Dickinson Family Education Conservatory

A community hub for gathering, learning and celebrating!

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Come explore the Dickinson Family Education Conservatory, a  state-of-the-art, 8,000 sq. ft. glass-enclosed facility that opened in 2019. The conservatory provides a unique public educational space and also allows the Garden to expand its plant collection to include rare and unusual tropical plants from around the world.

people walking on pathway up to greenhouse

Plants Outside the Conservatory

As you walk around the outside of the Conservatory, you will notice rare and endangered palms, cycads, Ficus, Magnolia, and the Wollemia nobilis, a critically endangered Australian conifer that was only known from fossil records until a remnant population was discovered in 1994.

Plants Inside the Conservatory

As you walk into the Conservatory, look up. Above you will see six floating ‘plant islands’ reminiscent of the movie ‘Avatar’ hanging from the ceiling. These one-of-a-kind living ‘plant chandeliers’ – fabricated out of wood and stainless steel – were made specifically for SDBG. Epiphytic plants that naturally grow in the canopy of trees are planted in these beautiful hanging gardens, which on occasion will be lowered to the Conservatory floor for an up-close viewing experience.

Building a Plant Collection and a Community

By Tony Gurnoe, Director of Conservation Horticulture

When I started working at San Diego Botanic Garden (SDBG), nobody quite knew what would become of the big dirt lot at the north end of our recently opened Hamilton Children’s Garden, but it was evidently destined for something important. This Garden has reached many significant milestones in the years since, but the completion of the Dickinson Family Education Conservatory outshines them all. This state-of-the-art facility is our most significant investment ever, both in terms of creating a unique educational public space and in developing our plant collection. Computer programmed environmental controls, rare plants from around the world suspended overhead, a giant living wall, two classrooms and a substantial infusion of structural engineering make this a complex yet flexible space that will dramatically expand the Garden’s ability to meet our important mission[…]

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Rentals

Event tables set up in greenhouse with plants hanging overhead

Multi-Purpose Main Hall

  • Situated in the midst of tropical plants in an elegant glass and metal building
  • One-of-a-kind “plant chandeliers” overhead with stunning rare and unusual plants set in unique wood and stainless steel bases
    • Can be raised to allow for more meeting space in the Main Hall
    • Can be lowered for eye-level viewing in the Main Hall
  • Breakout spaces adjacent to Main Hall available for more intimate or private meetings
  • AV equipment, internet access, seating and staging available

Demonstration and Catering Kitchen

  • Accommodating caterers for meetings and events
  • Excellent for cooking classes and farm-to-table events
  • Refrigerator, cupboards and electrical outlets available for use
conservatory ampitheatre

Outdoor Amphitheater

  • Tiered seating for up to 265 guests
  • Excellent for cocktail receptions, entertainment and other outdoor events
  • Outdoor festoon lighting, staging, heat lamps and additional seating available

Conservatory Gallery