Posted at 11 a.m. April 4, 2017

Botanical oasis brings the exotic to Cheyenne

Cheyenne Botanic Gardens expansion nearing completion

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New beginnings:

TOP: The new greenhouse, decorated in ornate brick and stone masonry, stands where the old building used to be — construction is still underway. MIDDLE: Construction worker working on the second floor railing of Botanic Gardens greenhouse. BOTTOM: Inside view from the second floor of Botanic Gardens during construction.

Photos by Lacey Riedel

Director Shane Smith and his team of architects, construction workers, botanists, and volunteers put in hard work to complete the construction of the conservatory.

The innovation of the conservatory was inspired by six other conservatories that Smith toured around the country looking for the perfect design. The building will have various heating and conditioning systems as well as tempered glass that will allow 64 percent of sunlight to come in to provide ample conditions for the species of flora and plants.

Around 90 percent of the work going into this expansion project is being done by volunteers. When it opens, there will be only 10 volunteers in addition to the staff team as well as three intern positions for people interested in careers in agriculture, botany, and horticulture.

With no set date for the grand opening, but the conservatory will contain high-tech, state of the art features and décor could make it a recreational hotspot in Cheyenne.

Smith said hopefully admission will be free and they can maintain revenue through donations and sales at the café and gift shop.

These features include three floors of a botanical oasis for residents and visitors to enjoy at their leisure. It will consist of multiple rooms in which canopies, orangeries, water features and tons of new species of flora and plants can be viewed while enjoying food and drinks that can be purchased at the on-site café. Or maybe visitors will stumble into a gardening lecture in one of the many conference rooms.

Even cooler, Smith said, is the Science Room where kids can learn and view specimens using microscopes and can even try out the big submarine telescope that was donated to the facility.

Events can also be hosted and guests can reserve parts or all of the conservatory for major events such as parties or weddings.

Smith is hopeful that construction will move along and the conservatory can be open and enjoyed by the public for the 150th anniversary of Cheyenne and the 40th anniversary of the greenhouse this summer.


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