Home to 2000 species of plants and flowers, the Conservatory of Flowers is a botanical treasure conserving the natural beauty of rare plants from the most remote tropical locations across the globe. It comes as no surprise that this iconic landmark at the entrance of Golden Gate Park is listed on the country’s National Register of Historic Places.
The Conservatory of Flowers and its historical wood and glass Victorian Structure date back to 1879. The structure was originally purchased by James Lick, who died before it was built. The construction was later financed by a group of wealthy individuals who donated it to the city of SanFrancisco. While many similar structures were being commissioned at the time, most of which have been lost throughout the years making this structure the oldest one in North America. In 1995 a storm severely damaged the Conservatory, requiring a $25 million investment and 8 years to refurbish and restore.
The Conservatory is divided into 5 different ecosystem galleries, each bursting with colors and scents, offering a multi-sensory experience. Visitors can walk through a jungle landscape with a waterfall featuring Low Land tropical flora, such as pineapple, coffee bean, and guava trees. Followed by an Aquatic Plant Gallery, where visitors can be amazed by Giant Lilies with leaves close to 6 feet in diameter, as well as a selection of carnivorous pitcher plants. The third gallery features an avast range of potted plants in unique pots many of which highly artistic. The fourth gallery is suggestive of a cloud forest environment and boasts an impressive selection of orchids, moss, and ferns. Visitors can also check out one of the special exhibits that are organized throughout the year.
The Conservatory is open between 10 am and 4:30 pm from Tuesday to Sunday, with tickets at $9per adult, with concessions being made for seniors, students, children, and San Francisco residents. The Conservatory organizes various events throughout the year such as Botanical and Brews BeerGarden from June to November and Night Bloom from November to early January, where lights and sounds are used to provide a sensory experience of a realistic interactive jungle.
The Conservatory of Flowers is simply remarkable, with new flowers blooming every day. Even the impeccably kept lawns at the front side of the conservatory are worth visiting. Not to mention that a short walk also leads to the 55 acres of San Francisco Botanical Garden with more than 8000 species of plants.