Pittsburgh, PA - Events of Sunday, December 21, 2014
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden was founded in 1893 by Henry Phipps, who was a Pittsburgh steel and real estate magnate. The conservatory and gardens are located in Schenley Park in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. The conservatory has a number of special events throughout the year, but their biggest events are the Spring Flower Show, the Fall Flower Show and the Winter Light and Flower Show.
Last year, we went to the Winter Light and Flower Show in the daytime to see the flowers. This year, Lora thought it would be a good idea to go in the evening for Lydia, who likes lights. After Lydia's nap and afternoon feeding, we stopped at the nearby Qdoba Mexican Grill to use our Groupon purchase for supper, then headed to Oakland. Parking around Phipps Conservatory is hard to find, but we eventually found a spot on a side street.
The ticket line was long, but it moved quickly. Admission at Phipps is $15 ($14 for seniors over 62 and students).
This year's winter display includes over 20 varieties of poinsettias as well as other flowers like cyclamen, amaryllis and fragrant paperwhite narcissus. However, the lights are the primary attraction if you go in the evening. The beds along the walkway through the Serpentine Room were lined with poinsettias mixed with lighted glass sculptures and Christmas trees.
The conservatory itself has numerous rooms, all of which are decorated for the holidays. The biggest light display, however is in the outdoor garden. That's the reason Margery gave Lydia the blanket she crocheted early. It was cold outside, but Lydia was bundled up all toasty and warm. Unfortunately, the blanket can barely be seen because it is under the zip-up cover of the car seat/stroller.
A prominent feature of the Light Garden is a series of orbs and cones that glow with changing colors.
A tree-lined tunnel of lights covers the main garden path.
The garden is filled with lights. There are lights in the trees, lights in the shrubs, strings of lights along the paths, lights in the shape of snowflakes and lights in the shape of Christmas trees.
Another part of the outdoor display included a row of lighted snowmen. We paused for a photo beside one of them hoping that was as close as we would come to snow for this trip. Notice how Paul is indicating his aversion to snow by standing a little farther away.
From the outdoor garden, we headed back inside to finish our tour of the rest of the conservatory. Another room featured lighted spheres under the tropical plants.
Spotlights highlight numerous displays of container plants.
There was also a large wreath made from bromiliads with a beautiful evergreen arrangement in front that featured cedar, juniper, magnolia leaves, holly berries and a pomegranate. The arrangement reminded us of Colonial Williamsburg.
A favorite feature of the Winter Light and Flower Show with kids of all ages is the miniature railroad.
Paul has been going to Phipps since his grandfather started taking him as a little tyke back in the 1950s. The Broderie Room with its formal design was always one of Paul's favorite rooms. We paused there for a photo of Lora with Lydia in the stroller.
We remember the Christmas tree and the reflecting pool of the Victoria Room from our visit to Phipps last year. It is beautiful in the daytime, but it is even more spectacular at night.
The East Room featured an outdoor winter scene with three bears.
Poinsettias decorated the Sunken Garden Room.
After our tour of Phipps, we headed to the car and back to the house. We all enjoyed the lights, especially Lydia. She was looking all around wide-eyed the entire time.
We had a couple more days of preparation before Christmas. We'll tell you all about our holiday celebrations in our next post.