Thursday, June 27, 2013

Allan Gardens Conservatory - Toronto

A plant of some kind.  I am sure of it.  I have several more pictures of
beautiful plants that I can't identify!  I need to take better notes of what I am looking at.
Allan Gardens is a huge beautiful building that houses thousands of plants and it is right smack down town in Toronto.  It is also free which makes it even more awesome.  The Conservatory is made up of six greenhouses, two that are home to tropical plants, the palm house, the cool temperate house, the arid house and the tropical landscape house.  Each one features plants from all over the world.
Hanging out in the cactus area.
My kids have been twice and loved it both times.  Now, I will grant you that my kids like plants a little more than the average kid - my youngest daughter has a tshirt with Katherine Essau, "famous" for her work on the sugar beet on it, but still most kids will get a kick out the gardens.  There are so many interesting plants to look at and touch and smell that everyone should find something to tickle their fancy.    My kids particularly liked the arid house which has the cacti.
This was my favourite.  You can't see it very well here but it totally
looks like it has eyeballs on  top of its head!
The Palm House is a beautiful building, made of iron and glass with stone walkways and lovely benches to sit on.  Some of the palms reach almost to the roof of the building.
The Palm House at Allan Gardens.  Built in 1910. 
Some things to keep in mind:

  • It is free!  
  • It is warm inside the conservatory even in the winter so dress in layers. There is nowhere to check your coat so be prepared to either carry it (and your kids') around or leave them on a bench if you are a trusting sort. 
  • You can take the streetcar east from Carlton station or you can walk if the weather is nice. It is only about a 15 minute walk from the station.  You can also take the Sherbourne bus south from Sherbourne station.  
  • There is nowhere to get anything to eat or drink at the Conservatory.  It really is just a big beautiful building full of plants so bring water and a snack if you will need to eat.
  • There is a giant Loblaw's in the old Maple Leaf Gardens just down the road where you can get plenty of snacks and even lunch if you need it.  
  • They are open 10:00 - 5:00, 365 days of the year.  
  • The Conservatory, at least the two times we have been, is very quiet.  I mean, people talk and everything but there is no music and you can't hear any street noise, so if you happen to go when it is not busy it is like a perfect calm little oasis right in the city.  
  • Even kids who have a favourite botanist like mine will probably only need an hour or so in the Conservatory so if you are not from the area you might want to combine it with another activity.  Cabbagetown is just up the road to the east and Yonge Street is just up the road to the west so you won't have any trouble finding something to do.  
They really like to chill out in the cactus area.

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