The smell hits you first, and what a delightful fragrance it is. Flora from all over the world bloom and thrive in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at the Como Zoo, and after months of looking at waist-high snowbanks, this is the best way to escape to the tropics while staying in the Twin Cities. One step inside the conservatory, and you're guaranteed to forget that there's a 40-below wind chill. The humidity trapped beneath the panes of glass isn't stifling — it's rejuvenating, like a sauna. The Sunken Garden is an island oasis with a koi pond and new flowers cycling out during each season: poinsettias while the snow falls, roses during the warmer months, and mums just as the leaves start to fall outside. Warm mist seems to hang over the tropics area and palm dome, and a trip to the fern-covered room is pure tranquility — even if a snowstorm is raging outside. A stroll through the conservatory will banish the winter blues, at least until you go back outside.