Conservatory of Flowers Teams Up with Local Organizations: 9 Free Activities for Nature Lovers

Summertime and exploring the great outdoors makes for a perfect combination. Seize the season by learning about tropical wonders inside Golden Gate Park, such the enormous seed pod of the double coconut, the largest seed known to science.

Following a successful pilot test last year, the Conservatory of Flowers will bring back botanical curiosities every Saturday to share with park attendees outside. Weekly from 12-3pm, starting June 3 and running through July 29, the Conservatory has a recurring lineup of free, on-site activities planned. The Victorian-era glass greenhouse with more than 2,000 species of plants and flowers also invites some great partners who work with tropical plants and products to also get in on the activities. The organizers curated a whole lineup of tropical wonders that can be explored both inside and outside the conservatory.

See below for the complete summer series, which includes educational sessions on coffee, chocolate, and spices, along with unique activities like live animal encounters and microscope viewing.

June 3: Sightglass Coffee explains how coffee is made, from sourcing to roasting to brewing.

June 10: Dandelion Chocolate shows how they roast, crack, sort, winnow, grind, conch, and temper small batches of cacao beans and then mold and package each bar by hand.

June 17: Insect Discovery Lab! This one is great for families as Save Nature brings out their giant darkling beetles, colorful grasshoppers, 240 legged African millipedes, and Madagascar hissing cockroaches for folks to hold and look at.

June 24: Celebrate the spices of the tropics with the culinary experts from San Francisco’s Spice Ace.

July 1: Northern California Society of Botanical Artists reveal the intersection of art and science.

July 8: Center for the Book comes out to help visitors make their own little naturalist notebook and learn to print with plant material.

Caledonian Giant Gecko is the largest gecko in the world. Credit: SF Conservatory.

Caledonian Giant Gecko is the largest gecko in the world. Credit: Lick Your Eyeballs.

July 15: The ‘Lick Your Eyeballs’ team (yes, that is their real name) is bringing along some cool tropical reptiles, including geckos, a 3-foot friendly lizard, and a colorful chameleon, for your awe and educational amusement.

July 22: Orchid Doctor Paul Bourbin, who has been in the business of growing and rescuing orchids for 40 years, will let you know what ails your orchid and how to address it. Bring your plant or a photo of your plant for examination. Bourbin will also do re-potting demos and share plant ID tips.

July 29: Use Foldscope microscopes to take a close look at the natural wonders of Golden Gate Park as well as special curiosities from the Conservatory, including the scales of butterfly wings and the micro-community hidden in carnivorous plants. The Foldscope is an ultra-affordable paper microscope that you can use and easily assemble. Who knew microscopy, anywhere at any time was a thing.

More info about each special event can be found at the Conservatory website.

Written by Carlos Olin Montalvo

Follow me @carlosolin