Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Gardens provides tropical rainforest getaway just minutes from downtown

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Credit: Yelp Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Ever wanted to escape the city to a serene rainforest for the day, but don’t have the time or money for a tropical vacation?

No worries, because Yelpers can’t get enough of the natural beauty and serenity found at the Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Gardens, where a jungle-like experience awaits.

Located at 2505 Conservatory Drive, the Garfield Park Conservatory is just a mile or two from downtown. Here, Yelpers give top marks to what many call a “hidden gem” located in Indy’s oldest city park.

The Garfield Park Conservatory feels like an escape to lush rainforest gardens, a world away from city life. But it wasn’t always like this according to their exterior horticulturalist, Colleen Monzell.

“Originally, the conservatory was an annual display house, so it was just a rotation of different annuals similar to what you’d see in your outdoor garden or city park garden,” she says.

But in 1997, the conservatory took on a permanent rainforest theme, and now it serves as the home of thousands of tropical plants from all over the world.

Photo gallery from Yelp

“The chocolate tree is a popular attraction. We have a vanilla orchid and a beautiful koi pond, a waterfall, and just all kinds of different things blooming all year around,” Monzell says.

While you’re taking in the scenery, the koi pond is sure to be a fan favorite for the kids.

“Parents with small kids love to come in and watch the koi forever it seems like. And the parents can sit back and relax. So it’s a big draw for that 0-3 crowd,” says Monzell.

After you check out the tropical plants, you can actually purchase plants to take home. But no worries, Yelp Indy’s Brittany Smith notes that these aren’t the tropical plants you see in the greenhouse. These are the kind much better suited for Indiana weather.

“One of the top things that really stands out in the Yelp reviews is that you can actually stop in and actually buy succulents and plants here,” Smith says.

Four Things You Need to Know:

  • Leashed pets are welcome on the grounds
  • You can purchase succulents and other plants at the conservatory
  • In 1997, the conservatory took on a permanent rainforest theme and now houses a wide variety of plant species including palms, orchids, ferns, cacao, vanilla, bananas and coffee.
  • The conservatory hosts events throughout the year to show off different types flora and fauna like the upcoming Bonsai Show in June.

Yelpers love that for only a couple bucks, you can experience not only the beauty of the rainforest inside the greenhouse, but also everything else the grounds have to offer.

“It’s really interesting that you can come here and you’re going to find everything from tennis to the sunken gardens which are gorgeous in the summer and then pay only $2 admission and you feel like you’re going on a tropical adventure. It’s really really neat,” says Smith.

They also have an art center and if you need to cool off during the hot summer months, you can do so in the outdoor pool. Plus, there’s always something to see or do with many events throughout the year.

“We’re really trying to add programs that people in the neighborhood want. The family center has done a survey of the neighborhood and they want things like yoga and accessible things for seniors, or limited mobility. We have summer camps and we really do our best to try and serve the community,” Monzell says.

You can check out the Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Gardens on Yelp or on their website for more information. You can also connect with them via Facebook.

While you’re in the neighborhood, don’t forget to check out these other Yelp hot spots:

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