Plan To Relax In Vancouver At The Bloedel Conservatory
On a rainy day, it was great to relax in Vancouver at the Bloedel Conservatory. The massive dome over the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park covered a temperature-controlled environment filled with gardens containing 500 varieties of exotic plants and flowers. The air was filled with more than 100 exotic birds.
The Bloedel Conservatory was located in Queen Elizabeth Park on the top of Little Mountain. This volcanic outcropping is the highest point in Vancouver. From our stay in downtown Vancouver, it was a short drive. But we could have taken the Skytrain or a local bus to visit.
Construction on the Bloedel Conservatory began in 1967 to celebrate Canada’s centennial. A $1.4 million donation from Prentice Bloedel of Macmillan Bloedel Limited helped the City of Vancouver and the Provincial Government fund this unique site.
Visiting the Bloedel Conservatory was the perfect day trip with our daughter Erika the ornithologist on our fall visit to British Columbia (BC). She was happy to share all her bird knowledge and experience to ensure we got the most from our visit.
Heading To Bloedel Conservatory In Queen Elizabeth Park
We found parking and headed out with our umbrellas to explore Queen Elizabeth Park. Pathways meandered through the outdoor garden areas. It was late Fall and some colour was still on the trees. We found several areas with views out to downtown and the North Shore Mountains.
We were amused when we saw a group of statues that portrayed a photographer taking a picture of some visitors. Of course we had to put ourselves in that tableau.
We looked at the outdoor clock and knew it was time to meet up with Erika. There was so much more to explore around the Queen Elizabeth Park. But it would wait for another day. This day we planned to relax in Vancouver at the Bloedel Conservatory.
Entering The Bloedel Conservatory
As we wandered around outside, we got our first view of the vast dome over the Bloedel Conservatory. The dome had a diameter of 140 feet and rose 70 feet high.
When created, this “triodetic” dome was inspired by the iconic Expo ’67 dome in Montreal. The design included over 2,000 pieces of aluminum tubing that created triangles with about 1,500 plexiglass bubbles set in aluminum framing. In 2014, this iconic roof was replaced after much discussion about closing the Bloedel Conservatory. We were very glad they decided to keep this lovely site.
We paid for tickets when we entered and picked up a printed guide. The guide helped us identify the various birds we saw as we wandered. We followed the path that took us clockwise around the path. And were glad that signs pointed out things to watch for.
As soon as we entered we knew we found a place to relax in Vancouver at the Bloedel Conservatory.
Wandering Through The Gardens
We often searched for gardens on our travels. On this visit to Vancouver Island, we enjoy the amazing Fall colours at the Butchart Gardens. We loved learning about the very different local plants at the Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town, South Africa. And we enjoyed the traditional English landscape in the Kensington Gardens in London.
We were fascinated when we learned that the Bloedel Conservatory contained three different climactic zones: Tropical, Sub-Tropical and Desert. And that there were over 500 different varieties of plants and flowers over the three climate zones.
We found a kaleidoscope of colours in the Tropical zone. The brighter light and lower humidity of the Sub-Tropical area made it ideal for orchids, begonias, bromeliads and azaleas. We knew we reached the Desert zone when we found cacti and succulents.
Wandering through the lush gardens was a perfect way to relax in Vancouver at the Bloedel Conservatory.
Birds Filled The Air
Our ornithologist daughter was really there for the 120 free-flying exotic birds. This was one of her favourite escapes in Vancouver and she wanted to share it with us. It was great to have a bird expert with us to help us identify the birds.
We were amazed with the variety we found in the chatty cockatoos. Each named cockatoo brought its own personality to entertain us.
The African parrots and brightly coloured macaws drew us in. We listened carefully and tried to understand what they were said to us.
As we wandered around we saw such an amazing variety of birds. The birds we saw came in a rainbows of colours and had enough distinctive features that Erika could easily identify them.
As we wandered slowly along the paths, we were entertained with the bird antics. It was yet another fun way to relax in Vancouver at the Bloedel Conservatory.
A Great Spot To Relax In Vancouver At The Bloedel Conservatory
We were enthralled with the greenery and colour on our visit to the Bloedel Conservatory. So when we caught sight of an amazing topiary display on our way back to the hotel we had to stop. The trees were carved in animal shapes and highlighted with colourful flowers. A fun end to our day trip.
It was great to relax in Vancouver at the Bloedel Conservatory for an afternoon. We found the lush gardens and playful birds were a lovely treat on our Fall road trip to the West Coast. The grounds of the Queen Elizabeth Park deserved more exploration on a future visit. We also missed the flowers and trees at the nearby VanDusen Garden. All great things we put on our list of things to see and do in Vancouver.
Did you relax in Vancouver at the Bloedel Conservatory? Were birds or gardens the big draw for you?
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