The Conservatory and Botanic Gardens at Druid Hill

The Conservatory at Druid Hill Park is one of those buildings I've passed by so many times, and I've always wanted to peek inside because it has that whole mysterious Victorian thing going on. I guess I just wasn't sure if we were allowed. It turns out that not only are we allowed, but we are also encouraged to wander through the gardens and enjoy the space. As a gardener we passed pointed out, "that's what it's here for." And, it's free (a $2 donation is encouraged).

It was designed by architect George Frederick, and built for the city of Baltimore in 1888.  Now the main structure, the beautiful Palm House is, "one of the few remaining Victorian conservatories left in the world."

We entered the North Pavilion and made our way through amazing greenhouses. The Mediterranean House and the Tropical house are lush and wonderful, but it was the Desert House that my kids enjoyed the most. A room full of cacti might seem a bit challenging with preschoolers but I was hoping that with all of their new-found maturity, my 4-year-olds could leave here puncture wound free, and surprise, surprise, they did!

I'm keeping this place in mind to visit again in the winter when I need a mini-tropical infusion. Events coming up here include:

The Chrysanthemum Display: November 8 - November 30 ,2008

The Holiday Display: December 13, 2008 - January 4, 2008

410-396-0180

Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens

3100 Swan Drive in Druid Hill Park

Baltimore, MD 21217

[Directions from their website]