One wintery day a week ago I visited the Bloedel Conservatory, the second largest domed conservatory in the world (43 m - 140 ft in diameter, 2 1m - 70 ft high at the centre). The triodetic dome design covers a large ground area without supporting columns. Inside, the Conservatory has three simulated climates: a tropical rain forest, sub-tropical and desert zones. I walked among tall clustering palms from South East Asia, Benjamin Figs from Malaysia as well as trees from Africa and South America.
There are 1500 varieties of trees within the Arboretum.
A suspended bridge crosses a pool where varied coloured Japanese koi swim. As well, you'll see multi-colored tropical birds such as Maria and Carmen, a pair of Macaws from the Amazon.
Some of the parrots ride around on the shoulders to gardening staff. Charlie is a talkative cockatoo from an endangered species found on an Indonesian island. There's also a dwarf Macaw, Nelson, from Venezuela; Rose, an African Grey parrot, Art, a blue and gold Macaw from Panama, and alot of smaller birds that flit about in the dense jungle-like foliage.
As well as the palms and figs, are Mexican breadfruit vines, yellow flowering Showy Cassia, Century plants and Peruvian cacti. A beautiful display of orchids lines the pathway as well as brilliant poinsettias that gave the Conservatory a real Christmas decor. I bought a curly-leafed scarlet poinsettia to bring home for my own Christmas decoration.
The day I went, it was a free day. The usual admission is: Adult: $4.60
pre-schoolers free accompanied by adult
Family: at child rate
The Conservatory is open: 10 am to 5 pm seven days a week
It's located in Queen Elizabeth Park at 37th and Cambie St. There is parking available in the park. Take the #15 Cambie St. bus.