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Big Blooms Ahead! Franklin Park Conservatory Unveils a Game-Changing 25-Year Master Plan

Big changes are afoot at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and if you thought this Columbus gem couldn’t get any more enchanting—think again! Buckle up, plant lovers and city adventurers, because the Conservatory is set to transform into a premier botanical destination over the next 25 years, thanks to the ambitious North Star Master Plan.

After two years of community research and brainstorming with top-notch architecture and design mavens, the Conservatory is ready to unfold a future as lush and vibrant as its gardens.

Let’s dig into what’s on the drawing board

franklin park conservatory north garden
The new North Garden. Rendering courtesy of Franklin Park Conservatory

The plan includes more than 15 capital projects that promise to turn a day at the Conservatory into an even more immersive and seamless experience. Visitors will be strolling through a revamped entrance from Broad St. to Franklin Park, now moving to align with the traffic light at Woodland Ave. This new gateway is just the start.

Prepare to park in style (and underground!) as visitor parking shifts beneath the earth. Topside, you’re greeted by a stunning central entrance near the iconic John F. Wolfe Palm House and the sprawling Grand Mallway. This shift not only adds convenience but enhances the entire park’s flow, improving security and making your visit safer and more serene.

Central to the North Star Master Plan is the transformation of the existing visitor hubs.

franklin park conservatory main building
The Main Building. Rendering courtesy of Franklin Park Conservatory

The John F. Wolfe Palm House and Dorothy M. Davis Showhouse are set for a significant makeover, ensuring these historical icons continue to dazzle for generations to come. Additionally, the new visitor center will house a restaurant, gift shop, and possibly an art gallery—perfect for a post-stroll unwind.

For those who crave a touch of the extraordinary, the plan includes two new biomes—one possibly fluttering with butterflies all year round and the other showcasing the Conservatory’s Chihuly collection, the largest in a botanical garden setting.

greenhouse at franklin park
The Greenhouse Operations Complex. Rendering courtesy of Franklin Park Conservatory

But that’s not all—get ready for new north and south signature gardens, each promising a whimsical, naturalistic escape, and expanded operations in greenhouse and educational facilities.

The new Grand Mallway will serve as a majestic corridor connecting these diverse botanical experiences.

franklin park conservatory grand mallway
The Grand Mallway. Rendering courtesy of Franklin Park Conservatory

To bring this verdant vision to life, the Conservatory teamed up with MKSK, a local landscape architecture firm with a national reputation, ensuring the plan’s roots are as deep and strong as the community it will serve.

With the expansion of the Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden and various other enhancements, the future looks green and bright for the Conservatory. Whether you’re a regular visitor or planning your first trip, the unfolding changes promise to make every visit unforgettable—proving that in Columbus, growth and innovation are always in season. So, keep your garden gloves handy and stay tuned for more updates from this leafy paradise!

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