Pittsburgh is a culturally rich city with a variety of educational and enriching experiences the whole family can enjoy. The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is among the elite of the many cultural destinations this great city has to offer. With a history stretching all the way back to the late 19th century, Pittsburgh parents have been bringing their families here to learn all about a wide range of plants for 125 years.
If you’re looking to bring your kids to a place where they can view and learn about different types of plant life from all over the world without leaving the city, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a must-see. Some of the favorite aspects of this breathtaking facility amongst our staff of Pittsburgh adoption agents include:
Friday Nights of Winter Lights
The weekly Friday night winter light show is running at Phipps through February 9th. We highly recommend taking a trip here within the next couple of weeks to witness this spectacle before it ends. The show began with the Winter Flower Show and was extended because of the overwhelmingly positive response. Orbs, trees, and fountains lit up with breathtaking lights abound throughout the Outdoor and Children’s Discovery Gardens, along with the interiors of the Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show and the Garden Railroad. The facilities are gorgeous year-round, but this luminous light show is an extra-special winter treat.
Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show
The annual Orchid and Tropical Bonsai show showcases hundreds of beautiful orchids and an extensive display of tropical bonsai trees. Highlights include miniature orchids, exotic and rare hybrids, and one of the world’s most renowned collections of slipper orchids. This year’s show has several unique new features, including:
- Six 5-foot-diameter Phalaenopsis orchid spheres suspended over the Sunken Garden
- Oversized container baskets planted with a variety of orchids on display in the Palm Court and Sunken Garden
- 6-foot and 9-foot tall metal tree frames planted with the mix of orchids in the Sunken Garden
- Three stories of bonsai
Garden Railroad: Treasure Island
The latest installation of the Garden Railroad series features a Treasure Island theme. Located in the South Conservatory, families can journey through Treasure Island and search for their own treasure, be entertained by hilarious pirate jokes, and interact with miniature trains traversing an island full of live plants and pirate props.
While the rotating exhibits offer variety and unique experiences, Phipps’ permanent collections may be our favorite aspect of these state-of-the-art botanical gardens. The permanent plant collections on display here include:
- Orchids – Including Lady Slippers, Dendrochilums, Dendrobium Speciosums, Red Dragons, Bulbophyllums, Cynoches, and Vandas.
- Bonsai – Silverberries, Weeping Figs, Natal Plums, Japanese Mock-Oranges, Chinese Elms, Japanese White Pines, and Bald Cypresses.
- Desert Plants – Joshua Trees, Saguaros, Palo Verdes, Fire Barrels, Cape Aloes, Tortoise Shell Plants, Bushman Poison Bulbs, African Tree Grapes, Sunrise Tequila Agave, and Shaving Brush Trees.
- Ferns – Munch’s Cycads, Eastern Cape Cycads, Zululand Cycads, Queen Sagos, Staghorn Ferns, Austrailian Tree Ferns, Tasmanian Tree Ferns, Tongue Ferns, Bear’s Paw Ferns, and Rabbit Foot’s Ferns
- Fruits and Spices – Miracle Fruit, Lychee, Allspice, Prickly Apple, Pomelo, Dragon Fruit, Loquat, Guavas, Jaboticaba, and Meyer Lemons.
- Natives – Giant Hyssop, Nodding Onion, New England Aster, Eastern Prickly Pear, Hoary Skullcap, Bearberry, American Hazelnut, Bayberry, Fragrant Sumac, and New Jersey Tea.
- Outdoor Gardens – Japanese Stewartia, Jack in the Pulpit, Fern Leaf European Beech Tree, English Oak, Hardy Begonia, Peegee Hydrangea, Weeping Beech, Star Magnolia, Garden Heliotrope, and Bush Clover.
- Palms – Bermuda Palmetto Palm, Triangle Palm, Acai Palm, Carnauba Wax Palm, Fiji Fan Palm, Puerto Rican Hat Palm, Flame Thrower Palms, European Fan Palm, and Tailpot Palm.