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    Conservatory of Flowers: San Francisco's stunning botanical garden

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    Joel Fulleda

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    Golden Gate Park is a large park in San Francisco full of gardens, ponds and impressive buildings that house some of the most important museums in the city such as the California Academy of Sciences or the De Young Museum. At the entrance to the park is located the oldest surviving building in Golden Gate Park: the Conservatory of Flowers.


    • What is the Conservatory of Flowers
    • Where is it and how to get there
    • Timetables and tickets
    • Why visit and what to see
    • Where to sleep in the area

    What is the Conservatory of Flowers

    The Conservatory of Flowers is a botanical garden that houses rare and exotic plants from various parts of the world. This large green collection is housed in a building built in 1879, the oldest in the park. The Victorian mansion is also the oldest wood and glass conservatory in the United States. In 1971 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the American National Register of Historic Places.

    In its five galleries, you can find five different ecosystems, from the tropical forests of Sumatra to the rainforests of Ecuador. As you walk along the path that takes you to explore the various parts of this garden you will learn not only the beauty and diversity of the plants present in these ecosystems, but also their fragility. Preserving them, respecting them and taking care of them therefore becomes an obligation for anyone who cares about our planet.

    Where is it and how to get there

    The Conservatory of Flowers is located at 100 John F Kennedy Drive dentro al Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

    If you are in auto remember that the streets surrounding the garden, John F. Kennedy Drive to the south and Conservatory Drive to the north, east and west are pedestrian only. You'll find a few parking spaces on Nancy Pelosi Drive and Bowling Green Drive, both within walking distance of the Conservatory of Flowers. The most convenient paid parking to reach the garden, about 10 minutes on foot, is the Music Concourse Garage with entrance from Fulton Street and 10th Avenue.

    If you are in bike, you can leave it in the spaces provided in the Conservatory of Flowers: near the Dahlia Garden or the bathrooms on Conservatory Drive West.

    Lines public transport the best ways to reach the garden are the N-Judah and line 5. Also remember that on weekends you have the option of taking the Golden Gate Park Shuttle, the free bus that runs throughout the park and reaches the main attractions that this huge green space has to offer: the California Academy of Sciences, the De Young Museum, the Japanese Tea Garden and of course also the Conservatory of Flowers.

    Some insights to better orient yourself in the city:

    • Getting around in San Francisco
    • How to rent a bike in San Francisco
    • Tips for car rental in San Francisco
    • Where to park in San Francisco

    Timetables and tickets

    The Conservatory of Flowers is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 00pm. The last admission allowed is at 16pm. The garden also remains open during some important American holidays such as Memorial Day, Labor Day and Independence Day while it is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas days as well as January 00st. On 1 December it closes at 24:14 pm instead of 00:16 pm.

    Tickets can be bought both online and directly at the entrance.

    The cost of ticket and of:

    • $ 10 for adults
    • $ 7 for 12-17 year olds, 65+ and students
    • $ 3 for children between 5 and 11 years old.

    The garden is free for children under 4 years old. San Francisco residents are entitled to a discount on their admission ticket.

    If you are in San Francisco on the first Tuesday of the month take advantage of it because the entrance to the garden is free for anyone who wants to enjoy a few hours in this green paradise.

    Why visit and what to see

    The historic building that houses the greenhouses of this botanical garden is one of the most photographed in San Francisco and it is actually particularly suggestive: it takes you back in time. The structure is also visible simply from the outside, so a photo is a must.

    Whether you are a botanist, a simple lover of rare plants, but even if you don't know what it means to have a green thumb, entering and walking in this well-kept place will take you to another era and is a good way to disconnect from the San Francisco frenzy for a few hours and regenerate.

    The Conservatory of Flowers is divided into various areas:

    • the Palm Terrace, the Terrace of the Palms;
    • in front of the two sides of the building are the Terrace Lawn West (the lawn of the West Terrace), and the Terrace Lawn East (the lawn of the East Terrace);
    • the Vestibule, the entrance to the main building;
    • Lowland Tropics, the tropical plant area of ​​the flat areas;
    • Potted Plants, potted plants;
    • la West Gallery;
    • Highland Tropics, the area of ​​tropical plants present in territories at higher altitudes;
    • Aquatics, the area of ​​aquatic plants;
    • The Lily Pad, an area outside the main building that houses the water lilies;
    • The Orchid Pavillion, the orchid pavilion, also an area detached from the main building and probably a favorite of the many visitors who cross the entrance to the garden every year.

    Where to sleep in the area

    The Golden Gate Park area is very popular during the day for the many attractions it offers. However, if you are looking for a place to stay, I recommend that you read our article on where to sleep in San Francisco to choose a safe and well-connected neighborhood to spend your nights in the city.

    Our tips for sleeping in San Francisco

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