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A Peek Inside the Conservatory of Flowers

Article by Pierre Zarokian

If you’ve ever been to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, you might have noticed a white building that looks like something out of an old horror movie. That building is the oldest structure in Golden Gate Park and it’s called the Conservatory of Flowers. Don’t pass it off as just another garden, it’s got some of the most unique and exotic plants available in California.

Originally, the kit that the Conservatory was based upon was supposed to be in the city of San Jose. James Lick, an eccentric businessman and real estate investor, had intended on building a mansion there. He surrounded the grounds with plants he had imported from South America, but died before he could complete his master project.

That kit went up for sale and was purchased by prominent San Franciscans.

Part of the reason it was built had to do with trends of the time. During the turn of the 19th century, industrialization was in full swing and large urban centers were springing up all across America. The old frontier was gradually disappearing, replaced with urban landscapes. Greenhouses and botanical gardens offered city dwellers the opportunity to glimpse exotic plant life that had long vanished to make way for modern society.

Today, one can find roughly 1,700 species of plants within the Conservatory. This includes a corpse flower species, which attracted roughly 16,000 visitors, and poison plants rumored to have been part of the concoction that killed Lincoln’s mother.

Admission for adults is $8, with children ranging from $2-$6 depending on their age. If you happen to be in the city during the first Tuesday of each month, this stunning exhibit of natural life is free for all.


Five things to consider before booking a spa break

Article by Angelina Z.

If you are looking at booking your next spa break, here are five things to consider according to Garden Retreat Spa.

High expectations – Have a list of what you are looking to achieve from your spa break. It could be getting some much-needed peace or relieving back or shoulder pain. Whatever your goal, always let your therapist know before you book your appointment.

Price points – Look at spending at least $200-$400 on a spa stay which includes treatments. If you can spend more, look at spas that specialize in selected treatments.

Know what to expect – Medical spas will sometimes include procedures that are less than pleasant. In these instances, look at taking someone with you for support.

Time and money matters – Consider the treatments you are getting for the price you are spending. Although you may be spending more time at the spa, always consider if the procedures you are receiving are of value to you.

Book with a spa specialist travel agent – If you want the best deals, it is always best to book with a travel agent who is accustomed to organizing spa specific travel programmes. Ask your travel agent about the list of spa specific packages that are on offer; if they have this information on hand, it is a good indication that they handle spa travel packages.