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Bloedel Conservatory and Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver

Linda Crampton is a writer who lives in Greater Vancouver. She enjoys walking and likes to take photographs of her discoveries.

A green-winged or red-and-green macaw at the Bloedel Conservatory in Vancouver, British Columbia

A green-winged or red-and-green macaw at the Bloedel Conservatory in Vancouver, British Columbia

The Bloedel Floral Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park

The Bloedel Floral Conservatory is a beautiful botanical garden covered by a plexiglass dome and filled with exotic plants and birds. It's located in Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, British Columbia. The conservatory contains three climate-controlled habitats—a tropical rainforest, a subtropical rainforest, and a desert. It's a wonderful place to explore and to photograph.

The park surrounding the conservatory is also a lovely place for plant lovers. Queen Elizabeth Park is famous for its two attractive gardens created on the site of a former quarry. It contains other attractions besides the quarry gardens. The conservatory and the park combine to make an enticing area for visitors to Vancouver and for residents. Unless otherwise stated, the photos in this article were taken by me during my visits to the area.

Queen Elizabeth Park and the VanDusen Botanical Garden can be visited on the same day. According to the City of Vancouver website, the walk from the park to the garden takes nineteen to twenty-four minutes, depending on the route and the walking speed. Public transit is available.

The conservatory as viewed from a quarry garden

The conservatory as viewed from a quarry garden

A Beautiful Location

Queen Elizabeth Park is located on an elevated area known as Little Mountain and is 128 acres in size. The top of Little Mountain is the highest point in the city of Vancouver. The "mountain" is 498 feet tall and gives park visitors an interesting view of Vancouver, neighbouring communities, and nearby landmarks.

For many people, the highlights of Queen Elizabeth Park are the conservatory and the beautifully landscaped gardens in the former quarry. The gardens are popular sites for weddings. The park also offers an arboretum, a rose garden, sculptures, recreational activities such as lawn bowling and pitch and putt, and a restaurant.

Bloedel Conservatory is located at the top of Little Mountain. Nearby is the Seasons in the Park restaurant, which gives diners a scenic view of the smaller quarry garden as they eat. Once people have finished exploring the conservatory or eating in the restaurant, they can walk a short distance down the slope into the gardens to add to the enjoyment of their visit. The gardens can be seen from the top of the mountain, so people who are unable to walk up and down slopes can still enjoy their visit to the park.

The Floral Conservatory

The idea for Bloedel Conservatory was conceived around the time of Canada's centennial in 1967. The conservatory was opened in 1969. It was named after Prentice Bloedel from the MacMillan Bloedel forestry company. Prentice donated 1.4 million dollars towards the construction of the conservatory, the plaza beside the conservatory, and the fountain in the plaza. The rest of the money was provided by the provincial government and the City of Vancouver.

The dome over the conservatory is 140 feet in diameter, 70 feet high, and covers an area of almost a quarter of an acre. It's made from more than 1,400 plexiglass panels in 32 different sizes. The frame of the dome consists of extruded aluminum tubing.

The conservatory contains more than 500 types of plants and more than 100 birds. Most of the birds are free flying. The area is a photographer and nature lover's dream and is packed with interesting sights.

An Attractive and Interesting Plant Collection

Bird Life

A large part of the fun in visiting the Bloedel Conservatory is to bird watch. A visitor can see many kinds of birds almost as soon as they enter the conservatory.

The smaller birds fly freely through the dome and seem very happy. They are also very confident around people. In fact, they are so confident that visitors sometimes have to watch their step as a bird lands on the path in front of them. Feeding stations are set up very close to walkways so that people can watch the birds and take photographs.

The larger birds (parrots and cockatoos) seem to spend much of their time walking and climbing over their perches, although they also get personal attention from staff members. According to the Friends of the Bloedel blog, the big birds were either donated by people who could no longer care for them or came from a sanctuary for abandoned birds. They all have names. Several of them have learned to talk. The birds frequently speak to visitors.

Dome Problems

In 2009, plant and bird lovers got a scare when it was announced that the Bloedel Conservatory was closing and that the dome would be dismantled. The plexiglass panels making up the dome were forty years old. Cracks were forming in the panels, although the roof wasn't dangerous. The Vancouver Park Board said that they couldn't afford the cost of the necessary repairs or the annual cost of maintaining the conservatory and voted to close it.

An organization called Friends of the Bloedel rose to the challenge of protecting the conservatory. They raised funds to keep it in operation and also proposed that the VanDusen Botanical Garden take over the running of the conservatory. This garden is located not far from Queen Elizabeth Park, as shown in the map above. The park board then reversed their decision to dismantle the building.

Orchids in the Conservatory

Renovation of the Dome

The Bloedel Conservatory was renovated in 2014. The renovation was a major job. The birds and plants inside the dome had to be protected during the project and the conservatory had to remain open to the public. Scaffolding was erected around the outside of the dome, as can be seen in the last photo in the sequence below. Netting was put in place inside the dome before any panels were replaced. This stopped the birds in the conservatory from escaping and also stopped wild birds from entering. In addition, the netting caught any debris that fell on the dome. The renovation began in January 2014 and finished in August of that year.

Exploring Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver

Gardens in Queen Elizabeth Park

For most people, the quarry gardens are probably the main attraction in Queen Elizabeth Park. The bigger garden contains more flowers, but the smaller one is also attractive. The large garden contains a stream and a waterfall. The smaller one contains some lovely oriental designs. Though the big garden is beautiful and very popular when the flowers are in bloom, the smaller one is worth visiting as well.

The park contains other interesting things to see. It's the site of Canada's first civic arboretum, which is found in the north section of the park. The arboretum contains trees from across Canada as well as some from other countries. The lovely rose garden is located in the southwest part of the park. It was created in 1967 to celebration Canada's one hundredth birthday.

An unexpected discovery in the larger quarry garden

An unexpected discovery in the larger quarry garden

Public Art and a Dancing Fountain

The park contains public art as well as plants. One of the works of art is Photo Session, a sculpture that shows a man photographing three people. The four individuals in the sculpture are life sized and are made of bronze. The sculpture was created by J. Seward Johnson, Junior. It's been placed at an attractive viewpoint in the park, as shown in the collection of photos above. I often see someone standing by the sculpture as they pose for a real-life photo.

A relatively new work of art in the park is entitled Love in the Rain. It was created by Bruce Voyce. The work depicts four wire couples, each located under an umbrella. Human couples are invited to add a padlock to the sculpture to "lock in their love". Many people have taken advantage of this invitation.

Watching the Dancing Waters fountain (sometimes known as the Dancing fountain) is always enjoyable. The fountain is located on the plaza beside the conservatory and frequently changes in appearance. Jets of water shoot up to different heights in a seemingly random pattern. The jets are controlled by a computer program. 85,000 litres of recirculating water produce the 70 jets. The fountain plaza is located on top of Vancouver's main drinking water reservoir.

In spring and summer, artists create new works at the Painters Corner in the park and then sell the paintings to the public.

Visiting the Park and the Conservatory

The main entrance to Queen Elizabeth Park is on Cambie Street at West 33rd Avenue, but the park can be accessed from other areas as well. Visitors can reach the park by car or by public transit. Pay parking is in effect.

TransLink runs the Greater Vancouver public transit system. Their website has a useful trip planner that lets a traveller enter their starting address and their destination and then tells them what bus or SkyTrain to catch. SkyTrain is a light rapid transit system. Visitors can take the train to the park, though they will have to walk from the station to the park. This isn't a hardship for someone with normal mobility.

Bloedel Conservatory is open every day of the week and operates all year round (except for Christmas Day). The conservatory contains washrooms, which are located in a recessed area behind the plant display. A small gift shop is located at the entrance. It's not necessary to pay an entrance fee in order to visit the shop. The building is wheelchair accessible.

The admission prices for Bloedel Conservatory shown below were current at the time when this article was last updated. The latest entrance fees can be found at the City of Vancouver website. A link to the site is provided in the "Resources" section below. Entrance to Queen Elizabeth Park is free.

Admission Prices for the Bloedel Conservatory

Age of VisitorAdmission Price

Adult

$6.90

Senior (Ages 65 and older)

$4.70

Youth (Ages 13 to 18)

$4.70

Child (Ages 5 to 12)

$3.45

Children 4 and under

Free

A close-up view of an orchid at the conservatory

A close-up view of an orchid at the conservatory

Two Beautiful Places to Visit in Vancouver

It's wonderful that both the Bloedel Conservatory and Queen Elizabeth Park will be around for the foreseeable future and that tourists and residents alike can enjoy their beauty. Both sites are enjoyable to visit throughout the year. Most of the flowers in the park are absent in winter, but the evergreen plants are still attractive. In addition, a summer environment can still be found in the dome. A spring to early fall visit to the area will reveal the best of both worlds, with beautiful flowers present in both the conservatory and the park.

Resources

  • The latest information about Bloedel Conservatory (including admission fees) can be found at the City of Vancouver website. The site also has information about Queen Elizabeth Park.
  • The TransLink trip planner is helpful for people who plan to travel by public transit.

Questions & Answers

Question: What are the names of the plants in this article?

Answer: The first set of plants in the article includes coleus, orchids, bromeliads, Christmas cactus, a flamingo lily, and other plants. I've added captions to the photos. The conservatory contains over 500 types of plants. They are beautiful to see, but most aren't labeled (or they weren't on my last visit). I'll add more photos and captions as I continue to explore the collection.

© 2014 Linda Crampton

Comments

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 05, 2015:

Thank you, Akriti. I appreciate all your visits very much!

Akriti Mattu from Shimla, India on May 05, 2015:

Went through a few of your posts.Looking forward to read more. Every post of yours is so informative :)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 21, 2015:

Hi, Camille. Thank you so much for the donation and for sharing the information. I'm happy to hear the names of the parakeets. I'll be looking out for each of them the next time I visit the conservatory!

Camille Bock on February 21, 2015:

The lineolated parakeets are Kali (blue female), Kilo (grey male), Leaf (green yellow female) and Turk (male green). I donated them :) glad to see them so happy!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 06, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment, the vote and the pin, Snakesmum! I love the idea of free flying birds, too.

Snakesmum on November 06, 2014:

Love the idea of free flying birds in a conservatory, and the photos are beautiful. Voted up, and shared on Pinterest.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 06, 2014:

Hi, ologsinquito. Yes, I consider the conservatory a must see place to visit! Thank you for the comment.

ologsinquito from USA on November 06, 2014:

The birds are truly beautiful. The entire conservatory looks like a must see when you visit Vancouver. It's nice that it's accessible by public transportation.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 17, 2014:

Hi, MPG Narratives. It was a shock when it was announced that the conservatory would be closing. I'm very happy that it stayed open! Thank you for the comment.

Maria Giunta from Sydney, Australia on September 17, 2014:

How could they even think about closing such a beautiful and educational place? If I ever come to Canada it will be on my list of 'must see places'. Thanks for the virtual tour Alicia, the photos are beautiful.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 12, 2014:

Thank you very much, oliversmum! I appreciate your comment and your vote. I'm glad that I live near the conservatory. It's a beautiful place.

oliversmum from australia on September 12, 2014:

AliciaC Hi. What a beautiful part of the world. So much information. The photographs are magnificent. Thank you for the exciting and wonderful walk thru the Conservatory and park. Thumbs up. :) :)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 06, 2014:

Thank you very much, VioletteRose! Yes, the Bloedel Conservatory is a very enjoyable place to visit. I love to explore it.

VioletteRose from Atlanta on June 06, 2014:

Wow Sounds like a wonderful place to explore. Thanks for sharing this :) the images look excellent!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 28, 2014:

Hi, Deb. Yes, the conservatory is wonderful. It would be very sad if it disappeared from Vancouver. Thanks for the visit.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on May 28, 2014:

This is a fabulous place, and I am so pleased that people stepped up in order to keep it from closing. I would love to visit here, as you no doubt know.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 22, 2014:

Thanks for the comment, Glimmer! The Bloedel Conservatory is a lovely place. It's very enjoyable to visit.

Claudia Mitchell on May 22, 2014:

I love conservatories and this one looks lovely! If I'm ever near there I will definitely take a look.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 19, 2014:

Thank you very much for such a kind comment, suzettenaples! I appreciate your visit. Conservatories are wonderful places to explore nature. I'd like to visit conservatories in other places and photograph their plants and animals.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on May 19, 2014:

This is such a beautiful article and your photos are stunning. I love conservatories and nature as well. I'd love to see this and if I am ever in Vancouver, I will certainly check this out. Thanks for the tour and your knowledge of this wonderful place.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 19, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment, the vote and the pin, Writer Fox! I appreciate your visit. Vancouver does have a lot of tourist attractions. It's a popular place for visitors, especially in summer.

Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on May 19, 2014:

What a beautiful and inspiring place! I didn't realize that Vancouver had so many tourist attractions. I loved the parrot pictures and pinned. Voted up!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 18, 2014:

Thanks for the comment, Dianna. I love visiting conservatories and botanical gardens. I'd love to visit Florida, too! I hope this is possible one day.

Dianna Mendez on May 18, 2014:

What a beautiful tour of this conservatory. I used to love visiting them when I lived up north. Here, we don't seem to have many but then we have flowers all year round in South Florida. Thank you for the photo tour.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 17, 2014:

Thanks for the comment, vespawoolf. I've never seen the Bloedel birds land on someone's body. They aren't fed by the public, which probably helps. I hope you and your husband enjoy the conservatory if you visit it!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on May 17, 2014:

We live Vancouver but have never visited this conservatory. My husband isn't very fond of birds as they often land on his head in this sort of setting, but he still might be convinced to visit this fascinating and reasonably priced attraction. Thanks for sharing!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 13, 2014:

Thank you very much, Vellur. I'm glad the conservatory didn't close down, too! It's a lovely place to visit.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 13, 2014:

Great hub. A glad that the conservatory did not close down. The plexiglass dome is awesome! Enjoyed the read.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 13, 2014:

Yes, the floral conservatory is a wonderful place to visit. Thanks for the comment, Liz!

Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on May 13, 2014:

Thank you for sharing. This looks wonderful!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 13, 2014:

Thank for very much the visit and the comment, Larry.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on May 13, 2014:

Sounds like something I would really enjoy. Great article.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 12, 2014:

Thank you very much, Nell! I appreciate your comment. The conservatory and the quarry gardens are gorgeous. They are great places to visit!

Nell Rose from England on May 12, 2014:

Wow, I would love to visit! This sounds like my sort of place to explore and relax, how gorgeous! We have something similar called the Eden project over here, but I haven't had the pleasure of going yet, wonderful hub Alicia! nell

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 12, 2014:

Yes, Bloedel Conservatory is awesome! Thank you for the comment and the vote, Devika.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 12, 2014:

Wonderfully presented. I like the photos and the place sounds are awesome! Voted up.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 11, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment about the photos, truthfornow! The conservatory is certainly beautiful. I enjoy seeing the birds there as well as the plants.

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on May 11, 2014:

Looks like a beautiful place. Love that this place has birds as well. Your photos are so great. You did such a good job.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 11, 2014:

Thank you, Nadine! I enjoy visiting botanical parks and photographing the plants. I'd love to visit different countries and explore their gardens. That would be a wonderful vacation!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 11, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment, Rebecca. I appreciate your visit!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 11, 2014:

Hi, Cynthia. Thank you for the visit. Places like the Bloedel Conservatory and the Eden Project are great! They are such interesting places to explore.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on May 11, 2014:

Beautiful, Beautiful,Beautiful. I could spent whole full days in a place like that and keep coming back. next week we are going to Kirstenbosh, a botanical park in Cape Town and I will make photos, but its not as incredible like this Conservatory in Vancouver.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on May 11, 2014:

Thanks for this great photo journey to Bloedel Conservatory and Queen Elizabeth Park!

CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on May 11, 2014:

This looks like a wonderful place to visit Alicia, as it has two of my favourite things flowers and birds! We have something similar in the UK - the Eden Project down in Cornwall, but they don't have parrots. Vancouver is on my bucket list as I want to go whale watching, so now I can add Bloedel Floral Conservatory to my activities list

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 10, 2014:

Hi, Flourish. Thank you very much for the comment. I like the fact that the big birds are rescues, too. Hopefully you will be able to meet Art and the other birds one day!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 10, 2014:

Thanks, Pamela! I appreciate your comment and vote. I hope you make it to Vancouver some day.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 10, 2014:

What a fabulous travel hub with beautiful photos and rich detail. I like that they got their birds from responsible, humane sources. I'd love to visit Art and his friends.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 10, 2014:

This is one of the places that I really want to visit. Your pictures are beautiful, as is the building. Vancouver has been one of the top destinations on my bucket list and I hope to make it there. Great hub. Voted up!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 10, 2014:

Hi, Bill. Thank you for the comment, the vote and the share. I appreciate your visit. I hope you have time to return to Vancouver one day. There's so much to see in the city, but sometimes not enough time to discover everything! I hope you have a great weekend, too.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on May 10, 2014:

Hi Linda, what a great place. Wish I knew about this when we visited years ago. We'll have to return at some point. The birds and floral life are beautiful. Thanks for sharing this with us, great job. Voted up, shared, etc.. Have a great weekend.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 10, 2014:

Hi, John. Thanks for the comment! All the places that you saw are beautiful! I'm glad that you got to visit them. I'd love to visit Australia, but I doubt that I'll ever be able to. I hope you're able to come to Vancouver again.

Jonn Ross Christie from Australia on May 10, 2014:

Wow incredible i went to Vancouver with my mum when we went to Canada for my 21st birthday we went to aquarium the buchurt Gardens and Whistler on the train i did not know this was here it is absolutely beautiful thank you sharing i knew i did not give Vancouver much a chance hope to be back one day.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 10, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment, word55. I love nature, photography and writing, so this hub was great fun to create!

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on May 10, 2014:

Hi Alicia, Ummm, Oh, What beauty it is there with flowers and birds. Thank you so much for sharing.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 10, 2014:

Thank you very much for the kind comments, erorantes! I appreciate them both. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. I love exploring the conservatory.

Ana Maria Orantes from Miami Florida on May 10, 2014:

It is good to keep this flowers growing. The fowers are joy to some of us. Definitely , I will keep this place in my travel plans. Thank you for writing this beautiful hub on The Bloedel_Conservatory_In_Vancuver.

Ana Maria Orantes from Miami Florida on May 10, 2014:

Hello miss Linda. Thank you for making this hub. It is beautiful. We have some of this flowers in Central America . I like the pictures. Your hub on The Bloedel_Conservatory_In_Vancuver is a delightful article.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 10, 2014:

Hi, Faith. Thank you very much for the comment and all the shares! I appreciate the support very much. Vancouver does have some beautiful spots. It's fun to visit and photograph them. I hope your weekend is wonderful!

Faith Reaper from southern USA on May 10, 2014:

Such a beautiful hub here with all the gorgeous birds, plants and flowers! Thank you for taking us along. Vancouver certainly has many beautiful and interesting spots to visit. I do hope the renovations go well and all the birds and plants are kept safe. Your photos are spectacular as always.

Up and more, tweeting, pinning and sharing

Have a lovely weekend.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 09, 2014:

Thank you for the visit and the comment, Bill. I hope you have a great weekend, too!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 09, 2014:

The outside of the building is spectacular...and the inside gorgeous. Thank you for the tour my friend and have a great weekend.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 09, 2014:

Thanks for the comment, Jodah. Yes, after forty years it's not surprising that the building needed a renovation! It must be expensive to operate, too. I'm glad that it has been saved.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on May 09, 2014:

What a beautiful hub Alicia. It looks like a wonderful place to visit. Being the age that the dome is and the cost of maintaining it I can understand the decision to close it, but I am glad the friends of Bloedel decided to save it. This conservatory is a wonderful asset to Vancouver.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 09, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment, the votes and the share, Rachel! I appreciate them all. It would be a great shame if the conservatory closed. It's a beautiful place.

Rachael O'Halloran from United States on May 09, 2014:

What a gorgeous place! The admission fees are low in comparison to where I live. The birds are beautiful and this looks like a very fun yet educational outing for a couple or a family. What a shame it would be if this wonderful cultural center had to close. The planned work is sure to generate more visitors and I hope it does.

Voted up, awesome and shared.