Sunken Gardens

The Sunken Garden with its brick walking path looping through the summer blooms.

Sunken Gardens features a new floral scheme designed by the Garden Artists every year. These displays feature over 30,000 different annuals.
The 2020 theme was “50 Shades of Pink” the 2021 theme is “Ruby Slippers”.

The only Nebraska garden to be listed in the “300 Best Gardens to Visit in the United States and Canada” by National Geographic’s "Guide to Public Gardens", this enchanting place is important to many. Formerly a neighborhood dumpsite, this 1.5 acres was first developed in 1930, and was transformed into an iconic feature of Lincoln. The Sunken Gardens have been the backdrop to decades of memorable occasions. 

Most recently renovated in 2005, improvements included handicap accessible entrances, walkways and parking, entry garden pavilion, new sculptural elements, restrooms, renovated lily ponds, restored cascading water feature, and additional lawn space for events.

Visitors can tiptoe through the tulips every spring, and watch the thousands of annuals and perennials bloom all summer long. The art installations, varied combinations of trees, shrubs, and perennials provide especially quiet and peaceful points of interest throughout the winter season. 

Admission is free, all are welcomed. Donations are accepted. Restrooms are open from April to October from 9 AM to 8 PM.


Features of the Sunken Gardens

Healing Garden

The Healing Garden (or White Garden) is located in the upper level of Sunken Gardens.  The design was inspired by the famous White Garden at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, England created in the 1930’s by Vita Sackville West and Harold Nicholson.  The gathering of white blossoms inspires calm, serenity and meditation.  Visitors are encouraged to experience the ethereal quality of the garden on moonlit summer evenings. 

Perennial Garden

Perennials are located throughout Sunken Gardens but are featured in the upper level on the north side near the "Rotary Pavilion" . There you will find varieties of sun and shade loving perennials including hostas, viburnum and hydrangeas. These plants provide inspiration to gardeners of all abilities looking to add perennials to their own gardens.  

Annual Garden 

Thousands of annuals are planted each year by staff and volunteers during the Wake up the Bed's event. They are planted corresponding to a different theme revealed each spring.  The garden themes are often influenced by conversations the gardeners have with those who come and enjoy the space. Garden themes have included "Tropicalismo" styled designs; themes inspired by, Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, Dr. Suess, Hachimaki – a stylized Japanese headband, "Power of the Peacock", "Purple Haze", "Solar Flair", and "Moon River".   

Water Features

The Sunken Gardens is home to two Lily Ponds and a cascading waterfall. In addition to providing habitat for aquatic plants, these features also bring the element of water into the garden. Not only lovely to look at, the sound of trickling water engages your senses creating a thoroughly relaxing, peaceful setting. The Lily Ponds bring even more life and beauty into the garden. The ponds are home to colorful and playful koi, hardy water lilies, lotus, and a rotation of tropical aquatic plants.  

Art Installations

Sunken Gardens is home to several of Lincoln's better known public art pieces. Through the generosity of several Lincolnites, the garden has been embellished with statues and sculptural elements since its creation in the 1930's. "Rebecca at the Well" once graced the bottom pool of the waterfall, but after decades of weathering her concrete form was retired and a bronze replica, "Rebekah at the Well", was placed at the top of the waterfall. "Reveilli" and "Kneeling Figure" can both be found in the upper level of the garden. "Rotary Pavilion" was added in the 2005 renovation, creating a welcoming plaza near the new parking lot, it's laser cut panels tell the story of the four seasons, featuring several whimsical landmarks.

Paving the Path

The brick path installation was part of the 2005 renovation. A way to memorialize loved ones, proclaim your love and support to the garden for future generations. Honor special friends or family members, celebrate graduations or weddings or commemorate holidays by purchasing an inscribed brick to be placed in the walkways at the renovated Sunken Gardens. 

One Flower Forever

One flower will be planted in honor of someone special, annually, at Lincoln's Sunken Gardens 'forever'. All donors receive a commemorative certificate suitable for framing which can be presented to the honoree or honoree's family. Names of honorees will be recorded in the inter-active kiosk at the Sunken Gardens Pavilion. 

Garden Manners

For everyone’s enjoyment of the garden, please: 

  • Do not pick the flowers or stand in the displays 
  • Attend to children at all times 
  • Stay on the paths and lawn areas 
  • Leash your dog; pick up and dispose of pet waste 
  • Walk your bicycle 
  • No skateboards or roller blades 
  • No swimming, wading or feeding the fish 
  • No smoking in the garden
  • Pick up and properly dispose of all trash 

For garden tours, please contact 402-441-8267.


Rent Period: 3 hours
Capacity: 56
Rental Fee: $180.00
Additional Hour: $60.00
Deposit: $100.00


Park areas are open to the general public during periods reserved for weddings and associated activities. Our staff work hard to keep our park and public garden areas beautiful, but weather happens. Please keep this in mind when scheduling your event.





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S 27th St & Capitol Pkwy, Lincoln 68502  View Map

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