the south side of the building.

The center greenhouse is used mostly for educational purposes, and in it visitors will find a variety of different plants including cacti, bonsai and orchids.

The east and west rooms are used for growing food crops between July and February which are distributed among the 30 to 40 volunteers and local feeding programs. From March through June, the east and west rooms grow more than 50,000 plants which are then used in as many as 85 different flower beds across town.

The majority of the work at the greenhouse is done by volunteer labor, consisting of senior citizens, handicapped individuals and at-risk youth.

While there are many attractions at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, the Solar Conservatory can be enjoyed year-round and has many unique traits.

Built in 1986, the conservatory is built around the designs of a solar powered greenhouse that stood east of town for ten years prior.

The previous solar greenhouse east of town was the first of its kind in the country, and like the conservatory, was heated completely by solar power.

Due to being heated solely by solar power, the conservatory can get as cold as 40 degrees during the coldest winters. Therefore, the plants grown are scheduled around the environment.

Also open year round is the Paul Smith Children's Village, which is in another building. It houses a greenhouse, fenced in garden and classroom where classes and field trips are available to meet.

The Botanic Gardens also offers space for outside groups and clubs, such as the Master Gardener's Club and the Bonsai Tree Club, to meet throughout the year.

As the weather gets warmer, people can also apply to the waiting list for a small gardening plot outside the conservatory for a small fee.

Public access to the Cheyenne Botanic Garden and Solar Conservatory is always free; however, some classes and events held there have a small fee. The grounds of the garden are open from dawn to dusk while the Solar Conservatory is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturdays.

Visitors are welcome to bring their dogs to the gardens and greenhouse but are asked to keep their pets on at least a six-foot leash at all times, and any animal misbehaving will be asked to leave.

The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens and Solar Conservatory can be found in Lions Park, on the bank of Sloan's Lake.

For more information on the botanic gardens and greenhouse or to inquire about applying to the gardening plot waiting list, call 637-6458, or 637-6349 for more information about the Paul Smith Children's Village and Botanic Garden.