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It is kind of shocking that there are still people in this city that have not been to Phipps Conservatory yet. While I admit to not getting there until in my early 20’s, I am doing my best to make up for it.
Phipps has been around since 1893 when Henry Phipps built it as a gift to the city of Pittsburgh to educate and entertain the people. In 1972 it became a historic landmark in the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, and then in 1976 it was in the U.S. National Registry of Historic Places; so needless to say, Phipps has been around for a long time. Over the years it has received many upgrades, expansions and facelifts; but the original beauty is still at the forefront. If you are a fan of the “green movement”, which it seems like every one is these days then Phipps is for you; it is one of the “greenest” facilities in the world. The entrance pavilion is LEED certified Silver, the new Center for Sustainable Landscapes (just completed) is Platinum certified and its greenhouse is the one and only greenhouse that is Platinum certified and is also has net-zero energy consumption. The idea behind all of the “green design” upgrades was to have the building operate as efficient as an actual flower. As you tour Phipps and enjoy all the flowers and art displays they point out all of the different things they do to keep the building at peak efficiencies, so be sure to read them.
Along with the awesome flowers and foliage they also have ever-changing art exhibits; currently the Pittsburgh Glass Center is featured (the display is gorgeous, we strongly suggest you get your butts there to see it). The exhibit that first got us down to Phipps was the world renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly’s works; they were so popular and beautiful that Phipps purchased a few pieces as permanent fixtures (at a value of $1.2 million! YIKES!). In the warmer summer months they also have an amazing Butterfly room, this past visit we saw more butterflies than ever before and you often catch yourself just staring at them as people walk around you. The vegetable and herb garden at Phipps could make every Green Thumb jealous. If you are looking to learn more about Horticulture or gardening they offer a long list of classes for both children and adults.
Usually we wouldn’t recommend you eating at a museum (usually just cafeteria food, blah) but the Café @ Phipps is not your normal museum eatery, the food is fresh (vegetable and herb garden on site) and thoughtfully prepared. The menu even changes seasonally, what other museum does that? We have yet to be disappointed in a meal or snack there. If you are looking to take something home to eat, go to Phipps on any Wednesday between June-October between 2:30-6:30pm for the Farmers @ Phipps market, numerous vendors selling vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers and other such products.
The location is also ideal; close to awesome restaurants, walking distance to Pitt Campus, Cathedral of Learning, and the Natural History Museum; so you can easily make an entire day just walking around the area and still not see it all. Whether you are looking for a great date night spot, a quick lunch, just somewhere to walk and relax, or maybe planning a wedding, you can’t go wrong with Phipps. So, what are you waiting for? Phipps has something for everyone and if you go once, you usually go again.
Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
1 Schenley Park Dr
Pgh, Pa 15213
also on Facebook
Hours: Monday-Thursday and Saturday-Sunday- 9:30am-5:00pm
Admission: Adults- $15
Students with Valid ID and Seniors over 62- $14
Children 2-18 – $11
Memberships also available.