Cleveland's Rockefeller Park Greenhouse, which is located just off of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd near University Circle houses a wonderful and diverse collection of exotic and native plants. Admission to the greenhouse is free and highlights include the extensive orchid and tropical plant exhibits as well as the spring bulb and December holiday plants displays.
The idea of the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse was conceived in 1903 and finished in 1905, on part of a tract of 270 acres donated to the city of Cleveland by industrialist, John D. Rockefeller. Initially, the greenhouse was used to house and nurture plants destined for the city's parks, but eventually, the scope grew to include display gardens.
Over the years the facility has grown and has added new garden areas, including a new entrance, central lobby, and a meeting room. The greenhouse and gardens are now seen as a first-rate botanical facility containing specialty plant collections, seasonal floral displays, and theme gardens.
The Rockefeller Greenhouse consists of both outdoor and indoor gardens. Highlights include a formal Japanese Garden, planted in the 1960s; a desert-like Latin American garden; a tropical garden; and the outdoor Peace Garden. The gardens are rarely crowded, making this a nice oasis on a hot, hectic day.
Special Exhibits and Events:
In addition to the regular exhibits, the Rockefeller Greenhouse hosts a variety of seasonal displays. The most popular of these is the elaborate and festive holiday plant display in December, with its rows of poinsettias (only $5 each) and other holiday plants as well as the fall bulb sale and the spring iris sale sponsored by the Friends of Rockefeller Greenhouse.
Weddings at the Rockefeller Greenhouse
The Greenhouse rents its facility to couples as a wedding venue. The greenhouse can accommodate up to 75 people during regular hours (10 a.m. - 4 p.m.), and 50 guests for indoor-only weddings. Fees for Cleveland residents are currently $150 for a wedding plus photoshoot time and $75 just for a photoshoot. Non-resident fees are $175 and $100 respectively (2019 prices). Call 216 664-3103 for more information and for reservations.
Visiting the Rockefeller Greenhouse
The Rockefeller Greenhouse is easily accessible from both sides of Cleveland; it's just out of I-90 at MLK Blvd. The greenhouse is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., year-round. Admission to the greenhouse is free.
Other Cleveland area public gardens
The Rockefeller Greenhouse is just a short walk or ride away from the Cleveland Cultural Gardens that line both sides of MLK Jr. Boulevard between I-90 and University Circle. The Cultural Gardens is a collection of 31 individual gardens that represent the different ethnic and community groups that make up greater Cleveland. The gardens, first conceptualized in 1916, are a lovely visual depiction of Greater Cleveland's diversity.
In addition, Cleveland offers Cleveland Botanical Garden at University Circle, Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, and the gardens at the Kingwood Center in Mansfield.