Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory

Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States of America

This attraction is located within the Myriad Botanical Gardens, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory is the primary attraction within the gardens and is one of the most spectacular conservatories anywhere in the world. The entire gardens, including the conservatory, are open from 9am to 6pm every day—except Sunday, when the gardens close at midday. Admission to the gardens is inexpensive and includes access to the conservatory. There are also discounted rates for children.

Overall, it represents the vision of the botanical garden’s first director and was achieved some twenty years after the gardens first opened. The conservatory is a fine example of architectural design working together with structural engineering. The entire facility is over 200 feet long and reaches a height of about seven stories up. Some 3,000 clear acrylic panels keep an artificial atmosphere intact within the structure.

When you enter the conservatory you won’t feel like you are in Oklahoma any more. Instantly, a visitor is hit by the hot humid air that is simulating the conditions of a tropical rainforest. Adding to the rainforest effect are the artificially created clouds, which add a great deal of moisture to the air.

The whole place is designed to allow for tropical plants to thrive and they are everywhere. You really get the impression that you have been transported to the centre of a real rainforest. There are even rock formations which look real; they are, in fact, plastic, but the moulds were made from real rock outcrops. Flowing down these ‘rock’ formations is an impressive waterfall—another feature that gives the effect of transportation to the rainforest.

It is not just flora in the conservatory: there are numerous animal species also living in there, making it a totally contained ecosystem. You will be surrounded by the squawking of parrots and you will see lizards living among the greenery. There are tropical butterflies of all colours that fly around the huge space.

The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory is truly an engineering accomplishment. The entirely self contained atmosphere is a world away from the climate of Oklahoma, and you will be able to see plants and animals in an artificial environment that is about as close to the real tropical rainforest as you can get.


flickr image by Rubright

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