The arrival garden is the first visual experience visitors encounter when entering the garden. Guests are welcomed by displays of perennials and colorful annuals that lead to the visitor and education center as well as a hillside of wildflowers.
This garden also features the Tony and Mary Seina Family Gazebo, featuring one of three breathtaking chandeliers created by Lorelei Sims of Charleston, Ill. The chandelier was inspired by the traditional gardening practice of hanging a fern basket inside garden gazebos. The fern basket is made of wrought iron and copper and weighs approximately 450 pounds.
A fountain in tribute to Helena Street, a former garden columnist for the Omaha World-Herald, is located next to the gazebo near the front entrance. Her vision of a botanical garden for Omaha launched the idea to create what is now Lauritzen Gardens.
Colorful seasonal plant displays surround the visitor, providing a sense of serenity and peace as the first impression of Lauritzen Gardens. The arrival garden can be seen from Interstate 80, attracting people to stop and see what the garden has to offer.
Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Memorial Foundation Parking Garden
Sponsored by the Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Memorial Foundation, this garden is unlike any other parking facility in the region. Visitors are greeted with a naturalistic landscape which includes native trees, shrubs, prairie grasses, intermittent streams and ponds filled with interesting aquatic plants.
Gracing the edge of the main pond in the parking garden is “Dawn Sentinels.” This piece beautifully depicts a pair of great blue herons. The majestic bronze sculpture is six feet tall and one of the birds appears to be preparing to take flight, demonstrating a nearly six-foot wingspan. It is an impressive sight as guests walk toward the visitor and education center. Bob Guelich, an award-winning San Antonio sculptor, created the piece.
Also located in the parking garden, the Lewis and Clark icon is one of nine on the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Trail along the Missouri River. Visitors can create their own journey of discovery along the trail while learning about the historic expedition. The artistic piece on the icon was created by local artist, Kristin Pluhacek. The painting on metal was inspired by the Osage orange tree, collected and described by Lewis and Clark. Also known as bow wood, this tree was highly prized by Native American tribes for making bows.