The Monk Botanical Gardens: An Urban Sanctuary


Like the birch trees lining our Memory Plaza, the Monk Botanical Gardens continue to grow.

Located on Wausau’s West Side at 1800 N. First Ave., the 21-acre site was donated to the community by the Robert W. Monk family in the early 2000s. A board of directors was formed to plan its development. Important educational connections were established with the UW Marathon County and the Northcentral Technical College.

And today, the fruits of that labor are becoming apparent, to the delight of the Wausau community and the entire north central Wisconsin region. “A relaxing day is yours when you visit,” wrote one reviewer on Trip Adviser recently. Another said: “I recommend this for the whole family if you are looking for something to do.” A Facebook poster observed, “Gorgeous grounds, friendly staff, and plenty of shaded paths to explore with benches to take in the view and rest along the way. All three generations enjoyed our visit and we’ll definitely be back again!”

That’s the kind of reaction we’ve been hoping for as we’ve developed the Gardens. Today, you can read a book or sip a lemonade in the shaded Memory Plaza. If the breeze is up, the wind sculpture will turn like a quiet windmill. Or wander over to the new Meditation Garden and enter a world of Oriental plantings along the pond. Stroll north and west along the water to the Treehouse. Climb it for a nice view of the Pine Woods and beyond. Keep still; hear the birds; watch the clouds sail past.


Further on is our gazebo, another area—screened in—to sit and experience the spell of the natural world. The event lawn is nearby—a wonderful place for weddings, receptions, picnics, birthday parties.

Head back toward the gate on the main path and view the new Kitchen Garden being developed on your right. The “Potager”—or kitchen garden pavilion—is nearly complete, with pizza oven, bathrooms, and a gathering place for small meetings, classes, and meals. On raised beds we’ll soon be growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Throughout your tour, you’ll notice trees and plantings and benches in memory of loved ones and family members—gifts for which we are most grateful.

Of course, the Garden is more than a place of beauty. It bustles with activities all year long—from luminary evening snow shoe walks in winter, to the Egg Hunt and Plant Sale/Garden Flea Market in spring; to garden tours and bird walks all summer; to Autumn Fest in fall. We offer classes for young and old, letter boxing and geocaching, and the gardens are the site for activities by many local non-profits.


Visit, walk, jog, take pictures, read, relax, contemplate, find plants and flowers, encounter turtles and frogs, meet with friends and family, enjoy.

Oh, and think about volunteering or contributing so you have a personal stake in the growth and success of the Monk Botanical Gardens. Contact information is at the bottom of this page.