I'm always on the lookout for Bay Area outings that are fun for three generations. My mom and I discovered a new favorite when we took my kids to the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco. She loved it, and so did they!
Inside Golden Gate Park, the Conservatory of Flowers features an impressive collection of plant life in a series of connected greenhouse rooms with different levels of humidity. (You will be sweating at some point.) Far more interesting for kids, however, is the butterfly room which is part of the exhibition for about half the year. (Check their schedule.)
Hundreds of butterflies are flying freely around the indoor space, which is landscaped with the plants they like. A paper guide is available to illustrate the species of butterflies so that you can try your hand at identifying them.
In a glass case, chrysalises are hanging. Watch closely and you can see that some are wiggling with new butterflies, ready to emerge. My kids stood and watched this for a long time.
Tips to enjoy the Conservatory of Flowers with a kid or two
- Navigating and parking within Golden Gate Park is confusing. Check your map sources ahead of time.
- The Conservatory opens at 10 am and closes at 4 pm, except on Mondays when it's closed entirely.
- Strollers cannot enter the building. Plan to carry babies and toddlers.
- Temperatures go as high as 85 degrees inside the building. Dress such that you can strip down to short-sleeves or no-sleeves.
Admission to the Conservatory of Flowers:
$6 for Youth ages 12-17, Seniors age 65 & over, and College Students with ID
$3 for Children ages 5-11
Free for Children ages 4 and under
Discounts for residents of San Francisco