One short day in the Flower Conservatory

March 30, 2020 — by Apurva Chakravarthy and Anouk Yeh

Reporters travel all the way to San Francisco to hike uphill and smell flowers.


Editor’s note: This story was written prior to the suspension of in-class teaching starting in mid-March.

Amidst a week of doing nothing but binging Netflix and lamenting over our tiny amounts of homework, we decided to take a trip to the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco during the February break. We didn’t know much about the place before going except for the picture perfect scenery we were promised by Google images.

The night before, we realized we would probably need to figure out what trains we were going to take and when. We decided to take the 8:55 a.m. Caltrain from Sunnyvale and get to San Francisco at 10:09 a.m. The next day, after we stopped at Philz for some breakfast, we boarded our train for $12 and caught up on our lives during the journey.

We arrived in San Francisco and decided to get our second Philz for the day. Then, we Ubered to Golden Gate Park. Unfortunately, this is where things started to go awry.

Mistakingly, we Ubered to Golden Gate Park and not the Conservatory specifically. We ended up getting dropped off a good 30 minutes away from where we needed to be. So, we started our long trek to the Conservatory, which consisted of me yelling at Anouk for most of the time about why she couldn’t have just DIRECTED THE UBER TO THE RIGHT PLACE (can you tell I’m still a little salty about this). 

Finally, after what seemed to take AGES, we arrived at the Conservatory. The white conservatory looked like something out of a picturesque Pinterest board. The building was a Victorian greenhouse with a central dome, white framing and glass walls. The sprawling lawn had thousands of red, white and orange flowers in squares and a pathway leading up to the steps of the Conservatory. There, we met this sweet old lady named Jen whose official job at the Conservatory was “greeter” (We know, this made our hearts happy too ). 

The tickets were pretty cheap: $6 for students and $9 for adults to spend an hour walking through the entirety of the Conservatory and seeing all the different types of flowers. Of course, everywhere we looked was a perfect picture opportunity that we definitely didn’t waste.

The place was set up in a central plan with rooms at various temperatures showcasing plants that needed specific temperatures to thrive. Our favorite was the water section, as its water lilies and other water plants made for an extremely pretty exhibition.

At the end, we arrived at the gift shop. There, we decided to buy a small Philodendron for $8. After much deliberation, we decided on the name Bagel (don’t ask us why). Speaking of which, I don’t think I have watered Bagel for a hot second (oops). 

We finished our time at the Conservatory and decided that we needed to find a place to eat. We did, however, realize that we probably shouldn’t spend any more money on transportation and decided to go to Loving Hut, which was a 15-minute walk from the Conservatory. There, we shared a meal and at 2:30 p.m. we left for the train station to go home.

Ultimately, we give this day a solid five out of five falcons. Here’s our tip for any eager adventurers: Uber to the right place to save yourself from a trek mimicking the hike up to Everest.

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