Shake off the throes of winter and see the first blossoms of spring at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden! With the rise of warmer weather, many of us start getting the itch to go out and about, and exploring the Gardens is the perfect day trip near Kansas City to start off the season.
Watch the Gardens wake up from winter and experience the fleeting flowers of spring ephemerals, bulbs, trees, and shrubs. Throughout spring at Powell Gardens, you’ll have the chance to experience countless fun activities in Kansas City for adults!
While there is plenty of entertainment for kids, too, Powell Gardens offers several events, both unique and recurring, throughout the spring for adult hobbyists. Learn how to make special cocktails, sip on champagne tea while studying our botanic collections, or join us for a happy hour lecture about various horticultural topics!
What’s Springing Up at Powell Gardens?
What’s particularly special about springtime are the spring ephemerals. These flowers bloom for a brief period of time once the warm weather triggers them to grow.
They last for just a few weeks, but they can be some of the most stunning blossoms of the warm seasons. You won’t want to miss out on our array of carefully cultivated flowers!
Flowers & Gardens
With a spring visit, you’ll be the first to experience the new flowers and gardens for the coming year when you arrive at Powell Gardens. The staff is hard at work while the Gardens are closed during January and February, tending to plants, pruning trees, changing layouts, and encouraging growth for the new season.
Both kids and adults can admire the sights of our flowering gardens. We offer a system of walking trails for you to spend your day perusing the natural landscape, consisting of the 1-mile Family Discovery Loop and the 3.25-mile Byron C. Shuz Nature Trail. The latter is best for adults who love to hike through the wilderness.
Powell Gardens’ iris collection began in the 1990s by Dr. Norlan Henderson, who was a treasured botany professor and board member at Powell Gardens. It has moved several locations over the years, but currently, it resides in the Fountain and Millstone Gardens with four beds of irises displaying over 100 named cultivars.
Our two largest beds have been awarded the Award of Merit by the American Iris Society, and the two smaller ones have select irises for local and historical significance, including cultivars named after Dr. Henderson’s family friends.
Daffodil Days (March through April)
With the arrival of spring comes the arrival of the distinctive yellow flowers known as daffodils. At Powell Gardens, we grow over 200 different varieties of 200,000 daffodils, separated into 13 divisions across the Visitor Center landscape. This event is prime time for viewing daffodils and learning more about their classifications and growing patterns!
Orchid Delirium (March through April)
Derived from the word “Orchidelirium” which describes the sensational craze for obtaining orchids in the late 19th century, this exhibition at Powell Gardens showcases over 600 pieces of select blooms.
Why is this flower so fascinating? Throughout the months of March and April, we’ll find the answer to that question by exploring its history, unique qualities, care, and most of all, its captivating color and appearance.
Blooming magnolia trees and shrubs surround the sheltered pathway along The Dennis & Annette Young Magnolia Walk, which takes you to the lakeside and back to the Visitor Center. While several species of our magnolia trees may show their flowers sporadically throughout the year, the best time to see them blooming all at once is in April and May.
Tulips are planted in the fall for optimal spring growth. Once these bulbs break free, they can be spotted in the Fountain Garden and the Marlese Lowe Gourley Island Garden. In particular, you’ll want to keep an eye out for two tulip varieties in the Fountain Garden: “Menton” (pink) and “Big Smile” (yellow).
Our Featured Events, Just for Adults
While these beautiful flowers are fascinating on their own, we know that it might be nice for our adult visitors to sip on an alcoholic beverage (or two) as they explore. We offer a variety of fun activities in Kansas City for adults to learn more about gardening and botany in a relaxed outdoor social environment.
Of course, there are always non-alcoholic options for our visitors who prefer them. Tickets for these adult programs generally include a complimentary beverage, alcoholic or non-alcoholic.
Horticulture Happy Hour
Throughout the year, our horticulturists lead happy hours to delve into select gardening topics. Your ticket will include at least two alcoholic (or non-alcoholic) beverages for you to enjoy, and many of our happy hours let you take home a plant yourself!
Tea at Powell Gardens
Experience a botanically inspired tea at Powell Gardens during Orchid Delirium. A champagne tea service complete with sparkling wine, botanical tea, and a selection of sweet and savory treats ushers in spring with cheer. Plus, enjoy a presentation about artwork during our Painted Garden exhibition and our other botanic collections!
Garden to Glass
While you may already know that grains are key ingredients in making alcohol, how exactly does it all work? That’s what our Garden to Glass series seeks to help visitors understand—while sipping from the beverage we’re talking about, of course.
Learning Opportunities for Adults
If you want to learn more about gardening at home, the experts at Powell Gardens are always happy to pass on their knowledge. Springtime is the ideal time to care for your seeds and plants, and you’ll want to get ahead after the last frost of the season but before the heat sets in.
Our gardening events help you navigate and develop your gardening for the coming year. Plus, any of these go well with a cocktail or other beverage to enjoy while you learn.
Here’s where you’ll learn the basics. We hold these classes for beginner gardeners throughout the year, but spring is a perfect time to begin your gardening journey!
These events take the classic lecture format to teach visitors about gardening topics. They allow us to dive deeper into the history, science, cultural significance, and gardening care of specific plants.
A workshop at Powell Gardens consists of developing new skills or deepening your knowledge about plants, nature, and the outdoors. Participants usually build or craft items like terrariums or outdoor decorations to take home with them.
Work & Learn
There’s nothing like hands-on learning, and our Work & Learn program is designed for you to roll up your sleeves and dig in. One of our staff members will guide you through various gardening techniques by practicing on our very own collections. And most lectures include a gift for participants to take home, whether it’s a treat, cocktail, or cutting related to the day’s lesson!
Other Spring Celebrations
While these celebrations certainly aren’t just for adults, they’re a great excuse to get out and about with your friends and loved ones. As summer approaches Powell Gardens, you’ll want to make the most of the pleasant spring air before it’s gone.
Each year, our Earth Day celebration looks a little different. Sometimes visitors help us toss seeds into our prairies or they craft projects out of recycled materials. But you can be sure that Powell Gardens will be taking the time on Earth Day to emphasize the conservation of our wildlife and the sustainability of our natural resources.
Kids can make their own May baskets and flower crafts, and adults can build their own bouquets, as a fun activity in Kansas City for adults and kids alike! We’ll have slightly different activities from year to year, but it’s a great opportunity to get out and welcome in warmer weather.
Mother’s Day Weekend
What’s a better way to celebrate with your mom than the great outdoors, complete with tea, brunch, snacks, and wine among flowers? Every spring, this weekend is full of great activities to show appreciation for your mother that you can both enjoy. (What’s more, moms get free admission during Mother’s Day weekend!)
Our yearly exhibition, Painted Garden, showcases the work of talented local artists that combines botany and art. The fresh spring blooms intertwined with stunning art give a whole new look to the entirety of Powell Gardens.
Get Started With Spring At Powell Gardens!
If you’ve never ventured out to Powell Gardens before, then you won’t want to miss out on spring blooms and activities. Even just a “normal” spring day at the Gardens is full of fun activities in Kansas City for adults!
And, if you’re wondering about the cost of these events, then you’ll want to know that members at Powell Gardens get free general admission and discounts on every event. Not to mention the many perks that come with supporting Powell Gardens! But most importantly, memberships help us further our mission of fostering the Midwest spirit of place with our botanical gardens.
The exact dates of our events vary from year to year, so follow us on social media or sign up for our newsletter to know when things are springing at Powell Gardens! Or you can check out our current events & calendar to see what’s coming up next.