Bloedel Floral Conservatory Overview
Crowning the top of Queen Elizabeth Park--Vancouver's highest point--the Bloedel Floral Conservatory is home to a lush variety of tropical and desert plants as well as over 100 birds, including Charlie, the presiding (and always camera-ready) Cockatoo.
Made of an intricate framework of tubular steel elements supporting 1490 Plexiglas bubbles, the Conservatory is a triodetic dome, 140ft in diameter and 70ft high. Inside, visitors circle the dome through a tropical forest of plants, flowers, cacti, and exotic birds--parrots included--from all over the world.
The Conservatory shares Queen Elizabeth Park's plaza with outdoor sculpture, dancing fountains, panoramic city and garden views, and the Seasons in the Park restaurant.
Getting to the Bloedel Floral Conservatory
The Bloedel Floral Conservatory sits atop Queen Elizabeth Park at 30 30th Avenue E. Drivers can enter the park at either Cambie St. and W 33rd Ave. or at Ontario St. and W 33rd Ave and follow signs for the Conservatory for the closest parking lots.
You can avoid driving by taking the bus (#15 from downtown may work best; check Translink) or by biking; the east-west Midtown/Ridgeway Bike Route passes right by the park, as does the north-south Ontario Street Bike Route.
Bloedel Floral Conservatory History
In 1969, Prentice Bloedel, founder of Canadian timber giant MacMillan Bloedel Ltd., gave the park over $1 million toward the development of the plaza, including the covered walkways, fountains and domed Bloedel Floral Conservatory. A patron of conservation, Bloedel also created the Bloedel Reserve, a 150-acre nature reserve on Bainbridge Island, WA.
Making the Most of Your Visit
There are three really terrific things about the Bloedel Floral Conservatory. First, it's an oasis of tropical splendor and escape no matter how rainy or cold Vancouver gets. Second, it's a cheap, kid-friendly way to spend an afternoon that's fun and educational. Third, and most importantly, it's part of Queen Elizabeth Park.
Though large enough to contain a reasonably-amazing wealth of foliage and flowers, a trip to the Conservatory alone will likely take less than an hour. (Unless you're there to soak up jungle vibes on a crappy winter day; in that case, stay as long as you can.) But a trip to the park as a whole can easily fill an entire day.
If the weather's good, combine your trip to the Conservatory with a game of tennis or golf, with a walk through the park's arboretum and quarry gardens, with a picnic, or with lunch and drinks at the Seasons in the Park restaurant (pricey at dinner but reasonable before 5pm).