Krohn Conservatory
Krohn Conservatory

Having lived in Cincinnati on and off for almost three years, I’ve made many visits to the Krohn Conservatory, where I’ve spent afternoons exploring all sorts of plants, from the rainforest  to the desert. The conservatory is most popular during its annual butterfly show, but I’ve somehow never managed to see the show. (I’ve even volunteered at the butterfly show a few times, where I stood at the exit to make sure there were no stowaway butterflies on people’s backs, but I’d never been in the showroom before!) 

So before Josh left last week to go back to Florida, we spent our last afternoon with the butterflies. And since he is such a brilliant photographer, all of the photos in this post were taken by him. This might be the longest post I’ve ever published, because I just couldn’t manage to narrow down the sheer amount of good photos that Josh took!

The Moroccan theme continues near the exit.
Krohn Conservatory interior

The theme of this year’s show was “Butterflies of Morocco,” and as we entered the conservatory, we were greeted by a colorful spice cart to set the mood.

Moroccan Spice Cart
Moroccan Spice Cart

The Desert House

Most people rush straight to the butterfly showroom, but we were just as excited about all of the plant life that Krohn has to offer, so we took our time, exploring the rooms that most people bypass. The entrance starts in the Desert House, which is pretty small, but absolutely brimming with cacti.

The Desert House
The Desert House
The Desert House
The Desert House

Josh snapped photos of the prickly details as I exclaimed with every cactus I saw.

"Wow, look at this one!"
“Wow, look at this one!”
"No, look at this one now!"
“No, look at this one now!”
"Oh my gosh, this one is so scary!"
“Oh my gosh, this one is so scary!”
"Hey, I think this cactus is actually an alien!"
“Hey, I think this cactus is actually an alien!”

Finally, I was too hot from baking in the greenhouse’s magnified rays of sunlight, so I sat on a bench and read some nearby plaques as Josh continued to capture the details of the Desert House, even managing to find some flowers among all of the spikes.

Many more prickles
Many more prickles
Cactus Flower
Detail of a cactus flower
Pink cactus flowers
Pink cactus flowers

The Orchid Room

Our path led us from blistering desert heat to tropical humidity as we entered the Orchid Room. While this was even smaller than the cactus room, it was just as full of plants that boasted even more vibrant colors and textures.

The Orchid Room
The Orchid Room

Our routine was very similar to the Desert House, as I ran from plant to plant, pointing out how wonderful each one was, while Josh followed behind me and got pictures of all of them.

"Ah, this is the prettiest flower I've ever seen!"
“Ah, this is the prettiest flower I’ve ever seen!”
"This might be my favorite flower ever!"
“This might be my favorite flower ever!”
"Nope, this one is definitely my favorite now."
“Nope, this one is definitely my favorite now.”
"Oh my golly, I love these ones!"
“Oh my golly, I love these ones!”
Some of my favorite textures
Some of my favorite textures from the Orchid House

The Bonsai Room

Next up was the Bonsai Room, where we entered a room full of miniature trees and delightfully cool air. We spent a little time admiring the bonsai, but knowing that the showroom was next made me eager to move on.

The flowering bonsai were the prettiest!
Some of the flowering bonsai

Finally, we prepared to enter a colorful, fluttering paradise. We were prepped by a volunteer, who told us not to touch the wings of the butterflies (they’ll die if you do!) and gave Josh some advice for capturing butterfly shots when she saw his camera.

Butterflies are our friends!
Butterflies are our friends!

The Showroom

After walking through the double doors, we entered a room that was alive with colorful flurries of motion, as the butterflies soared through the air, fluttered through plants, hovered by the fountains, and loitered by people with exceptionally colorful clothing.

I had been overwhelmed by the plants from the other rooms, and those didn’t even move; needless to say, I was ecstatic as I chased around my favorite butterflies and tried to capture pictures of them. (Secret: Every butterfly was my favorite!) Josh, who is much quieter–and less fidgety–than I am, had more luck getting some really good pictures of the butterflies, since he managed to sneak up without scaring them away.

Butterflies at rest
Butterflies at rest
Butterfly
Butterfly among leaves
Orange butterflies
Orange butterflies
I was extremely amused at the sight of this butterfly perched atop another butterfly.
I was extremely amused at the sight of this butterfly perched atop another butterfly.
More butterflies at rest
More butterflies at rest

All of these butterflies were beautiful, but the most beautiful butterfly was, of course, the hardest one to catch on camera. They could be found in groups, perched on tree trunks together, their tightly closed wings almost blending in with the tree bark. When these particular butterflies took flight, however, their brown wings opened up to reveal the most brilliant blue. Rarely did they stay in flight for long, and as soon as they landed, their wings closed again immediately.

Look closely! You can see a group of the butterflies on the tree in the background, and to the right of the tree is a blue blur.
Look closely! You can see a group of the butterflies on the tree in the background, and to the right of the tree is a blue blur.
This one is a little more clear, and I love that Josh managed to capture its shadow, too!
This one is a little more clear, and I love that Josh managed to capture its shadow, too!

The Palm House and the Fern House

After Josh finally completed his mission of capturing our blue beauty, we zipped through the last two display rooms, taking a few more photos of the plants.

Josh caught a picture of me as I ran ahead into the jungle.
Josh caught a picture of me as I ran ahead into the jungle.
Pink buds
Pink buds
Waterfall in the Palm House
Waterfall in the Palm House
Another pretty pink flower
Another pretty pink flower

After popping into the gift shop (and just barely resisting the temptation of buying ourselves a Venus flytrap), we finally left. The spring butterfly show itself is reason enough to visit the conservatory, but with more than 3,500 plant species from all over the world contained within its Art Deco walls, there are so many other reasons to head over to Eden Park and spend some time getting in touch with nature right here in Cincinnati’s Krohn Conservatory.

Love, Elizabeth