Built in 1933 during the Art Deco era, the Krohn Conservatory is a beautiful glass house located in Cincinnati’s Eden Park. Krohn Conservatory houses over 3,500 plants from around the world. The plants come from a variety of unique habitats, including tropical rainforests and deserts. Special exhibits at the conservatory include an annual butterfly show and a holiday show. The next show, Ancient Gardeners: Indigenous Earthworks, opens on September 6th. In addition to sunflowers, pumpkins and gourds, the show will also feature a replica of the Great Serpent Mound! Native plants like amaranth, flowering tobacco and the trio of plants that form the “three sisters:” beans, corn and squash, will also be included in the show.
My husband, Kenneth, and I visited Krohn Conservatory for the first time in July. We had just met my parents for breakfast at Taste of Belgium (read my review of my first visit to Taste of Belgium here) and weren’t ready to go home yet. We drove to Eden Park. We would have gone on a walk in the park, which is the best medicine after eating too many crepes, but shortly after we arrived it began to rain. We decided instead to check out Krohn Conservatory.
We first visited the Living Greenhouse. Here we met some sweet little birds, like the cockatiel pictured above, and some friendly fish. I love the style and shape of the giant fish bowls! A pacu and golden severums live in the bowl pictured above. The pacu, which I mistook for a piranha on first observation, is actually known as “the vegetarian piranha.” The name is misleading though, pacu are omnivores and are capable of biting!
The Living Greenhouse houses two of my favorite tropical plants (I’m a plant nerd, so I definitely have categories for my favorite botanicals!): Theobroma cacao, also known as the chocolate tree, and Vanilla planifolia, the orchid from which vanilla is harvested! The Living Greenhouse also has a variety of ferns and other tropical food plants like rose-apple, pomegranate and banana.
One of my favorite features of the Krohn Conservatory is the 20 foot tall waterfall in the Palm House! It’s beautiful and looks so natural, like a real waterfall in the tropical rain forest. The Palm House is the central room of the conservatory and is full of palm trees, bananas, ferns, orchids and other gorgeous flowering plants. A pool of water flows through the center of the Palm House and is home to bright goldfish and large turtles (there’s even a small turtle fountain!).
The Floral Display changes six times a year, showcasing a variety of plants. When we visited we saw the 2014 Summer Show which featured fruits, vegetables and other edible plants. Aeroponic Tower Gardens were also on display with educational information about how they work. Some of the edible plants we checked out included amaranth, beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, lemons and other citrus trees and as well as a variety of herbs.
The Desert Garden is full of drought tolerant plants like cacti and succulents. I loved the hanging display of twelve succulent planters (pictured above)!
The Krohn Conservatory has a permanent Orchid Display, which includes thousands of individual orchids from 17 different genera. At any time, approximately 75 orchids are in bloom. Above the entrance to the Orchid Display is a helpful sign with descriptions and illustrations of some of the common orchid genera. I saw familiar orchids, like Cattleya, Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum and Vanda, as well as some unfamiliar like Brassia, Cypripedium, Epidendrum, and Laelia. The Orchid family is one of the largest families of the flowering plants with over 25,000 species and 880 genera!
In addition to viewing beautiful orchids, we also checked out the Bonsai Collection. Bonsai is a Japanese art form of growing trees in miniature. The roots are contained in a very shallow container and the branches are trimmed to keep the tree small. Some trees are even trained with wires so they appear to be wind-swept, as if they were growing on the edge or on top of a mountain. Some of the bonsai on display belong to Krohn, others belong to the Bonsai Society of Greater Cincinnati or private individuals.
By the time we finished exploring the Conservatory, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. I was able to get some great photos of rain on petals and leaves outside of the conservatory. We were also able to take that walk in Eden Park we’d been hoping for.
I’m sure we’ll be back to Krohn Conservatory soon – the 2014 Fall Show: Ancient Gardeners: Indigenous Earthworks sounds like a lot of fun!
Address: 1501 Eden Park Dr Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Phone Number: 513-352-4080
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm.
Admission: General admission prices are $4 for Adults and $2 for Children 5-12 years old. Admission prices may change with seasonal shows.