Jamie and I were in Pittsburgh for a few days and discovered The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.  From our hotel room on Pitt’s campus we could see a large glass building glowing green in the dark. It didn’t appear to be far away and indeed it was not.  Just minutes off campus in Schenley Park, Phipps was gifted to the City of Pittsburgh in 1893 by Henry Phipps. It is composed of a 14 room “glasshouse,” a welcome center with a restaurant and a large gift shop, and fifteen acres of outdoor gardens and facilities.  Phipps is very dedicated to sustainable architecture and operations–more about that can be found on its website, at http://www.phipps.conservatory.org/

The Basics:

Location: Schenley Park, 700 Frank Curto Drive, Pittsburgh

Hours: 9:30-5:00 six days a week, 9:30-8 on Fridays

Cost: $19.95 for adults, less for seniors and guests under 18, $3 with an ACCESS card.

Parking: Free, and when that is filled, nearby meter parking.

We were there at Halloween and there were plenty of amusing displays. There were a few stations where children could plant and engage in activities. We could see the staff was also staging for holiday decoration, including many lights indoors and out.  Speaking of out, we did walk around outside for a short while–it was raining and cold, so not a great day for that.  It was clear that there would be lovely walks on a nicer day.  Also, there is a Children’s Nature Playground. Jamie says: Nice place for a party.

Phipps hosts art exhibits on a regular basis and apparently installs some pieces permanently.  There are several installations of glass scupture like the one above call “Cattails” by Dale Chihuly.  Below are “Longfellows” by Hans Godo Frobel. Jamie says: The glass art was my favorite thing at Phipps.

There is a large indoor garden railway (below) which also gets decorated for the holidays.  Jamie says:  The Morris Arboretum Garden outdoor railway is much larger and way cooler.  Sorry Phipps!