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Dream about Spring at These Indoor Tropical Gardens

by Barbara Rogers

Feb 29, 2024

© Mkopka | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

When it’s too early to tiptoe through the tulips at show gardens across the United States, your family can stop to smell the roses — and a whole world of other flowers — inside soaring glass conservatories at some of the nation’s top botanical gardens. Until you can travel to explore open-air gardens, take your kids to explore one of these tropical worlds.


In the Brandywine Valley, near Wilmington, Delaware, the 4-acre Conservatory at Longwood Gardens is a soaring, glass-covered world of tropical flowers, tropical trees and greenery that change with the seasons. More intimate attached conservatories house roses, ferns, orchids and tropical fruit trees. Be sure to take kids to the delightful Indoor Children’s Garden to find secret green rooms, fountains shaped like birds and animals, and surprising discoveries.


In Washington, D.C., the United States Botanic Garden fills 10 indoor galleries with tropical greenery. In the spacious Garden Court, you can relax on benches under a leafy canopy of trees to admire the flowers. Another glasshouse is filled with varieties of cactus.


The Crystal Bridge Conservatory at Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City replicates two different climate zones and includes a tropical forest with a waterfall. More than 750 plant species find a home here. In Chicago, the free Garfield Park Conservatory is filled with tropical gardens, as well as a fern garden and fragrant orange trees. The Children’s Garden includes a play area.


Tropical plants thrive all winter, even in New York, where the huge domed Conservatory at The New York Botanical Garden creates spaces for aquatic plants, tropical rain forests and deserts filled with cactus. Through April 12, flowers meet haute couture as the Orchid Show features the colorful Florals in Fashion exhibition.


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