Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park: Part 1, The Lowland Tropics

On Sunday, Lastech and I went adventuring in the city. San Francisco has many beautiful places and sometimes we like to be tourists for a day.  We had never been to the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, so we decided it was time. Now we wonder what took us so long. The day was sunny and the visit was beautiful. I took so many pictures that they will come in installments.

Anyone who comes to San Francisco should try to find the time to visit the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. Opened to the public 1879, it is the oldest building in the park. It houses around 1700 plant species. The orchid collection is said to be one of the best.

Conservatory of Flowers
Conservatory of Flowers

The Conservatory of Flowers is located at 100 John F. Kennedy Drive. It is accessible for motorized and non motorized wheelchairs. Strollers are not permitted inside, but there is a place to park them while you explore. As it is a greenhouse, it will be quite warm and humid inside. As it can be rather cold outside, be sure to wear removable layers. It is open Tuesday thru Sunday from 10am to 4:30pm. The cost is $7 for adults, $5 for ages 12-17, seniors 65 & over, and college students with school ID. $2 for children 5 – 11 and free for children 4 and under. Local residents receive a discount with proof of residency.

Note: On Sundays, John F. Kennedy Drive is closed to vehicular traffic. For those who don’t mind walking, you can just park on Martin Luther King Drive and walk to the Conservatory.

As I noted earlier, the Conservatory of Flowers was opened to the public in 1879. The architecture is said to have been inspired by London’s Kew Gardens. It is of wood and glass construction. The original wood used in construction was coastal redwood.

Once at the Conservatory you enter via the vestibule to the 60 foot high pavilion. This part of the Conservatory houses the Lowland Tropics plants. These are plants that grow in the low-lying tropical forests found in Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia at altitudes less than 3,000 feet.

This area houses plants such as coffee, bananas, cacao, cycads, and a 100 year old imperial philodendron.

I hope you enjoy the following pictures and with luck, they will inspire you to visit the Conservatory of Flowers one day.


Next time we’ll explore the Potted Plant Gallery.

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