Relax In Vancouver At The Bloedel Conservatory

Explore Queen Elizabeth Park

Relax In Vancouver At The Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park

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.

Queen Elizabeth Park Garden - Relax In Vancouver At The Bloedel Conservatory
Queen Elizabeth Park Views

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.

Queen Elizabeth Park Photographer Statue - Relax In Vancouver At The Bloedel Conservatory
Queen Elizabeth Park Photographer Statue

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.

Queen Elizabeth Park Clock
Entrance Sign

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.

Triodetic Roof
Triodetic Roof - Relax In Vancouver At The Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park

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.

Inside Poster

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.

Inside Gardens - Relax In Vancouver At The Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park
Inside Gardens
Inside Gardens
Inside Gardens - Relax In Vancouver At The Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park

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.

Bird - Cockatoo Gidget - Relax In Vancouver At The Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park
Bird - Cockatoo Mali - Relax In Vancouver At The Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park
Bird - Cockatoo Blanca

The African parrots and brightly coloured macaws drew us in.  We listened carefully and tried to understand what they were said to us. 

Bird - Cockatoo Mackaw
Bird - Parrot Blue - Relax In Vancouver At The Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park
Bird - Parrot Grey - Relax In Vancouver At The Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park

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.   

Bird - Pheasant
Bird - Relax In Vancouver At The Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park
Bird - Zebra Finch - Relax In Vancouver At The Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park

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.

Topiary Animals

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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  1. What a beautiful conservatory! I love the birds here, they’re so colourful and they really add to the ambience of this place. You took some great photos of them and so close too. It definitely looks like a relaxing place to visit and a lovely place to visit in Vancouver.

  2. Your photos of the birds are so good! The gardens look so peaceful and serene. As a former photographer, I’m obsessed with the photographer statue! So fun!

  3. What a special day experience to have especially with your daughter being an expert on birds! I love the gardens and would visit just to see that. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I love your bird photos! This conservatory looks so peaceful to visit, I hope to visit when I explore Vancouver!

  5. This post is such a great proof that nature is the greatest artist. I mean, look at those beautiful birds. And the amazing colors of the flowers – so, so pretty! Obviously, you added a bit of creativity with those fun pictures. I’m glad you found a group of friends, Linda, albeit, they look a bit stiff 😀

  6. I’ve been to Vancouver as a kid but would love to go back again someday! I’ll have to add this to my list of places to visit! :]

  7. It would be so odd seeing so many tropical species in Vancouver haha! But this sounds like a fun and relaxing way to spend the day and a way to get to see species you might not otherwise.

  8. Sounds like a perfect place to bring an ornithologist! Love the friendly birds and the topiary on the way back.

  9. This is right near where we live – I am so glad you liked it! Bloedel Conservatory is such a lovely spot (and so is Queen E!)

    If you come back again, there is a restaurant in Queen Elizabeth park that does fantastic cocktails and wine – we love it for taking in the views.

  10. What an amazing conservatory. It reminded me , my trip to Taronga zoo. The photgrapher and the posers idols definitely steal the show. Such a great place to visit for a day outing.

  11. What a perfect way to spend a rainy day! It looks like an oasis. The birds are incredible. I bet it was nice to have a guide to tell you all about the plants, animals and history!

  12. Ooohh. I love this. 500 varieties of exotic plants and flowers and 100 exotic birds? That’s the kinda place I’d love to take my daughter to. Good to know there’s public transport available to reach here. The printed guide with the photos of the birds is pretty useful. While the plants in the 3 climatic zones sounds good, I’m particularly at awe with those colorful birds.

  13. Bloedel Conservatory looks like a wonderful place to spend a rainy afternoon in Vancouver. The dome does look pretty futuristic, and it reminds me a little bit of the Eden Project in England. That hosts a tropical exotic climate as well. All the different birds add so much more to visiting the Conservatory. Whilst I love plants and I am fascinated by learning more about them, I can imagine that children might not be as interested. For them, watching the birds would be the main attraction. How amazing that you had someone who could identify the birds with you.

  14. Those birds are beautiful. We have more sunbirds and smaller birds in India, but those colourful big birds are truly exotic. The colours of the trees also match the rainbow–they look beautiful. I love those photographer statues–marvellous piece of work. It’s nice to know your daughter is an ornithologist.

  15. Bloedel Conservatory seems to be a wonderful place to unwind. It would be so much fun to explore and capture images of those unique flowers and plants. The standing statues, however, appear to be real. The various birds all appear to be really cute. I would not miss this gorgeous site if I were to ever travel to Vancouver!

  16. I think you are right! The Bloedel Conservatory is a great place to relax while visiting Vancouver. I’ll be there soon and hope to have time to at least visit Queen Elizabeth Park. Unfortunately we’re just there to board a cruiseship and I won’t have much time. I’ve enjoyed reading about your Vancouver explorations, however. I’m thinking I’ll have to return for another visit to this beautiful part of BC.

  17. Your visit to Bloedel conservatory located in Queen Elizabeth park was an amazing one given the blooming beauty of the park reflecting myriads of fall colors and also the wide variety of birds collection in the conservatory. Bloedel conservatory has a mind blowing architecture with a dome built out of 1500 plexiglass bubbles framed into triangles. And the statues of the photographer and the visitors built in the Queen Elizabeth Park is quite amusing and insataworthy. It’s amazing that the conservatory is divided into three climatic zones with colorful cockatoos, macaws and African parrots and it’s great to have your daughter as an ornithologist guiding you across the Bloedel conservatory I would love to visit it.

  18. We are heading to Vancouver next summer pre-cruise so this will be added to our itinerary. The Bloedel Conservatory looks like a lovely spot to relax it sounds very similar to Kew or RHS Wisley with its different climactic zones: – although we don’t get such exotic birds there. Your photos of both plants and birds are stunning.

    • There is so much to see and do in Vancouver as a pre-cruise stop. The Bloedel Conservatory is a great spot to visit if you want a relaxing afternoon with lots of colourful birds and greenery.

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