When it comes to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, it’s had 125 years to get it right. Since 1893, it’s been delighting visitors with beautiful floral and greenery displays. What I truly love about the grounds is the fact that it refuses to stay in the 19th Century and keeps on delighting us with modern takes on garden beauty. Here’s why you need to make a beeline for the latest installment – and why you need to make time to mosey through Phipps Gardens of Sound and motion – a five senses experience.
When I visit a botanical garden, I expect to be delighted by everything I see. But that delight oftentimes stops there. So, what happens when a conservatory goes above and beyond, delighting all of the senses? It turns into Phipps Conservatory Gardens of Sound and Motion. Full sensory exhibits, combined with only the beauty that Phipps can provide, makes for the perfect summer displays.
Incorporated into the gardens are light displays and moving art. I was particularly fascinated by the giant copper wind sculptures in the Sunken Garden. They slowly rotate and spin and kids are so drawn to them. Make sure to look into the higher trees throughout for lights that move and change with the ambient music.
To check out our full experience, the video above highlights our visit.
Remember the science experiments where people would talk sweetly to one plant, then talk harshly to another to learn the outcome? It was so fascinating to learn that the plant that had the positive words grew and thrived much more than the one without. That experiment reminds me of Music of the Plants™. It’s a fun musical instrument that lets guests interact with living plants to learn how they respond.
Gardens of Sound and Motion lets guests experiment with the sense of touch in cool ways including my favorite, a fountain show in the Victoria Room. Jakob Marsico of Ultra Low Res Studio created the exhibit, and simple hand touches make the fountain water jet raise and lower in the pond.
There’s no way to talk about summer at Phipps without mentioning the Butterfly Room. Yes, you’re not encouraged to touch the butterflies (delicate wings!), but they’ll definitely flutter around you. If you get one to graze your arm or face – even cooler! The kiddos can get plenty of hands-on learning in the outdoor gardens, too.
From orchids to gardenia, there are plenty of gorgeous scents throughout the gardens. But, a visit to Tropical Forest Cuba offers even more. Scent canisters let us smell native spices, making me hungry. See below.
It’s no surprise that Café Phipps has received numerous awards for both creativity and sustainability. But, it also makes flavorful dining options. Its menu offers everything from Vegan to Gluten-Free options and its famous Phipps Splash™ is delightful on hot summer days. Super easy to make at home, it combines fresh fruit juices with bubbly water ad is so refreshing. What we loved: the Cubano Sandwich and Cheese Pizza.
About Phipps Conservatory Gardens of Sound and Motion
Summer Flower Show: Gardens of Sound and Motion was designed by Phipps’ Exhibit Coordinator Jordyn Melino and features the work of Lyman Whitaker presented by Leopold Gallery, Jesse Stiles, Jakob Marsico of Ultra Low Res Studio and the Experimental Sound Synthesis students of Carnegie Mellon University.
Hours are 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily and until 10 p.m. on Fridays. Admission is $17.95 for adults, $16.95 for seniors and students, and $11.95 for children (2 – 18). Members and kids under 2 enter free.
Disclosure: We were given free admission to Phipps Conservatory to give you fine folks the scoop on its Gardens of Sound and Motion. All opinions, photos, and video are mine!
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