The Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California.

The Conservatory of Flowers is nestled off of John F Kennedy drive in the corner of the Golden Gate park in San Francisco California. We visited early on a Saturday morning, when the fog hadn’t quite lifted and the locals hadn’t yet headed out to spend a day relaxing on the lush greenery in front of the conservatory. 

A little history…

At over 100 years old, it is the oldest wood and glass conservatory open to the public in North America. Since it’s original construction, it has faced a number battles by way of accidents and natural disasters, including boiler explosions, fires and wind storms. During a wind storm in 1995, the conservatory smashed and plants were destroyed causing the park to close until 2003 when it was reopened after fundraising enabled the repairs to be made. 

The design of the conservatory was based on London’s Kew Gardens as this was a typical Victorian style and construction based on early mass production techniques. The most striking characteristic of the the glasshouse are the coloured windows around the edge. When walking through the tropical plants, light shines through the windows creating colourful dapples that contrast with the lush green foliage inside. 

The conservatory is divided into 4 main sections; Aquatic Plants, Highland Tropics, Lowland Tropics and Potted Plants. It also has a section which features special exhibitions- at the time of our visit the exhibition on display was The Wild Bunch- Succulents, Cacti and Fat Plants- right up our street!

Why we loved it:

  • Its relatively small size means it attracts a far smaller crowd than the nearby Botanical Gardens and you can wander round far more easily and at your own leisure. 
  • We loved the rotating exhibitions and the exhibition we visited suited our interests perfectly!
  • It only costs $8 per person for admission
  • it has a really cool gift shop selling more modern items that we usually see as well as selling a small selection of cacti and succulents! (bad point; we couldn’t bring any home with us)
  • On the first Tuesday of the month it's free to get in!