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Bloedel Conservatory: What You Need to Know before Visiting

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Bloedel Conservatory: What You Need to Know before Visiting

Picture this: You're in a serene world where vibrant gardens thrive, exotic birds dance through the air, and nature's wonders embrace you. Now, step into reality at the Bloedel Conservatory.

Whether you're a nature enthusiast or simply seeking a tranquil escape, this attraction invites you to celebrate the marvels of the natural world. Join us on a journey to this paradise and uncover boundless wonder and inspiration.

What is the Bloedel Conservatory?

The Bloedel Conservatory is a domed tropical garden located in Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Park, where the city's highest point can be found. For over 50 years, it has delighted visitors with its lush gardens, exotic plants, and free-flying birds.

The conservatory is home to 500 species of exotic plants and flowers from all over the world, along with more than 100 uncaged birds. 

The colorful blooms, towering trees, and the birds gracefully soaring from one tree to another create an immersive experience for all visitors.

The Bloedel Conservatory officially opened its doors on December 6, 1969 after timber magnate and philanthropist Prentice Bloedel gave a huge donation supporting the initiative of Stuart Lefeaux and Bill Livingstone from the Vancouver Park Board.

The idea was conceived in connection with Canada's centennial anniversary. And the triodetic dome, transported from Ottawa to Vancouver's highest point at 125 meters above sea level, truly served as a grand celebration and more.

In 1993, the conservatory earned its status as a national historic place, not only for its ecological and societal contributions but also for the forward-looking technological design reflected in its geodesic form and molded plexiglass glazing.

In November 2009, however, the Bloedel Conservatory faced the threat of closure due to a significant budget shortfall. Fortunately, just a few months later, the Friends of the Bloedel Association rallied to raise funds to safeguard the conservatory's future. 

Together with the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association (now the Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association), they proposed to manage the conservatory as an integral part of the VanDusen Botanical Garden.

Today, the Bloedel Conservatory is jointly managed by the Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association and the Vancouver Park Board, providing enjoyment to not only the residents of Vancouver but also visitors from beyond the city's borders.

What is the Bloedel Conservatory
(Image by Noah Sauve on Shutterstock)

Things to Know about Bloedel Conservatory

Things to Know about Bloedel Conservatory
(Image by Ritu Manoj Jethani on Shutterstock)

Fees: The Bloedel Conservatory offers several admission options to cater to various preferences and budgets. 

Currently, the regular admission fee is CAD 7.40. Seniors and youth can enjoy a discounted rate of CAD 5.20, while children can enter for CAD 3.70, and preschoolers are admitted for free.

For those planning multiple visits, there are 5-visit passes available. Additionally, groups can benefit from a 10% discount on admission.

Another convenient option is year-round general admission to both VanDusen Garden and the Bloedel Conservatory through membership with the Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association. 

Parking situation: EasyPark manages pay parking lots in Queen Elizabeth Park. A drop-off loop is located near the Seasons in the Park Restaurant for easy access.

Opening hours: The Bloedel Conservatory operates under different hours throughout the year to accommodate seasonal changes.

From January to February and November to December, it is open from 10 AM to 4 PM. In March and October, the conservatory extends its hours and is open from 10 AM to 5 PM.

During the peak months of April to September, it has the longest opening hours, from 10 AM to 6 PM. It’s closed on December 25.

Duration of Stay: Typically, visitors can plan for a visit to Bloedel Conservatory lasting from 30 to 45 minutes. However, it’s not surprising if someone with a passion for botany or birding lingers in the area to fully appreciate it.

How to Get There

Car: You can reach the Bloedel Conservatory by taking Cambie Street or Midlothian Avenue, which connects West 29th Avenue with East 33rd Avenue. The main entrance to the conservatory can be found along 33rd Avenue, between Cambie St and Main St.

Train: The closest SkyTrain stop is King Edward Station, located at King Edward and Cambie. From King Edward Station, it’s about a 15-minute walk to the Bloedel Conservatory, with a portion of the walk being uphill.

Bike: The Midtown and Ridgeway bikeways, running from east to west, create a continuous trail across Vancouver, primarily following 37th Avenue.

Additionally, the Ontario Street bike route, running from north to south, runs along the eastern side of Queen Elizabeth Park.

Best Time to Go to Bloedel Conservatory

Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the Bloedel Conservatory regardless of the weather outside. 

For instance, the Bloedel Conservatory is a great place to visit on a rainy day. Designed to provide a sanctuary for its resident birds and plants, the tropical environment also offers a warm and inviting escape from the elements. 

However, visitors may want to avoid going to the conservatory during extreme weather conditions, such as heavy snow or rain, as it may affect their transportation to and from the park.

The conservatory tends to get crowded during peak hours and on weekends. In December, it typically hosts an indoor Christmas event, so for those seeking a quieter experience, visiting during the nighttime of that month can be a more tranquil option.

Bloedel Conservatory also hosts events and exhibits, so visitors may want to check the schedule of events before planning their visit. If they want to avoid crowds and long lines, consider going during off-peak hours.

What to Do in Bloedel Conservatory

Enjoy Birdwatching

Enjoy Birdwatching
(Image by L.Danis on Shutterstock)

The Bloedel Conservatory is indeed a paradise for bird enthusiasts. As you meander along its verdant pathways, you’ll have the chance to encounter over 100 uncaged birds, each representing various species.

Among the avian wonders that call this tropical sanctuary home, you’ll find vibrant macaws, cute little finches, and melodious canaries, to name just a few.

Birdwatching is a highly recommended activity here, offering a unique opportunity to closely observe these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. Some rare species might also show themselves and those sightings are amazing.

And should you find yourself graced by a bird’s presence (or droppings), it’s worth noting that in many cultures, such an encounter is considered a sign of good luck!

Explore the Gardens

Explore the Gardens
(Image by Stephanie Braconnier on Shutterstock)

Step inside this tropical oasis and you’ll be greeted by colors and fragrances that bring you to a different world. Lush and vibrant, the gardens are meticulously curated to showcase over 500 species of exotic plants and flowers from around the globe.

Towering palm trees sway gently overhead, their fronds creating a soothing canopy that filters the dappled sunlight. The air is alive with the sweet scent of orchids, while the dazzling hues of bougainvillea and hibiscus catch your eye at every turn.

One can’t help but be captivated by the intricate beauty of bromeliads and the delicate grace of ferns. The conservatory’s design allows you to wander along designated pathways, providing the perfect vantage points to admire these botanical marvels up close.

Enjoy the Views of Vancouver

Enjoy the Views of Vancouver
(Image by Matt Wang on Unsplash)

Perched at approximately 125 meters above sea level, the conservatory offers visitors panoramic vistas that are nothing short of awe-inspiring.

The tropical environment inside provides a unique contrast to the urban landscape just beyond the glass walls. Glass skyscrapers, the waters of False Creek, and the North Shore Mountains form a picturesque backdrop that stretches as far as the eye can see.

The changing light throughout the day adds to the charm, making it a great spot for photography. 

Whether you visit during the daytime to enjoy the bustling urban activity or choose to witness the city’s transformation into a sea of sparkling lights at night, the conservatory’s location provides an unparalleled vantage point for capturing the city’s vibrancy.

Tips for Visitors of Bloedel Conservatory

  • Dress comfortably: Wear comfortable attire suitable for the warm and humid indoor environment. Remember, proper attire includes shirts and shoes for entry.
  • Stick to designated paths: Please confine your exploration to the marked pathways. Avoid walking on the plant beds, and be attentive to small birds that may be present on the paths.
  • Don’t bring outside plant material: To safeguard the conservatory’s birds and tropical plants, do not bring in any external plant material or wildlife.
  • Refrain from removing plant material: Resist the urge to pluck or take any plant materials like flowers, seeds, or foliage. All plant material must remain within the conservatory.
  • Dispose of waste properly: Utilize the provided garbage and recycling bins for appropriate waste disposal. We don’t want to ruin the efforts of preserving such a beautiful and ecologically rich place.
  • Bring strollers and wheelchairs if needed: You are encouraged to bring baby strollers and wheelchairs for your convenience. However, you have to leave rollerblades, skateboards, tricycles, and bicycles outside.
  • Photo shoots are not permitted: During regular business hours, the Bloedel Conservatory does not allow wedding, graduation, or group photography. However, visitors are welcome to take personal photos for their enjoyment.

If you plan to conduct any of the mentioned events or have specific photography needs, it’s advisable to check and adhere to the rules and regulations set by the conservatory. 

  • Supervise children: Ensure close supervision of children at all times. Visitors under 13 years old (youth) must be accompanied by an adult, senior, or youth. Specific guidelines apply to groups with children aged 0-4.

Where to Stay near Bloedel Conservatory

Holiday Inn Vancouver-Centre (Broadway)

Address:  711 W. Broadway, Heather St, Vancouver, BC V5Z 3Y2, Canada 

Phone: +1 604 879 0511

Pricing: $$

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Conveniently located eight minutes away by car or a 35-minute walk, this hotel serves as an excellent home base for those prioritizing a visit to the Bloedel Conservatory in Vancouver.

the hotel is only two blocks from the SkyTrain, ensuring easy access to downtown and other areas. Inside the hotel, guests can expect clean and roomy accommodations, along with standard amenities such as a fitness center and an on-site lounge.

Quality Inn & Suites Downtown Vancouver

Address: 1221 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1B6, Canada

Phone: +1 778-907-2918

Pricing: $$

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A bit farther from the Bloedel Conservatory, at approximately 13 minutes by car, you’ll discover Quality Inn & Suites in Granville St. This hotel offers a range of amenities for a comfortable stay, including a fitness center and an onsite pub.

Note that they have a no-pet policy, so if you plan to travel with your furry companion, it’s advisable to consider alternative accommodation options that are pet-friendly.

Granville Island Hotel

Address: 1253 Johnston St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9, Canada 

Phone: +1 604-683-7373

Pricing: $$

Book Now

Granville Island Hotel is one such place – This boutique hotel is especially accommodating to pets, even going the extra mile by providing treats for pets from the Granville Island Pet Treatery.

For those planning to visit the Bloedel Conservatory from this hotel, a short fourteen-minute drive will take you there.

Maximize your visit by exploring the hotel’s proximity to attractions, such as Granville Island or the picturesque Kitsilano Beach, which are just a stone’s throw away, offering enjoyable diversions for visitors of the Bloedel Conservatory.

Georgian Court Hotel, WorldHotels Elite

Address: 773 Beatty St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2M4, Canada 

Phone: +1 604-682-5555

Pricing: $$

Book Now

Another intelligent choice for visitors keen on exploring the Bloedel Conservatory is Georgian Court Hotel.

Besides its convenient location that’s only a 12-minute drive away, it knows how to treat its guests with the perfect combination of food and music.  

Frankie’s Italian Kitchen, one of the city’s premier Italian restaurants, promises a dining experience to savor during your visit. If you’re a fan of jazz, make sure not to overlook the live jazz performances at Frankie’s Jazz Club, every Thursday to Sunday at 8 PM.

Where to Eat near Bloedel Conservatory

Seasons in the Park

Address: W 33rd Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Y 2M4, Canada

Phone: +1 604-874-8008

Pricing: $$$

Website

Seasons in the Park, located in Queen Elizabeth Park, is known for its romantic atmosphere and stunning views of the city and mountains. 

It offers a variety of dining experiences, including à la carte dining, a classy Winebar, and an open kitchen with a wood-fired grill.

Don’t forget to try their Seafood Linguine Carbonara and Lobster Tail for a complete and delicious experience.

Browns Socialhouse Queen Elizabeth Theatre (QE Theatre)

Address: 675 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2P1, Canada 

Phone: +1 604-620-5545

Pricing: $$

Website

Browns Socialhouse QE Theatre is located at 675 Cambie St, Vancouver, British Columbia, which is on the way to the Bloedel Conservatory. It is situated on the plaza at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, which is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

They offer a diverse menu that includes burgers, salads, sandwiches, and other pub-style dishes, and a really great bar.

Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House

Address: 777 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E 3V5, Canada

Phone: +1 604-669-1940

Pricing: $$

Website

Joe Fortes has won “Vancouver’s Best Oyster Bar” and understandably so.It has been up for 27 years now, and this iconic restaurant is not backing down.

The seafood grill is San Francisco styled and the seafood and other ingredients are al fresh. Their wines (over 400 of them) pair well with their dishes, such as the Seafood Tower.

Homer St. Cafe and Bar

Address: 898 Homer St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2W5, Canada

Phone: +1 604-428-4299

Pricing: $$

Website

A mere 11-minute drive from the Bloedel Conservatory, you’ll discover a restaurant that has earned a place in the Michelin Guide.

This establishment places chicken in the spotlight, with their rotisserie chicken taking center stage. It boasts tender meat with crispy skin, generously topped with savory gravy or velvety buttermilk ranch dressing.

Paired with their unforgettable biscuits, this dish unquestionably justifies its price.

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