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Undercover at Golden Gate Park's Conservatory of Flowers

Welcome to Foliage Finder, where Curbed takes a look at public and private landscape projects around the Bay Area. Gardens will be chosen at random, but do drop us a line if you'd like to see a certain area featured.


Fact: One of the most photographed landmarks in San Francisco, the Conservatory of Flowers is the oldest glass and wood Victorian structure of its kind in Northern America. Delighting lovers of the natural world for over a century, this architectural gem underwent enormous millennial repairs and remains in top gothic form. How much will it cost me? $5 for San Franisco residents, seniors, youths and students; $8 for visitors; $2 for humans age 5-11, and free to anyone under 5. Find the latest on hours here.

What's so great about this garden?Glasshouses and conservatories were the Victorians' answer to industrialization and dense urban spaces. These "theatres of nature" were designed to bring the urbanite face to face with masterpieces of the natural world otherwise unavailable in city living. And while we're slightly more comfortable with industrialization than our 19th century counterparts, in 2014 we still hunger for green-space and experiences of nature to transport us out of city life one afternoon at a time. Plus this 16,800-windowed wonder is kept humid and hot for its 1,700 tropical plant species and will warm you right up on a rainy day.

Why visit now? After almost a year on display, there's only 2 weeks left to catch the Butterfly Exhibit (ending on March16th, 2014). Starting in April the garden will replace cuddly butterflies amidst beautiful daises and sunflowers with deadly carnivorous plants, including the alluring pitcher plants (Sarracenia and Nepenthes), the seemingly harmless looking butterwort (Pinguicula -- watch as it lures flies to their doom), and everyone's favorite wicked plant -- the Venus Fly Trap.
· The Conservatory of Flowers [Main Site]
Current Special Exhibits [the Conservator of Flowers Site]