Tag Archives: conservatory

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show


Bronx, New York

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

Saturday, November 15 – January 19, 2015

Who isn’t fascinated with model trains? One of the best displays anywhere is at the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show featured in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.

More than a dozen large-scale model railway trains—from late-1800s American steam engines and streetcars to modern freight and high-speed passenger trains and trolleys—traverse nearly a quarter-mile of track across rustic bridges, along overhead trestles, through tunnels, and past waterfalls that cascade into flowing creeks. More than 150 scaled iconic buildings, including the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, the Brooklyn Bridge, Radio City Music Hall, and the original Yankee Stadium. Thomas the Tank Engine is even there.

This year in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 New York’s World Fair held in Queens, the Holiday Train Show features replicas of the World’s Fair-famed Unisphere, observatory towers, and the Tent of Tomorrow at the New York State Pavilion.

Of interest is the Artist’s Studio, which shows how the replicas are constructed. Models in varying stages of completion, from the framing of the landmark structures to the addition of plant part details such as magnolia leaf roof shingle,s are on display.

Visiting- Holiday Train Show

Advanced reservations strongly recommended. Admission to the Holiday Train Show in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory is by advance timed ticket. Tickets sold in 15-minute increments.

Note: Strollers cannot be taken into the Conservatory, however stroller parking is available.


During the Holiday Train Show, November 15, 2014–January 19, 2015, The New York Botanical Garden is open Tuesday–Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Extended hours, 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Saturdays, November 15– January 17; Friday, November 28 (day after Thanksgiving); and December 20–January 1. The Garden is closed all day on November 27 (Thanksgiving) and December 25 (Christmas); it closes at 3 p.m. on December 12 and 24 (Christmas Eve).



Kennett Square: Longwood Gardens

Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Longwood orchid_house_vertLongwood Gardens

Recently included in TripAdvisor’s top 10 U.S. public gardens, Longwood Gardens is considered by many as one of the great botanical gardens of the world. In the early 1900s, industrialist and conservationist Pierre S. du Pont (1870-1954) decided to save a collection of historic trees from being sold for lumber and bought the small farm near Kennett Square where he proceeded to create the heart of today’s Gardens. In 1946, the Gardens were turned over to a foundation set up by Mr. du Pont.

Today, Longwood Gardens encompasses 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains and an extraordinary 4.5 acre conservatory. Longwood has 20 outdoor gardens, among the highlights:

Caryopteris Allee, or border of bluebeard, plus a rose garden, lilacs, peonies, wisteria, and much more.

Chimes Tower and waterfall features a waterfall and the 61-foot-tall Chimes Tower and the  62-bell Longwood Carillon.

The Topiary Garden has more than 50 specimens in 20 different shapes – from cubes and spirals and birds to a table and chair. The topiaries are sheared every July and August. There’s also an analemmatic sundial constructed by Mr. du Pont in 1939 which is accurate to within two minutes.

Bee-aMazed Children’s Garden takes its inspiration by honeybees, featuring three major areas: the Honeycomb Maze, Flower Fountain, and Buzz Trail.

Peirce’s Park, where some of the trees estimated to be more than 200 years old, has one of the finest collections of trees in the nation. Noteworthy plants: Canada hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), cucumber magnolia (Magnolia acuminata), tulip-tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), London plane-tree (Platanus xacerifolia), littleleaf linden (Tilia cordata)

Longwood Conservatory.  Pierre du Pont built his first conservatory so he could have oranges in the winter. While it didn’t work out for him, today there are oranges in the conservatory, along with a twenty different types of bananas, from the 30-foot plantain to dwarf varieties that can be grown in a container. The original Conservatory was built in 1919, but has been expanded to 4.5 acres which shelters 5,500 types of plants and 20 indoor gardens.  FYI, according to Longwood: “A leisurely stroll through the display areas takes about 1½ hours and covers about ½ mile.”

The conservatory includes roses, bonsai,  ferns (Noteworthy plants: Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata), rabbit’s-foot fern (Davallia fejeensis), staghorn fern (Platycerium), wooly tree fern (Dicksonia fibrosa), bird’s-nest fern (Asplenium nidus), maidenhair fern (Adiantum)). There’s also a display of plants found in Mediterranean-type climates.

Orchid House. The collection includes more than 3,200 different types of orchids with an estimated 200 to 500 plants at peak bloom at any one time. Noteworthy plants: cattleyas (Cattleya), lady-slippers (Paphiopedilum), pansy orchids (Miltonia), dendrobiums (Dendrobium), moth orchids (Phalaenopsis).

Longwood’s performance series. Longwood also has a tradition of showcasing top performing artists since du Pont first welcomed his good friend John Philip Sousa to the Conservatory Gardens in 1922.  More than 400 events are scheduled each year, from organ and carillon concerts to Open Air Theatre productions.

Longwood Gardens is located on Route 1 near Kennett Square, PA and is open daily. [ info ]

Grand Rapids: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Meijer Gardenssplash_sculpturepark

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Gardens equal art at the 132-acre Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

The Meijer Gardens highlights:

  • Five-story tropical conservatory where you’ll find a waterfall and tropical plants, including fig trees, banana trees, a variety of orchids and Asiatic bamboo.
  • English perennial garden originally planned by legendary garden designer Penelope Hobhouse, featuring a serpentine yew hedge and perennials such as scabiosa, daylilies and  eupatorium.
  • Kenneth E. Nelson Carnivorous Plant House, only plant exhibit in the U.S. dedicated to carnivorous plants. Includes Venus flytraps, pitcher plants, sundews and butterworts.
  • Gwen Frostic Woodland Shade Garden features trillium, hostas, goldenrod, bleeding hearts, baneberry, ferns, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, and azaleas and there’s also an English perennial and bulb garden.
  • Lena Meijer Children’s Garden gives children a truly interactive experience and plenty to do. Climb into the Treehouse Village via stairs or ramps, learn about plants in the kid-sense garden, explore a log cabin and the butterfly maze, or dig in the sand quarry to learn about fossils. There’s also a natural wetlands.

The 30-acre Sculpture Park hosts exhibitions as well as an astounding permanent collection of more than 180 works from artists such as Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, Roy Lichtenstein, George Segal, Mark di Suvero and many others. One of the featured attractions is Nina Akamu’s colossal sculpture The American Horse.

1000 East Beltline Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

North of I-96 on East Beltline, between Bradford St. and Leonard St.

Photo: Courtesy Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

[ info ]

Chicago: Garfield Park Conservatory

Orchids_Garfield Park Conservatory

Chicago, Illinois

Garfield Park Conservatory

Sometimes called “landscape art under glass” (or a visit a tropical island in the middle of Chicago), the Garfield Park Conservatory is also one of the five largest conservatories in the country and a Chicago gem that isn’t to be missed.

The Conservatory is almost five acres and the campus itself covers about 14 acres, with two acres of indoor display houses and 9 ½ acres of outdoor public gardens. Owned and operated by the Chicago Park District, thousands of plants are also grown there each year for displays in Chicago’s parks and public spaces.

What’s special?  Fern Room, Garfield Park ConservatoryThe Garfield Park Conservatory’s display houses include The Palm Room, with more than seven dozen varieties of palm trees, including the Double Coconut Palm; the Fern Room, gives a glimpse of what Chicago may have looked like millions of years ago.

Children's Garden, Garfield ConservatoryAnd, there’s plenty to keep children entertained as well in the Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden.

A hail storm in 2011 resulted in a great deal of broken glass, which local artists have used to create works of art that are for sale in the Gift Shop.

Opened in April of 1908, the 100+-year-old Conservatory is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Admission is free

Open year round

Daily Hours: 9 am – 5 pm

Wednesdays: 9 am – 8 pm

300 North Central Park Ave.
Chicago, IL 60624-1996

(312) 746-5100

[ info ]

Coral Gables: Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden


Coral Gables, Florida

Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden

The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has what’s been called the world’s greatest living collection of palms and cycads found in its 83-acres.

The Garden itself was named after the famous plant explorer David Fairchild (1869-1954) who retired to Miami in 1935. There, he teamed with Col. Robert H. Montgomery, a retired accountant, along with other horticulturists and plant enthusiasts and landscape architect William Lyman Phillips. Phillips, who was a member of the Frederick Law Olmsted partnership and a leading landscape designer in South Florida during the 1930s, provided the original design.

Today, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden showcases its extensive collections of rare tropical plants with Phillips’ classic landscape design.

Selby_Cattleya_luddenmanniana_smThe Fairchild rainforest is a two-acre, outdoor exhibit of tropical rainforest plants from around the world, especially plants of the American tropics. The adjacent conservatory contains rainforest plants that will not survive outdoors in subtropical south Florida.

What’s Special

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s DiMare Science Village covers more than 25,000 square feet and featuring five buildings including the Clinton Family Conservatory’s Wings of the Tropics Butterfly exhibit – with 3,000 butterflies.

Fairchild’s homeschool guided programs are especially designed for children between the ages of 5-12 and include hands-on lessons.

Fairchild also enjoys a global reputation as a conservation and education-based garden, with field programs in over 20 countries, including support to protected areas in Madagascar and Africa and botanic garden development and renovation projects in South and Central America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.


Located in metro Miami, just south of Coral Gables.

10901 Old Cutler Road

Coral Gables, FL 33156