Tag Archives: Janesville

Rotary Botanical Gardens

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Today’s post is not one of our County Parks and it’s so much more than just a park. It is, like so many others, one I had never been to and I must admit that the Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon. It’s filled with one stunning internationally themed garden after another. So much love and care goes into maintaining the grounds. It takes your breath away when you step out of the reception building and look around.

The gardens are located on Palmer Drive just south of the golf course. Parking is free. The lot is a very generous size and admission to the gardens is a reasonable $7.00 for adults over the age of 16 with seniors paying $6.00, children 6 to 15 as well as veterans $5.00, and under 6 is free. After paying, visitors are given a paper wristband to wear that indicates admission has been paid but also gives visitors access to the park throughout the day. If for some reason you must leave the park then wish come back that same day, it isn’t required to pay again as long as you have your wristband on! How cool is that?!  From May through August the Botanical Gardens are open from 8:30am to 8pm. Much of the park is wheelchair accessible making it a lovely outing for the whole family.

There are special events going on at the gardens throughout the year. Coming up on August 30 is a seminar on ornamental grasses. The gardens are available to rent for special events. I am told the Christmas Light Show is quite a spectacular sight. I will definitely check it out this December! You can find out more about upcoming events on their website they also have a Facebook page.

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The idea for what would become such a magnificent refuge from the outside world began with a retired Orthodontist named Dr. Robert Yahr in 1988. His dream was to create an internationally themed garden the community could enjoy. He contacted the two rotary clubs in Janesville at the time to see if they would be interested in joining together for the project. They did and in 1989 this absolutely stunning 20 acre complex of 25 themed gardens is the result.

My son and I were at the Botanical Gardens for about two hours and were not able to see all the gardens, so plan on making it a day. You won’t be sorry.

I will leave you with a slide show of the gardens we visited.

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Our County Parks

Walt Lindemann
Sportsman’s Park

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Continuing my goal of visiting and blogging about all of Rock County’s parks. We come to Walt Lindemann Sportsman’s Park. I’ve been aware of this park all my life, driven past it too many times to count but never checked it out. Well, a couple of days ago instead of driving by, My son and I went in and I must say I was pleasantly surprised.

This park area was created in 1967 and prior to 1979 was known as Sportsman’s Park. In February of 1980 the name was changed, adding Walt Lindemann. Mr. Lindemann served as county clerk from 1941 to 1972 and was concerned about the counties parks and recreational facilities.

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Sportsman’s Park is located on Hwy 51 in Janesville across from the County Health Department, south of Hwy. 14. It’s not a real large park, just nine acres, but it is quite a nice place. The parking lot is long, extending well into the park and is surrounded with a lovely rock border. There was a party being held in the pavilion when we were there and plenty of parking spaces were still available.

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The park amenities include a covered pavilion which can be rented for parties. There are a few grills and quite a number of picnic tables, some are handicap accessible. There is a drinking fountain, restrooms and trash bins at both ends of the parking area. The park also has a very nice playground area that is handicap accessible as well as some open areas for games. The park is nicely shaded by many large trees making it a nice place to sit on one of the wood benches and enjoy mature.

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There is also a pay telephone in the park! You don’t see them much anymore. Dogs are allowed in the park but must be on a 6 ft. leash and are only to be in the extreme eastern part of the grass at the edge of the park.

There are a couple of interesting things we discovered while visiting. Adjacent to the park are a deer enclosure and an old cemetery! The deer enclosure is a nice size and has from our count seven doe and three buck whitetail deer. The deer are owned by Scott, Jim and Nancy Schoonover which are Mystic Whitetails and are kept safe by two layers of fencing. In order to keep the deer safe it is requested that dogs not be in this area. The grass was quite tall and all we could see at first was heads sticking out. The enclosure has a couple of shelters allowing the deer to get in out of bad weather.

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It appears that at one point in time there was a pheasant brood and pen in the park. The pen is open for the deer now.

At the back of the park, tucked behind some trees is a fenced in area. I did a bit of research and discovered that back in the 1881, Rock County opened an asylum. In time it was apparent that there was not enough space and 350 acres was purchased and a larger facility was built that encompassed the insane asylum, county poor farm and county hospital. This cemetery must be what was a part of that complex. (future Rock County blog post topic!) You can’t see many marker stones and it was difficult to see if they were gone or replaced with flat markers. The area appears to be well maintained and I am glad of that.

Walt Lindemann Sportsman’s Park is a wonderful little gem tucked in the north west part of Janesville. Well worth a drive to enjoy. Like all county parks there is no fee to enter and is open from dawn to dusk. To rent the pavilion or seek more information about the park call the Rock County Parks Department at 608-757-5450. Have a great day!