The Glasshouse

The Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse offers a thrilling year-round escape to the fantastic spiny desert of Madagascar and the butterfly-filled rainforest of Costa Rica. The Glasshouse features some of the strangest plants you’ve ever seen, including “upside down” baobabs, bottle-shaped pachypodiums, a colossal strangler fig and more.

The city seems to slip away and you’re surrounded by two other-worldly landscapes featuring 350 species of exotic plants. 50 different types of butterflies, birds, reptiles and amphibians flutter, climb and crawl through naturalistic habitats. The Glasshouse is unique among conservatories because it shows how plants, animals, geology and climate interact in delicate balance.

In 2017, new lighting was installed in the Glasshouse to replace the original light fixtures, which were put in place when the Glasshouse was constructed 15 years ago. These improvements in lighting technology, including 120 new LED lights, enable the lighting to change color in different pre-programmed themes to set the mood for various shows, allows a nighttime exterior view of the Glasshouse to evening visitors and reduces the Botanical Garden’s carbon footprint, while also reducing operating costs.

Rainforest of Costa Rica

  • The Glasshouse opened in July, 2003.
  • A computer controlled climate system moderates the temperature and humidity in the glasshouse. The fog system uses specially purified water.
  • There are 3,400 pieces of glass.
  • 738,000 pounds of steel make up the structure.
  • There are 20 tons of soil.
  • Daily chameleon feedings and butterfly releases are part of the fun for visitors.