Botanical Bonanza

Botanical Bonanza

Fall Festival

October 5 & 6

Assistive Listening Devices available iconIt’s time for a Bell celebration of the fascinating world of plants! After spending the summer watching them bloom and grow, join us this fall to explore some unique uses for botanical items, discover UMN research lending insight into how plants grow and evolve, and learn more about their hidden (and sometimes dangerous) side.


Walk the halls of a ramshackle manor and encounter over 100 fascinating plants with the Wicked Plants exhibit. Inspired by author Amy Stewart’s best-selling book, “Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother and other Botanical Atrocities,” the exhibit offers a fun, safe and educational way to experience some of nature’s most toxic flora, from the putrid odors of stinking iris to the deceptively dangerous teddy bear cholla.


Enjoy talks throughout the day with UMN researchers and community experts.

October 5
11:30 am—Artur Stefanski, Department of Forest Resources
1 pm—Brett Arenz, Department of Plant Pathology
2:30 pm—Ashley Powell, Department of Horticultural Science

October 6
11:30 am—Jerry Cohen, Department of Horticultural Science
1 pm—Nick Greatens, Department of Plant Pathology

Interactive stations

Delve into the good, bad and ugly in the botanical world with learning stations throughout the museum.

Art Making

Create your own plant-based gifts and art. You can make a wicked plant sun catcher, create your own blend of tea, piece together a leaf critter, and draw plants on a microscopic level.


  • Urban Roots: Learn more about the effects of invasive buckthorn on native ecosystems from youth conservation interns (Saturday only).
  • Alan Bergo, Forager Chef, will discuss black walnut toxicity and offer a tasting of candied black walnuts (Saturday only).
  • Ramsey County (UMN) Master Gardeners will share displays on poisonous plants.
  • Minnesota Master Naturalists will share activities and information on Minnesota plants and invasive species.
  • Bell Museum curators Tim Whitfeld and Ya Yang will share items from our herbarium collection and display carnivorous plants.
  • Graduate students in the Department of Plant Pathology will explore ergot and its unique effects on humans (Sunday only).