The Gift of Membership

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Join me on a nighttime tour of Phipps winter flower and Christmas light show.

As I mentioned in the post, Christmas Card from Old Quebec City, my husband and I gave each other gifts of experiences this year. After spending a fabulous four-day weekend in Quebec prior, we agreed to a modest budget for presents on Christmas Day. One gift was a couples membership to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, along with a timed ticket to the holiday lights show.

It was the perfect evening to go too, because it was the same day our sons flew home. We both needed something to shake off the blues. It was awfully cold that night, but that’s where my lovely new sweater wrap came in handy!

Join me now, in the warmth of your home, while we stroll through the conservatory and outdoor Christmas light show.

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Take the Nighttime Tour

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As you enter Phipps‘ main room, dazzling stars and a white light ‘chandeliers’ hang overhead, mixed with enormous baskets of poinsettias.

Even though we had timed entry tickets, the place was packed! I’ve never seen so many people at Phipps! Despite the crowds, it’s a romantic place to spend an evening. Small lanterns with white candles line the winding paths throughout the conservatory. It’s the kind of atmosphere couples find themselves holding hands.

Phipps Winter Flower Show and Lighting

Holiday Magic is this year’s Phipps winter theme. There are decorated fir and pine trees, and according to Phipps‘ web site, over 2,000 poinsettias.

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There’s also a garden railroad, Santa’s workshop, and sparkling New Year’s Eve celebration. In the Outdoor and Discovery Gardens, is a an expanded Winter Light Garden sparkling with luminous orbs, trees, fountains, and a tunnel of lights.

Chihuly Glass at Phipps

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In 2007 a blockbuster collaboration between Dale Chihuly and Phipps filled 12 display rooms, the Welcome Center, and the Outdoor and Japanese Courtyard Gardens.

The spectacular exhibit attracted more than 400,000 visitors from around the world.

After the exhibit closed in 2008, a number of pieces were kept for permanent display. They include the stunning chandelier that hangs in the Welcome Center.

I took a few pictures of the Chihuly sculptures and chandeliers as we walked through the Phipps winter show.

Artistic works of glass are particularly beautiful at night. Here’s the Chihuly chandelier that greets visitors in the Welcome Center.

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A sculpture along the path is stunning lit at night.

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I think it looks like flames from a fire?

An Elegant Feast, For the Eyes

This was my favorite Phipps winter flower show display, a Christmas tablescape.

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Here’s a close-up of one of the two identical tables in the installation. Isn’t it stunning? Phipps calls it an extravagant feast. Wouldn’t you love a seat at that table?

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In 2009, Phipps hosted a grand dinner of a different kind. Then President Obama and the First Lady welcomed G20 leaders and their spouses to Pittsburgh with a reception and working dinner.

Floating Christmas Tree?

An enormous Christmas tree in the center of a large pool is a popular spot for selfies and family group photos. A path goes all the around the pool and plants. Other paths branch off, leading to more botanical installations like the orchid room. I love how the white lights are reflected in the dark water.

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In addition to how beautiful and magical the flower show is to see, were the wonderful fragrances. A feast for the senses, with holiday jazz music playing in the background.

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Above, Santa and his sleigh fly over a small stream in a neighborhood populated with nutcrackers and tin soldiers.

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Another room that comes off the pond area looked like a lovely setting for a winter holiday wedding.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Hubby and I then bundled up before heading outside.

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I apologize if these next few photos are not the best quality, as I took them with my iPhone and it was subfreezing. We made a quick walk through the displays before heading back inside.

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Illuminated Christmas packages were bigger than life.Look In the background of the picture below, to see the central glass observatory of Phipps.

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Once back inside, my glasses immediately fogged up for a full five minutes! Eventually we worked our way to a room full of cactus , and another Chihuly glass chandelier.

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My parents love Phipps. We use to go often when I was a kid. It’s changed and expanded a lot since then. A few years ago, we visited over the holidays and I think they were surprised how extensive the complex is. In November, my friend’s son’s wedding reception was set in this gorgeous venue.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the evening stroll through Phipps winter flower and light show.

Do you have a conservatory near you? Another one of my favorites is Longwood Gardens that we often visited when I lived in Philadelphia.

Stop and smell the flowers throughout the year!

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