Although I visited in the summer, Phipps is a great place to bring the kids over the holidays!
The gardens were founded in 1893 by steel and real-estate magnate Henry Phipps as a gift to the City of Pittsburgh. Its purpose is to educate and entertain the people of Pittsburgh with formal gardens (Roman, English, etc.) and various species of exotic plants (palm trees, succulents, bonsai, orchids, etc.). Currently, the facilities house elaborate gardens within the 14 room conservatory itself and on the adjoining grounds.
In addition to its primary flora exhibits, the sophisticated glass and metalwork of the Lord & Burnham conservatory offers an interesting example of Victorian greenhouse architecture.
In 2007, Phipps teamed with glass artist Dale Chihuly and his Tacoma-based team of glass blowers. They worked together to create a marriage of hand-blown glass and living plants. Following the closing of the exhibit, the conservatory retained four prominent pieces: the fabulous and amazing Welcome Center chandelier, that reminded me of Medusa...
In addition, there are 26 smaller pieces by Chihuly in the Conservatory's permanent collection including six multicolored Macchia (wavy, shell-like bowls) and
There are surprises in the gardens as well, including a display of Rube Goldberg-inspired interactive contraptions that pleased and amazed the kids I saw at the gardens, including one little toddler who simply (and eventually vocally) didn't want to move on...
Getting there: 1 Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Hours: Open daily, 9:30AM–5PM
Dogs: No, sadly. But kids, yes!!
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