Ohio Girl Travels

Franklin Park Conservatory

With the holiday season upon us, I visited the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens for their annual Merry and Bright holiday celebration. It was the perfect place to get into the festive spirit of the holidays while exploring the beautiful foliage throughout the conservatory!

The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is located just two miles east of downtown Columbus. The beautiful Conservatory and glass Palm House is nestled in the 88 acres of Franklin Park. The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens provides visitors with lovely nature-based exhibits, seasonal horticulture designs, and stunning glass artwork from Dale Chihuly. Outside, visitors can stroll throughout Franklin Park to find botanical gardens, art sculptures, a one-mile walking path, and the Scotts Miracle-Gro Community Garden Campus. Inside visitors can enjoy the warm and tropical temperatures (the perfect escape from winter weather) and explore the different biomes throughout the Conservatory. The Conservatory consists of over 400 different species of plants located in the Himalayan Mountain Biome, Rainforest Biome, Desert Biome, the Pacific Island Water Garden, and the Dorothy M. Davis Showhouse. Connected to the Dorothy M. Davis Showhouse, is the John F. Wolfe Palm House, which are the oldest sections of the Conservatory and date back to 1895. Within the Palm House, over 40 species of palms from around the world invite you into this tropical paradise. With wonderful ambience, lush green plants, and radiant natural light from the glass ceiling above, the Palm House is one of my favorite rooms at the Conservatory!

The Himalayan Mountain Biome showcases numerous species of plants that have adapted to the harsh environment of the Himalayan Mountains. Trees, shrubs, flowering plants, and vines are displayed throughout this biome and several pieces of glass artwork by Dale Chihuly adds wonderful color to this primarily green and brown habitat.

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The Rainforest Biome has tropical temperatures year-round, and showcases the diversity of plant species in tropical rainforests throughout the world. With large canopy leaves, a water feature, and a canopy bridge that provides views from above. This biome is also home to the resident Macaws, Mic and Max, whose voices greet you as you walk through this green and lush environment.

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The Desert Biome houses several species of cacti and succulents. Explore this desert environment that is a stark contrast to our Ohio landscape. For the holidays, poinsettias were placed within the cacti and succulents for an added pop of color.

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The Pacific Island Water Garden is a beautiful display of tropical plants, water features including a koi pond, and several stunning glass Chihuly artwork pieces which are displayed wonderfully throughout the biome. Climb the stairs to the top of the thatched-roof lookout for wonderful views of this environment. The Pacific Island Water Garden is also the home to the annual Blooms and Butterflies exhibit.

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The Dorothy M. Davis Showhouse is an historic glass house built in 1895. The Showhouse changes with the seasons and exhibitions throughout the year. During the Merry and Bright exhibit, the glass house showcases beautiful red and white seasonal foliage. The centerpiece of the glass Showhouse is the 15-foot tall poinsettia tree. With alternating white and red poinsettias, the tree is absolutely gorgeous! The Showhouse is the perfect place to sit on a bench and enjoy the beauty of the season! Especially in the evening when soft natural light comes in through the numerous glass windows, and the holiday lights twinkle all around you!

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The Merry and Bright exhibit celebrates the holiday season. With beautifully placed holiday-themed displays, a Gingerbread House Competition, live holiday entertainment, and holiday lighting that enhances the already spectacular Conservatory. Late evening hours allows visitors to view the holiday lights, warm-up by an inviting bonfire and enjoy hot beverages. Holiday-themed family and children activities make this a great place to visit for all ages. The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is the perfect place to celebrate the holiday season!

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A visit to Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is wonderful any time of the year, but during the holiday season, the Merry and Bright exhibit makes it extra special. Unlike any other attraction in Columbus, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is the perfect place for nature lovers, horticulture enthusiasts, and visitors of all ages to enjoy the wonderful display of natural exhibits, hundreds of plant species, art sculptures, gardens, and educational opportunities. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!

Thanks for reading!

Heather

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