Downtown Concierge

Inside 43215: Franklin Park Conservatory - A Local Gem


inside 43215


Downtown Columbus

Spring is springing, albeit slower than we’d like. If you can’t get enough of gorgeous flowers and plants, maybe it’s time to visit one of the jewels of Columbus: Franklin Park Conservatory. From the permanent collections, to special events, to current exhibitions, there is something for everyone.

This week the Conservatory hosts its annual fundraiser known as Hat Day (or for the Francophiles, Les Chapeaux dans le Jardin). This one-of-a-kind event brings together guests sporting their finest hats (think Derby day) to eat, drink, visit and, this year, to enjoy special guest Tim Gunn, co-host of Project Runway. This event benefits the education and horticulture programs.

From now through June 2, the Seasonal Showhouse Display highlights the diverse plant species of Brazil in the Dorothy M. Davis Showhouse. These tropical plants and displayed through abstract design inspired by the work of Brazilian modernist landscape designer Roberto Burle Marx.

Blooms & Butterflies, an annual favorite for kids and adults alike, will be on display through September 2. Guests will see hundreds of butterflies flying freely in the Pacific Island Water Garden. Chrysalises of exotic species arrive weekly throughout the exhibition, with daily butterfly releases happening at 1 and 3 p.m.

The vibrant glass artwork of Dale Chihuly, which was first exhibited at the Conservatory in 2003, was purchased as a permanent collection by Friends of the Conservatory. Exhibiting the work in the natural light provided by the greenhouses and tucked among the plant collections makes it unforgettable.

And after seeing Chihuly’s work, you won’t want to miss one of the hottest stops at Franklin Park Conservatory –  the Hot Shop. Housed in an outdoor glassblowing pavilion, guests can enjoy daily demonstrations by local professional master glass blowers (known as gaffers) as they work with molten glass, transforming it into beautiful glass artwork. Demonstrations are held Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday, noon – 3 p.m.