Why I Love Franklin Park Conservatory With Kids

I considered having my wedding at the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens Palm House on some Friday afternoon in April. It would’ve been beautiful. However, my husband and I ended up eloping on April Fool’s Day. Instead of wedding pictures, I have many photos of our kids playing at the Franklin Park Conservatory. I still love visiting there and now I bring the kids.

I’m happy with that decision. The kids and I definitely need “Blooms and Butterflies” after seeing nothing but snow for a couple months. My husband is great, too. You can even tell him I said so.

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens & Kids


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Memberships to Franklin Park Conservatory are Great!

It was when my kids were still really little that I first bought a membership to the Conservatory. Walking through the hot, humid indoor gardens in Columbus, OH helped us get through the long, bitterly cold winters. That membership will be even better when the Scotts Miracle Gro Foundation Children’s Garden opens in late spring of 2018 (more below).

Finding Zen or Why I Love Indoor Gardens so much

Even though I have long appreciated the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, I overlooked writing about it. The space doesn’t lend the same type of excitement as the Columbus Zoo or COSI. Instead, it invites peace and tranquility.

Zen. For the mamas and papas, at least! Usually. Sometimes. Okay, it totally depends on you and your kids.

Other than the time my children practically swam in the fountain on a frigid January day, our trips have been peaceful. Please note: children and adults are not allowed to swim in the fountains. Also, I don’t recommend it, especially when it’s only about 5 degrees F outside and the kids soak their clothes. Luckily, I had enough dry clothing at that time to get everyone back into the car without any issues. The fountain in question is located in the Palm House.

Blooms and Butterflies and Other Events

Franklin Park Conservatory does offer many types of exhibits and classes throughout the year. In January, they have an amazing orchid display (this runs through March typically). March brings Blooms and Butterflies and this is one of those events that is always awe-inspiring. My son (who was 3 at the time) did get a little nervous when a butterfly landed on him, but it ended well with deep breaths (practiced by us, it’s unknown if the butterfly participated) and the butterfly moving on.

Before stepping into the Pacific Island Water Garden, multiple cocoons of the butterflies can be seen safely behind glass. You may even be lucky enough to see a butterfly emerging!

Chihuly glass is on permanent display throughout the Conservatory all through the year.

Orange, red, and yellow squigly glass statue, in the middle of the lush jungle room at the Columbus, Ohio botanical garden

Chihuly glass featured in my favorite of the gardens.

New: Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden

The conservatory is expected to open the Children’s Garden in May of 2018. In addition to encouraging play in nature, it will have a variety of fantastic features. The two acre garden will feature a 15 foot sandstone wall, an ode to the geology of Hocking Hills, a play house, and areas for digging, jumping, and getting messy. The features I’m most excited about are the Play House Garden (with a secret path!) and the Canopy Walk, Mulberry Perch, and Hammock Lounge. All areas will be accessible to visitors of all physical mobility, too!

As if I needed another reason to visit!

Franklin Park Conservatory Hours & Location

If you’re looking for botanical gardens in Columbus, Ohio, visiting Franklin Park is a must.

It’s open 10 am – 5 pm daily (check for holiday hours as they may differ). The address is 1777 E. Broad Street Columbus, OH 43203.

In my experience it isn’t quite as busy right at opening and you can spend a couple pleasant hours there, enjoying the sites. With the opening of the children’s garden, there will be even more for kids to enjoy!

Have you visited the Franklin Park Conservatory butterflies? Is there anything similar where you live?

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