As San Francisco California is my new city (kind of at least, I spend enough time there and live close enough haha) I thought it would be fun to do a slow guide to the city Place by Place. To start this ongoing series I thought I would highlight one of my favorite spots the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. I am lucky to spend a lot of time at the Conservatory as I am a Volunteer photographer for special events held at the garden and has given me a unique perspective on this historic place
The Conservatory of Flowers has been an institution in San Francisco since it opened to the public in 1879 though while still popular now it is an often overlooked attraction of Golden Gate Park to those just passing through the city. This could be attributed to the severe damage incurred during a storm in 1995 that kept the Conservatory closed until 2003 until funding was raised to fix the damage and the fact that the building is located just off the general tourist route of Golden Gate Park (though not far at all). It should be on everyone’s list though as it is a truly unique place to visit.
If you don’t have time to check out the exhibits the building itself is quite the sight in all it’s Victorian era glory, during the time of it’s construction it was popular for the wealthy to buy these greenhouse kits and have them built on their sprawling estates. Very few of these impressive Conservatories remain due to their fragile nature and expensive upkeep which makes it even more impressive that the Conservatory of Flowers was able to survive 138 years and it’s share of damage.
The Conservatory is separated into 4 rooms focusing on a different grouping of plants. You enter into the Lowland Tropics and then have the option to explore to the right entering the Highland Tropics which leads to the Aquatic Room. The Aquatic Room is the warmest in the conservatory and also happens to be my favorite. The Water Lilies are impressive and the room has such a magical quality to it. If you head left of the main entrance you walk into the potted plant room which features a lovely round window gazebo which makes for some great photographic framing. The potted plant room leads into the gift shop which leads into the special exhibit room. Until January 2018 the special exhibit is Butterflies and Blooms which is an interactive exhibit with real butterflies. It is quite a unique and fun experience if you have the chance to visit during this time.
The Conservatory of Flowers contains a large collection of unique plants that are sure to entertain even the most amateur botanist and photography lover. Currently the big plant attraction is the soon to bloom Corpse Flower in the Potted Plant room. I am hoping it blooms next week when I will be back for the Summer of Love event!