A Love Letter to Franklin Park Conservatory


Let’s face it; this winter has been rough weather-wise. From the polar vortex to the never-ending snow, my family has been stuck indoors, and it has been frustrating. The first weekend we were snowed in, it was fun. I cooked and baked. My husband and son went outside. It was sweet. By the third big snow, we were officially done. We just wanted to be able to get out of the house. What are some cool places you can go in the winter that won’t drive you crazy? The obvious answer for us is one of my family’s all-time favorite spots is The Franklin Park Conservatory!

Explore and Imagine During Each Season

There are places you go where you are encouraged to explore and imagine. In literature, you often hear about setting and how it influences your mood. The Conservatory is a beautiful place to just imagine and escape. In the summer the Children’s Garden is incredible, but the Conservatory itself is stunning in the winter. If it’s snowing outside you can go to the desert, the Himalayas, the rainforest, grove of palm trees, and so many other things. You walk in and take the elevator up to beautiful gardens. It is just so amazing.

So much to see during each season at The Franklin Park Conservatory!

My family has gone every season and every time there is a new nook to find. My family will compare pictures and each time we all take different pictures of different things. It’s just magical. I don’t use that word lightly. In the spring, when we went for the first time as an extended family, (my mother, sister, brother-in-law, husband, and baby) they had the butterflies out. It was just an exclamation point on a beautiful day!

In the fall, we spend time inside and outside. Each time we go, we look for the parrot and koi pond. My son is obsessed with waterfalls and when we were there for Halloween, we stopped to get candy and he grabbed my hand and turned us both around and took me to the waterfall in the Himalaya part. To him, waterfalls > candy. The glass work adds an artistic flair to the whole experience and everything just seems thoughtfully laid out. It’s generally quiet and you can take your time exploring. I live in my head and it feels like you are in a storybook. I am a really detail oriented person and I love discovering new things each season that we go.

Practical Elements

As artful as the place is, it also has some really practical elements as well. They have a cafe area where you can get little Bento boxes of snacks, baked goods, and tea. This is located in the center of the building so you can stop there and fuel up. You can also bring your own snacks if you want to. The Conservatory is close to Olde Towne East and Bexley and both neighborhoods have wonderful dining options if you choose to go there before or after.

I would always suggest layering up because some of the areas can be quite humid. If you wear a bulky winter coat, you can get a little overheated. They have several coat racks where you can hang your items. There are plenty of water fountains and bathrooms. As someone who can’t stand for too long, I appreciate the benches and places to sit. Again, it is a place where you can lose yourself. When my mother moved from Dayton to Columbus, we created many family memories here. This is a special spot for us. It is her favorite place in the city and her favorite place to take my son. There are just certain places where you can just create happy memories and this is one of them. I can’t suggest it highly enough. If you are feeling some cabin fever….escape to the Conservatory. It’s magical! Thanks for being you, Franklin Park Conservatory! 

For more information about Franklin Park Conservatory, including special events, hours and price of admission please check out their website: Franklin Park Conservatory

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Alison Gehred
Alison is an Air Force brat, who was born in Wisconsin (and she still visits there often to see extended family) and lived all over the West before her family settled in the Dayton area. Alison received her BA from Bowling Green State University where she met her husband, best friends who are like family, and worked at her college radio station. If there was a cool band in the mid aughts, chances are Alison played them on her show "My Aim is True." Alison received her MLIS from the University of Wisconsin and moved back to southwest Ohio. She reconnected with her now husband Mark and moved to Columbus a year later. Several years later, she is still working at Nationwide Children's Hospital as a medical librarian and they have a little boy named Rhys and two feisty cats. They are enjoying re-discovering Columbus as parents and enjoy what the city has to offer in the food, music, and art scene. Alison enjoys fashion, cult movies and tv shows, discovering new music and meticulously keeping track of it in various journals, BBC crime dramas, SCIENCE, reading all kinds of books, and cooking. Alison has her own personal blog about her life and things she finds interesting at www.radiancereflected.com. She loves to write and hope you enjoy her vignettes about motherhood and this fair city.