Indoor Gardens: A Taste of Spring
By Ellie M. Bayrd, Minnesota Monthly
We got a taste of summer early this year with 70 and even 80-degree temps. But if that wasn't enough, we know where you can head inside to bask in tropical temps and view green vegetation while you wait for the seasons to officially change.
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul
Several years ago, Como’s zoo and conservatory added Tropical Encounters, a neotropical rainforest exhibit that combines the animals of the zoo with the plantings of the conservatory. Meet Chloe the sloth as you view greenery from the Central and South African rainforest and enjoy the humidity. Not enough? Stroll the rest of the indoor gardens of Marjorie McNeely Conservatory to prepare for spring. The blooms of the Sunken Garden’s Spring Flower Show (through April 22) will add color to any blah day. Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free (donations encouraged).
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Meyers-Deats Conservatory, Chaska
After a walk around the arboretum's three-mile drive, head inside the Snyder Building of the University of Minnesota arboretum to view greenery and beautiful orchids in the Myers-Deats Conservatory. Also, be sure to stop by the visitor center for the Great Hall of Orchids for the Living with Orchids show, through April 29. Snyder Building hours: Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; and Sun. 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Visitor Center: Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Arboretum admission: $12 (free for children 12 and under; members).
Minnesota Zoo Tropics Trail, Apple Valley
Take a trip to the tropics at the Minnesota Zoo. On the Tropics Trail, you’ll see the new Faces of the African Forest exhibit. Stroll the trail to hear birds chirping and meet De Brazza’s Monkeys, red ruffed lemurs, macaws, otters, and more. Zoo hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; and Sat.- Sun., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Fees: Admission from $12-$18 (free for kids aged 2 and under; combos with IMAX available); parking, $5.
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden's Cowles Conservatory
Located across from the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden houses the Cowles Conservatory. Here, take a break from cool breezes of spring to see exotic orchids, palms, and other beautiful species, plus Frank Gehry's “Standing Glass Fish” sculpture. Open Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; free.