Missing Flowers in Winter? Visit a Conservatory!
Enjoy the beauty of flowers in any season by taking a stroll in a conservatory. We've rounded up four gorgeous ones across America that you should visit.
If you are in need of a change of scenery and want to enjoy gorgeous blooms, taking a trip to a nearby garden conservatory may be just the ticket. (If you need a touch of spring in your own garden, here are 22 early blooming flowers.) Venture into these glass houses to feel the warm air on your skin, inhale the sweet scents of tropical flowers and hear the soothing sounds of water.
Note: Due to ongoing COVID-19 safety measures, be sure to either call ahead or check a conservatory’s website for the latest information on visiting guidelines and hours. If you’re not comfortable visiting this year, these destinations will be there to wow you when you’re ready.
Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, St. Paul, Minnesota
Lushly exhibiting more than 2,000 plant species, this conservatory offers an immersive tropical plant experience. The popular Sunken Garden is split in two by a keyhole-shaped ribbon of water and is filled with seasonal flowers throughout the year. Come in the spring to see swaths of colors as tulips, daffodils and lilies bloom. The palm dome houses more than 150 palms. There visitors can sit, relax and savor the sun streaming through the glass ceiling. In the fern room, the misting system creates a humid atmosphere that is pleasant and awakens the senses.
Learn more: comozooconservatory.org
Love flowers? Check out the best national parks to visit for spring wildflowers.
Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, Rockford, Illinois
The relaxed atmosphere at this facility makes it a favorite for families with young children. At 11,000 square feet, the Nicholas Conservatory is one large tropical garden with a variety of fruit trees and flowers. Kids and adults alike enjoy the indoor koi pond.
“Just feeling the humidity, smelling a little dirt and interacting with something green in winter does wonders for the soul,” says Lyndi Toohill, the conservatory’s operations manager of education and programming.
The conservatory was built to be green—it has solar panels, a green roof garden and a geothermal heating and cooling system.
Learn more: nicholasconservatory.com
Inspired to plant a garden with your kids? Check out 16 easy flowers anyone can grow.
Lauritzen Gardens Conservatory, Omaha, Nebraska
Designed to mimic the seasonal temperatures in southeastern locations such as Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, this conservatory feels like a vacation. It’s divided into three parts: a tropical house, a temperate house and a gallery featuring occasional floral displays.
Walk into the tropical house, and you’ll see a 10-foot waterfall and collections of aquatic plants, ferns and palms. As you explore, stop often and turn around for different perspectives. The tropical house is humid, warm and green year-round. In the early spring, southern magnolias bloom in the temperate house, which also features a live oak.
Learn more: lauritzengardens.org
Pick one (or a few!) of these easy-to-grow houseplants to create your own indoor sanctuary.
Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory, Grand Rapids, Michigan
With a five-story-tall collection of plants from tropical regions all over the world, waterfalls, streams, and butterflies flitting about during March and April in an annual exhibition, the conservatory is an oasis in spring. Located within the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, it mimics a Southern climate with 85-degree weather. The sounds of waterfalls and tropical birds such as red-legged honeycreepers and turquoise tanagers will transport you instantly to a warmer place.
The orchid wall features over 3,500 plants, and the arrangement is ever changing. The conservatory’s collection of plants includes cacao trees, a Bismarck palm tree and fragrant orange jessamine.
Learn more: meijergardens.org
Need more places to avoid the snow and cold? Check out the top birding trips to escape the winter months.