Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Franklin Park Conservatory’

A Delightful Touch of Spring : Blooms and Butterflies

Franklin Park Conservatory

Franklin Park Conservatory

Ready for Spring? After a long, frigid winter, most of us are ready to watch the earth come back to life again with green plants and flowers. If you happen to crave the taste of spring, a trip to Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio will temporarily satisfy your longing for beautiful blossoms and greenery.

Butterfly on Bloom

Butterfly on Bloom

Right now, their theme of “Blooms and Butterflies” seems the perfect way to put a touch of spring in the air. Franklin Park Conservatory provides a wide variety of experiences from botanical gardens and greenhouses to art sculptures and glass exhibits. Those who enjoy flower gardening soak up the scents and admire the picture perfect displays. Visitors enjoy blooms at the conservatory all year long, but the butterflies are a special added attraction.

Beautiful orchids in various hues and scents

Beautiful orchids in various hues and scents

In the Dorothy M. Davis Showhouse, the featured blooms are “Orchids!”. Their varied orchids are much larger than most of us could hope to grow, but provide a peaceful place to relax and dream. Over 1000 orchids of all sizes and hues create a beautiful scene and scent. Soon spring blossoms outside will appear, including tulips, azaleas, lilies, and rhododendrons. Every season has its floral beauty at Franklin Park Conservatory.

Children are fascinated as they watch the butterflies emerge from their chrysalises. Parents have the chance to educate their youngsters on the life of the butterfly from the eggs they lay to the spinning of their protective covering before the appearance of a beautiful butterfly.

Peaceful Annie's Pond

Peaceful Annie’s Pond

Large displays of chrysalises at the Emergence Center give ample opportunity to watch the butterflies come to life. Everything from a small 1 ½” butterfly to a 12″ Attacus Atlas Moth might be making their premiere appearance as you watch.

When the butterflies first emerge, they may hang upside down for several minutes while their wings dry so they can fly away and explore some nearby blossoms. They must enjoy themselves quickly as their average life span is only about two weeks.

Inside the Pacific Island Water Gardens’ section of the conservatory, butterflies fill the air. At least 2000 butterflies are in this warm tropical paradise each day. A Butterfly Release occurs twice a day so the newly free can test their wings as they taste nectar from bright tropical blooms.

"The Sunset Tower" provides a gathering place for many butterflies.

“The Sunset Tower” provides a gathering place for many butterflies.

A favorite resting place for the butterflies was a beautiful piece of art by Chihuly, whose glass designs can be viewed throughout the conservatory. “The Sunset Tower”, in golden sunset tones, gave the butterflies a place to congregate peacefully.

Since most children desperately want an exotic butterfly to land on them for good luck, the naturalist often places the newly released butterfly on a child’s shoulder. Those who could sit still long enough were actually butterfly magnets, and might have three or four butterflies on their shirt. Watching the children brought to mind a piece of advice from Nathaniel Hawthorne:

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”

The next time you aren’t pleased with the weather and want to be surrounded by the beauties of nature, take a trip to Columbus and visit the Franklin Park Conservatory. As summer approaches, there is an outdoor butterfly garden to attract Native Ohio Butterflies. Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of “Blooms and Butterflies” this year with your family or friends. You won’t even think about the snow that fell during the winter!

Franklin Park Conservatory can be easily reached off I-70 in Columbus, Ohio using the Broad Street Exit. Turn right onto Broad Street and the conservatory is about one mile down Broad on the left hand side. Watch for entrance signs.

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Franklin Park Conservatory Botanical Gardens

Ah!  The beautiful fragrance as you approach the entrance to the Botanical Gardens.  It welcomes you to a day of relaxation and education.

At this time beautiful blown glass pieces by Dale Chihuly are the special exhibit.  So it is no surprise that when you enter the building there is a video of Chihuly showing many of his creations and techniques.  Since there are many gardens to see, after a few minutes we tear ourselves away from this interesting story.  Since my Dad was a glass blower, this was especially interesting to me.

Admission to the gardens is a very reasonable price, especially for seniors at $9 and free parking close to the entrance.  Would be an excellent place to have a membership if you lived in the area as they have interesting events and displays throughout the year.

Exhibits ranged from tropical plants to those of the desert.  For a person who enjoys plants, this is a perfect spot to spend a day or several days.  Waterfalls, rocks, and small pools made you feel that you were actually there. The tropical plants held a special interest to me on this day as they took me away to a different location in our world without leaving Ohio! Strategically placed blown glass bubbles and balls added to the beauty of the exhibits.

Overhead the skylights were filled with glass pieces designed by Chihuly. So you needed to keep on your toes not to miss another beautiful scene either around the bend, at your side, or overhead.

One of the busiest places was the butterfly exhibit in the tropical foliage and flowers of the Blooms & Butterflies Center. After you watched the butterflies emerge from their chrysalises, you could then see them released in the Pacific Island Water Garden.  This was a place of much excitement as the guide took them out one by one at first and let the children hold them.  They all had their fingers stretched out for a butterfly! The child in me got to hold one as well.

Checking out the gift shop finished our day there.  Had to buy a plant to take home as a memory of a day of exploring the Franklin Park Conservatory.  This is a place for a return trip especially during a different season of the year.  Wish I lived closer!

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