Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
1777 E. Broad St.,
Columbus, OH 43203
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
I noticed the lights at Franklin Park one afternoon and decided to stop. I parked my car and noticed that the lights were behind what appeared to be a six-foot black iron fence. I remember when there were no restricted areas outside the park and the entire park was free to the public. A person at the front desk informed to me that the area inside of the fence (The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden) is now part of the Franklin Park Conservatory admission.
General admission Ages 13-59 $18
Senior Ages 60+ $15
Children Ages 3-12 $11
Members and Children 2 and under Free
After a long discussion, she told me that admission is free to Franklin park residents the first Sunday of the month if they show picture id and select Columbus libraries (Driving Park, and Shepard) have free passes that can be checked out on a first come basis. The library pass admits up to 2 adults, and 6 children.
Sidebar: My friend along with other photography groups have a membership to Franklin Park Conservatory and they enjoy taking pictures of the beautiful flowers, butterflies, etc.
I decided to walk the entire Conservatory to see why people become members. In general, I would not consider myself a nature lover, or a nature photographer. However, the sites were so picturesque I did enjoy the scenery. Here are a few of my favorite pics from the conservatory.
I admired Dale Chihuly’s glass sculptures.
The Conservatory Aglow highlights horticulture displays and other outdoor displays with lights in holiday colors. Here are my favorite pictures of Conservatory Aglow:
Sidebar: While walking around, I heard many comments that this light display and layout is much better than the one at the Columbus Zoo. I like the different colors of the lights that can be viewed without a lot of walking, from different elevations, and different angles.
My take: The Franklin Park Conservatory offers unique and picturesque backgrounds for environmental photography. In my opinion, I think the Conservatory Aglow should be free and open to all every day, and not just on the free Sunday or on a library pass. That way, everyone could take advantage of what it has to offer.