It's all too easy to forget about the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, or to bypass it in favor of the humble (and free) zoo, or the kiddie-ride carnival that opens up in the summertime. But those who fail to at least make one trek to the conservatory during the cold Minnesota white-out are missing one entertaining afternoon. At the very least, the conservatory is surprisingly versatile. Bio-nerds can enjoy picking out plant species and impress friends with their fun-fact knowledge. Students can bring a book, pick out a bench in one of the less traveled areas, and spend some time catching up on schoolwork in a soothing environment. Romantics can breathe in the floral air and find a secluded nook and snog the afternoon away. And those with a limited heating budget can get out of the house and warm up—and bask in the joy of feeling comfortable again in only a T-shirt and jeans. There's a rotating lineup of shows and activities throughout the year, from orchid shows to Third-World travel photography. Right now the sunken garden is featuring the most iconic flower of the season: the poinsettia. Bright bursts of colors include varieties named after famous artists, including DaVinci and Picasso.
Dec. 1-Jan. 21, 2007