San Francisco Center for the Book will be at the Conservatory to teach visitors the art of a naturalist notebook. Build your own small book and print the pages with colorful orchids, feathery ferns, and textured tillandsias. Learn the art of the naturalist notebook, then explore the Conservatory to find the plants in your pages.
Explore the intersection of art and science. Now a thriving art form, botanical illustration is one of the oldest watercolor genres used throughout history to classify the importance of plants. View the work of local artists and try your hand at drawing a carnivorous pitcher plant with help from a volunteer instructor.
(activity and admission times vary)
This Friday night, the Conservatory of Flowers continues its celebration of the Summer of Love with a night of mindfulness, illumination, and flower power. In partnership with Illuminate and SF Rec and Park, the Conservatory and the beautiful flower-filled valley below it become the scene for Phototaxis, featuring free admission to the Conservatory between 6:30-8:30pm for anyone wearing a flower in their hair; a chance to light a candle, ring a custom-made chime, and create sacred space within a tunnel from 6-10pm; and the opportunity to experience the gorgeous illumination of the Conservatory building starting at approximately 9pm.
Inside, you’ll find a spectacular living museum of rare and beautiful tropical plants under glass. From Borneo to Bolivia, the 1,750 species of plants represent unusual flora from more than 50 countries around the world. Immersive displays in five galleries include the lowland tropics, highland tropics, aquatic plants, potted plants, and special exhibits.
“B Together and Listen Deeply” is a weekly tunnel ritual in Conservatory Valley hosted by Illuminate with volunteer support from Taking It To The Streets. It makes its debut on June 30. Come and you will be given a candle by volunteers. Reflect on a singular love in your life–an old flame, new flame, or eternal flame. You are also invited to ring one of three custom-made chimes by Dan Gottwald that sound in the note of B. Find the reverberation in your body and hum or chant together.
Then, wrap yourself in a blanket and sit back to experience the illumination of the Conservatory. The light art installation, initiated by Illuminate, the nonprofit arts group behind The Bay Lights, together with Obscura Digital, a world-renowned creative studio specializing in large scale light-based art, uses gobo projectors to transform the all-white landmark with a series of exquisite scenes inspired by the rare tropical flowers within and the legacy of San Francisco’s flower children.
Culinary experts from San Francisco’s Spice Ace will explore the diversity of spices from the tropics such as vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Spice Ace’s Master Blender will inspire new recipes and mixes for your next culinary adventure. Learn about the botanical and culinary history of tropical spices, and then visit the Conservatory’s vanilla orchid or cinnamon tree.
Explore the extraordinarily diverse world of insects and arthropods with Save Nature. Hold giant darkling beetles, colorful grasshoppers, 240 legged African millipedes and Madagascar hissing cockroaches. The Insect Discovery Lab will teach about the natural history of tropical insects and their key roles in the web of life.
San Francisco’s artisan chocolatierDandelion Chocolatewill be at the Conservatory to share howthey roast, crack, sort, winnow, grind, conch, and temper small batches of beans and then mold and package each bar by hand. Learn about the process, then visit the Conservatory’s own Theobroma cacao tree inside the greenhouse
We are delighted to offer artists and photographers a special opportunity to set up easels and tripods outside of normal hours of operation in our special exhibits gallery. Capture the amazing Butterfly exhibit crowd free, take your time to get that extraordinary photo!
Coffee roasting experts from San Francisco’s Sightglass Coffee will be at the Conservatory to explain how they source, roast, and brew a wondrous cup of coffee. Processing methods, varieties, growing altitudes, climate, soil and farm conditions are a few of the many factors that shape and determine a coffee’s overall quality.Learn about the process, then visit the Conservatory’s own Coffea arabica plants inside the greenhouse.