Conservatory November Construction Update

After a eight long months the Volunteer Park Conservatory Restoration and Capital Improvement Project is in the final stretch! Barring unforeseen issues, construction will be completed with several days to spare before the Gala Reopening Celebration on December 6th, 2014.

SeasonalGlazing on the Seasonal House is complete and the gardeners have already added soil to the planter benches and started replacing plant from the collection. Senior Gardener David Helgeson and his crew will soon start to assemble the Conservatory Holiday Express train track, which is always a hit with kids of all ages.

The finishing touches are being put in place in the Cactus House including a brand-new outward-opening exit door. A matching fixture will be added to the Bromeliad House as well. New electronic vent actuators will be installed throughout the Conservatory, replacing the somewhat temperamental pneumatic actuators in current use.


Meanwhile, the all-new 1,500 square foot mixed-use greenhouse is looking stunning. The new facility features several improvements over the older west wing including wall-mounted radiators allowing much greater use of floor space. A new QCom environmental system is being installed, which will not only regulate temperature in the new houses, but provide accurate tracking and reporting of data in the two zones. The new system will control the vents, heating, and shade clothes to regulate temperatures throughout the year based on the weather. There are a number of exquisite architectural details which demonstrate the care and attention which went into this project, and we are excited to share them at the Gala and in subsequent activities.

The FOC is eagerly anticipating using the new space in the new year. The Education Committee has identified over 50 classes for 2015, many of which will take advantage of the new space as a classroom. .

Palm HouseEven the Palm House Gift Shop is looking refreshed thanks to and FOC board member and superstar volunteer Dave Blythe who painted the walls and fixtures a cheery coat of paint. Shoppers will be treated to a much brighter shop thanks to a smart new palette of colors designed to compliment the merchandise while respecting the heritage of the Conservatory.

The next few weeks are going to be intense for both construction crews and our gardeners, but rest assured, everything will come together, and we will truly have cause for celebration!

And don’t forget: even though the Conservatory’s doors are still closed for a few weeks, the FOC is still hard at work behind the scenes. If you receive a renewal notice please be sure to mail it back to us to help keep us moving!

Travel to Brazil!

BrazilThe Friends of the Conservatory is seeking individuals interested in a trip to and tour of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in late August through early September 2015.

Beginning in Salvador de Bahia, UNESCO World Heritage Site and first capital of Brazil, a magical 500 year old city overlooking the shimmering blue Bay of all Saints filled with magnificent Baroque architecture, famous for its music and world renown cuisine, and beautiful beaches plus numerous parks and museums.

Then onto Rio de Janeiro, probably the most beautiful city in the world, with its amazing botanical gardens and parks, extraordinary museums, the statue of Christ the Redeemer considered to be one of the wonders of the modern world, colorful favelas, and great music, food, and shopping.

Next to Curtiba, the most ‘green’ city in the Americas with it’s numerous parks and wooded areas including one of the world’s finest glass conservatories, fine museums, and a unique cuisine.  It also boasts one of the most breathtaking train rides, the Serra Verde Express.

And finally an OPTIONAL EXTENSION to view Iguassu, the world’s largest and most impressive waterfall, that consists of a series of 275 falls over a 2 mile wide precipice, set against the lush Atlantic Rain Forest

If interested, please contact Lars Husby ( to pre-reserve a spot.

2014 Volunteer Park Holiday Event Calendar

The Holidays will be here before you know it, and the Conservatory and Volunteer Park plan to hit the ground running! There will be fun things to do and see throughout the month of December. Be sure to save the dates!

Gala Reopening Celebration

Reopening Gala SquareSaturday, December 6, 2014 – 6:00 PM

After eight long months of construction, the Volunteer Park Conservatory Restoration and Capital Improvement Project will be complete. To celebrate, the FOC is hosting an exclusive first-look gala and benefit. Be among the first to explore the newly restored Seasonal and Cactus Houses, plus brand-new 1,500 square foot multi-use greenhouse.  Catered by Herban Feast. Wine provided by Grand Vin Wine Merchants

Conservatory Opening Day


Sunday, December 7, 2014 – 10:00 AM

Can’t make it to the Gala Reopening Celebration?  The Conservatory’s first full day open to the public will be Sunday, December 7, 2014. Come experience the holiday display reveal, and shop some great deals in the Palm House Gift Shop.


Volunteer Park Trust Holiday in Volunteer Park

Holiday in the ParkThursday, December 11, 2014 – 6:00 – 8:00 PM

The Friends of the Conservatory are pleased to partner with the Volunteer Park Trust to bring you the 2014 Holiday in Volunteer Park!

Come one, come all for a fun, festive, family celebration! Sing carols, listen to holiday music from choral groups, enjoy delicious complimentary treats and drinks, and stroll paths lit by hundreds of luminarias.

Admission to the Conservatory and Seattle Asian Art Museum will be free.

FOC Members will receive 25%-off all purchases in the Palm House Gift Shop this night only!

Volunteer Park Conservatory Holiday Express Returns!

Train ThumbDecember 7, 2014 – January 4, 2015

The popular model train which debuted in 2012 will return, circling the newly restored Seasonal House.December 7 through January 4.

Cartooning Santa!


Saturday, December 13, 2014 – 12:00 – 3:00 PM

The ever-popular cartooning Santa Claus will be making a stop at Volunteer Park Conservatory for one afternoon only! creating whimsical cartoon caricatures for good boys and girls of all ages. Bring your camera for photos, and take home an unique souvenir from your visit!

Harp Music with Bill McJohn


Sundays December 7, 14 & 28 2014 – 1:00 – 2:00

Harpist Bill McJohn returns to the Conservatory to share his amazing musical talents. Be sure not to miss this exquisite tradition.


For questions about any of these events, contact or 206.322.4112

Conservatory Construction Closure Update

ScaffoldVolunteer Park Conservatory is closed to the public during the months of October and November to finalize work on the 2014 Restoration and Capital Improvement Project.

The Cactus and Seasonal house structural supports are firmly in place, and the remaining safety glass panels are being installed over the next two weeks. After the glazing is completed, new actuators to open and close the vents will be installed.

ConstructeesMeanwhile, in the Palm House, crews have been busy shaping and fitting sheet metal for new planting benches. The old benches were too wide to meet ADA standards. The new benches will help provide better wheelchair access.

The Clise orchid collection is taking a holiday in the lower production house during the construction phase, but will be returned in time for the grand opening celebration in December.


The final phase of construction on the Conservatory is the installation of new outward-opening main doors on the Palm House, as well as Bromeliad and Cactus Houses, which will provide better egress in case of emergency.

Just below the Conservatory, the new east production greenhouse and multipurpose facility are making large strides as well. Beautiful new structural supports are in place, and glazing will be completed over the next few weeks.

The FOC and the Conservatory staff are looking forward to 1500 additional square feet of flexible production space and can’t wait to share it with the rest of the world at the Reopening Gala Celebration December 6th!

And don’t forget: even though the Conservatory’s doors are closed, the FOC is still hard at work behind the scenes. If you receive a renewal notice please be sure to mail it back to us to help keep us moving!

You’re Invited to the Gala Reopening Celebration!

Reopening Gala Title Croppable

The Friends of the Conservatory in cooperation with Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Seattle Parks Foundation are pleased to announce the Volunteer Park Conservatory Gala Reopening Celebration.  This will be a night of glamour and excitement to be remembered!


Enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the newly restored Cactus and Seasonal Houses, which will shimmer with the magic and glamor of the season.

Be among the first to explore the new multi-purpose production house while sampling decadent desserts and listening to festive live entertainment.

It’s a great way to kick off the holiday season in one of Seattle most unique treasures, while supporting a great cause!

Each ticket level includes admission to the event plus food, drink, admission and processing fees.

WHEN: December 6, 2014
COST: $150 – $500
DRESS: Cocktail Attire

For more information contact or 206.322.4112