Activities & Resources
Marjorie McNeely Conservatory551in Saint Paul, MN 55103
about Marjorie McNeely Conservatory:
The conservatory and adjacent Como Zoo are run jointly, a great benefit for visitors, who can enjoy extraordinary flora and fauna in one outing. In cold weather, the conservatory's controlled temperature and blooms offer a break from winter; in summer, top off a visit with a stroll through nearby Como Town, a seasonal amusement park.
The Sunken Garden, arguably one of the most beautiful rooms in the state, gets gussied up for five flower shows each year, though be aware it might be closed between shows. The North Garden is the Conservatory's medicine chest and pantry, featuring plants with everyday uses - and great learning opportunities. Under the center dome, palm trees and orchids thrive; other galleries feature ferns and Bonsai.
Outdoors, two seasonal gardens delight: the Enchanted Garden attracts butterflies and their admirers, extending out to Frog Pond and its waterfall; and the Japanese Garden, symbolizing Saint Paul's sister-city relationship with Nagasaki, features traditional elements such as a zig-zag bridge, rocks, and water.
Conservatory restrooms are open year-round, as are the ones in the Visitor Center, where strollers can be rented for indoor and outdoor use.
Classes and Camps: Many of Como's summer camps and parent/child classes (for ages four and up), homeschooler programs (ages five to 15), and family offerings, explore the gardens artistically, scientifically, or both. Avoid having to scroll through all the classes on lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) in the extensive listings by searching for "conservatory" or "flowers" on those pages.
Parties: Most kids' birthdays here focus on zoo animals, but themes that incorporate the conservatory's displays can be selected. The basic package includes 90 minutes in a private classroom in the Visitor Center, with 45 minutes of interactive programming; Add pizza, drinks, and cake for an additional fee. Due to safety concerns, no balloons, pinatas, or pets are allowed!