Monday, September 8, 2014

Sunday Funday at Phipps!

Happy Monday all! The weekend always seem to go by too fast doesn't it?! Yesterday my sister and I took my mom to Phipps Conservatory since it's one of her favorite places. They always do all kinds of seasonal shows so we usually go twice a year at least to see the summer flowers and then for Christmas! It's absolutely beautiful with all the Christmas decorations and lights at that time of year.

I'm going to warn you now that this post is pretty long since it was hard to narrow down my favorite pictures because all the flowers and plants are so beautiful and interesting! I love all the little signs that Phipps has around talking about the plants or random little fun facts. If you guys haven't figured it out by now, I'm quite the nerd :)

Anyway, just a little background on Phipps before you get bombarded with all the pictures. First off, it's GIANT and if you've never been there it's rather overwhelming. It seems like a maze but I've been there dozens of times so it makes sense to me now. But, there are different rooms and each room has a theme. For example, there's the Orchid Room, Butterfly Room (yes, with real butterflies flying around!), Rainforest of India, Japanese Garden, etc. and there's also outdoor spots too. It's honestly amazing and even though I've been there a billion times I still take tons of pictures!

This year the summer theme show was Trains. The coolest part was that there were tiny miniature trains in all the rooms with facts as well as being interactive! You could push all kinds of buttons to make the trains move or make sounds. I was such a little kid and every time I'd see a button I'd run up to it so I could push it!

I'd probably get put on the Lunatic Express...

There were also the cutest little miniature train towns set up in some of the rooms!

I don't get the connection between dinosaurs and trains. But I love it. 

It was fun trying to spot all the trains hidden between the flowers and plants!

You know I did ;)

This was my favorite miniature train town. When you pushed the button the train whistled but then the ice workers also started yodeling. You bet my sister and I started yodeling along with it. Yodeling in the middle of Phipps Conservatory? Just another typical day with us! 

One of the first rooms you go into is the Orchid Room. It's one of my favorites because it's full of so many different types of Orchids that are all so beautiful! It's hard to pick your favorite because they're all incredibly interesting and I love reading all the signs. 

I thought these Leopard ones were pretty cool!

This one smelled like chocolate!

Like I said, I always learn so many neat things from all the signs!

I think these ones ended up being my favorite because I loved the vibrant colors and pattern. 

Again, my thing with the signs. Sorry guys. 

The outside gardens are just as breathtaking as the ones inside!

These have always been my favorite ones outside. Every year without fail they have them!

"Dessert room?! They have dessert here?? Oh wait, that says 'desert'"-- my sister, Amanda 

The coolest part? The new building they finally finished constructing! 

It's really amazing because they've designed it to be very green and energy efficient. I was having a field day reading all the signs and learning about it! Wanna hear some fun facts? I know you do! Well, you have no choice because I'm going to tell you anyway :)

Okay, so the way the building is designed is to let in as much natural lighting as possible to reduce the need for artificial lights. This way they're able to use 80% less artificial lighting each day to save energy. They also reuse all the water on site and even have little rooftop gardens!

Those are all the solar panels they use to harvest the energy. It's neat because the elevator inside the building is only powered by all the natural energy produced on site! 

ANOTHER sign?! You betcha!

Here's what the building looks like on the outside. As you can see there's tons of windows and it's pretty open to let in all the natural light. 

This is another one of my favorite rooms because it has the Official Wishing Well in it. Yes, there's a sign and everything marking it as the official one.  

 Anyone remember the part in Jumanji where the giant flowery plant thing tries to eat them? Well that's what the plant on the left reminded me of...

Amanda also insisted that we stop and take photo shoots every so often. Just because I know it annoys her I often will start making silly faces. I mean what kind of younger sister would I be if I didn't? Gotta make sure I'm playing the part right! 

Anyway, this one happened to be one of my favorites. Trust me there are a ton more where I'm making even more ridiculous faces but those on are her phone and I don't have them at the moment. This picture sums our family dynamic nicely, though. 

 Probably what I love most about Phipps overall is the fact that they keep remnants of every single one of their themed shows hidden throughout the conservatory. They take away a bulk of it but leave little reminders here and there. This one is from the Dan Chihuly exhibition they did probably in 2007? I was still in high school and my mom and I went to see it. He makes phenomenal art with glass and Phipps had his artwork all throughout the conservatory, it was beautiful! By far my favorite show they've done to date and I love how some of his stuff is still throughout the exhibits! If you look above earlier in the post at the picture of the desert room, that's one of his sculptures dangling as a chandelier. 

If you've made it this far in the post I hope you enjoyed all the pictures! It literally took me a couple hours to write this because I had to sort through so many and just keep the highlights. So if you actually took the time to read all this, I appreciate it! 

I always recommend going to Phipps to anyone who is looking for stuff to do while visiting Pittsburgh. It's educational, interesting, and Phipps obviously takes a lot of pride in what they do. I can't even imagine the upkeep for this place but it's always immaculate and well-cared for. I'm always impressed by the work they do as their shows never fail to disappoint. 

So if you're ever in the Pittsburgh area stop by Phipps! Also, there happens to be student discounts and Pitt students get in for free :)

Which reminds me of one last photo...

Hail to Pitt!!

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