We recently spent a morning in the Golden Gate Park and visited the Flower Conservatory (US$7 per adult), which is located off John F. Kennedy drive, about 10 minutes walk past the de Young Museum. We enjoyed walking through the rooms featuring exotic, mostly tropical zone, plant life and flowers housed in a lovely Victorian-era conservatory building.
The Conservatory is just lovely to look at, especially on a bright and sunny day, which we were fortunate to have. It immediately makes one think of Livingston, Darwin and an era of discovery long gone by. This was a nice way to start a visit and helped set the mood for what one is to expect.
As for the Conservatory collection, we most enjoyed the aquatic plant gallery and the huge lily pads found there. The Highland Topics room was also very interesting and we quite enjoyed seeing the orchids throughout. Orchid plants are particularly special in our part of the world. We were happy to see how vibrant and well cared for they seemed to be at the Conservatory.
Of much interest, there is a free Dahlia Garden just east of the Conservatory building that was probably the highlight of this visit. The Dahlias were in full bloom last month and made a visual feast of bright and beautifully arranged colours. We could have spent an hour here had we not been short on time.
Overall, we enjoyed out visit to the Conservatory and would recommend to visitors who have interest in botany, especially to those keen on what tropical region vegetation.
Hint: Do be prepared or an adjustment to the very high humidity levels in the Conservatory. This can affect those with asthma or respiratory conditions so you need to be prepared for that. Also, long straight hair will be a bit wavy if you stay inside too long.
Hint: Also keep in mind that the lovely Dahlia Garden can be visited free. Its immediately outside the main building no more than 20 meter walk, in plain view from the building entrance.
Another similar experience in the Golden Gate Park is the San Francisco Botanical Garden, found on Martin Luther King Jr Dr. (9th street coming into the Park) if you go west past de Young Museum. This is a good, 26-acre garden with a wide selection of outdoor vegetation and flowers found locally in California as well as from around the world. It makes a good complimentary visit to the Conservatory.
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