Phipps Conservatory

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One of my favorite stops in Pittsburgh was at the #PhippsConservatory, a #publicgarden that was offered as a gift to the city from Henry W. Phipps, and opened in 1893. Encompassing the indoor gardens was a grande #glass structure that fit beautifully in the green space just outside the towering buildings that make up downtown, with the added bonus of an award winning #cafe offering certified #greenmenu options found just in the entryway. Once inside, you have the option of taking the elevator or stairs up to the #botanical displays that branch out on both sides of the main hall…tickets for those 18 and under are $11.95, while adults are $17.95, giving untimed access to roam the various #exhibits and learn something about #horticulture. I especially liked the #VanGogh in Bloom, which showed the plant life that inspired some of his most known #artwork, and thoroughly enjoyed the hidden #treasures of art and #whimsy displays throughout the gardens.

They had a #Cuba exhibit with beautiful displays of native plants and interactive stations that allowed us to understand their #mysterious #ecosystem. Cuba is the most biologically dense and diverse #island in the #Caribbean, and we truly enjoyed the #waterfalls, streams, orchids, #ferns and rare cycads along peaceful walkways. We were able to take a picture in a 1949 #Chevy Fleetline, and walk through a traditional Cuban #farmacia, but my favorite moment was taking a ten minute break in some #rockingchairs as we listened to the peaceful sounds of rushing water and native #birds. My son sat there peacefully with me, without bringing out his phone, so I knew it was something #special. The #vibrant #colors, #tropical ambiance, and #exotic smells made me want to take a #vacation from our vacation, somewhere #warm and #sandy.

The #miniaturerailroad garden had the sweetest display of #trains circling a foundation of real dirt and plants that made up tiny #farms, complete with waterworks, #windmills, and figurines. Beautiful hanging plants, sculpted #bushes, landscaped #flowers, and indoor water features were some of the fun views found inside the #conservatory, while outside were pretty displays of themed #trees, #plants and flowers. The #Japanese Courtyard Garden had the cutest #bonsai around the perimeter of a small bridge and pond found outside of their cacti and succulents display. I have always had a fascination with trees, so the art form of #cultivated mini trees in containers is high on my interest radar. However, I would never have the #patience or forethought to produce one of my own…I enjoy #finding gardens to #explore and #admire, leaving the care and upkeep to the professionals. Phipps was a pleasure to #roam around, and would love to come back one day.

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