Druid Hill Conservatory (officially known as the Howard Peter Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens of Baltimore), a lovely architectural relic from the Victorian era, still blooms in Baltimore today.
Its original structures, The Palm House (the distinctive arched structure) and Orchid Room, were built in 1888. Later additions include the three greenhouses that each mimic desert, tropic and Mediterranean habitats. There is also a lobby and another reception area, making the conservatory and its outdoor gardens suitable as an event venue.
The last of its kind, the Druid Hill Conservatory, was once one of several conservatories in Baltimore City parks. Clifton Park, Patterson Park and Carroll Park all had fanciful hothouses at one time, but each crumbled into disrepair and eventually met with the wrecking ball.
Druid Hill Park's Conservatory has not only survived but thrived. In 2004, a $4.8-million renovation linked its two oldest and most impressive structures with its more utiliarian greenhouses in back. The renovation's two additions (similar in style to the Palm House) connect the four structures, making it more visitor-friendly and providing public meeting space.
All year round exotic plants from the desert to the tropics thrive inside its glass walls. It has five distinct settings:
Every Easter children gather near the Conservatory to for the Druid Hill Easter Egg Hunt. Three annual flower shows attract visitors, who both enjoy the show and, in some cases, can purchase flowers.
Visitor InformationLocation: Inside Druid Hill Park at McCulloh and Gwynn Falls Parkway
Hours: Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Admission: Free ($2 donation suggested)