Spring is in the air and Pittsburgh is blooming with opportunities to enjoy nature in all its beauty.
Take time to stop and smell the flowers at Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens' Spring Flower Show. This year's theme, "Masterpieces in Bloom" features the works of Van Gogh, Monet and other famous artists through breathtaking botanical renderings. Forget-me-nots and primula flowers recreate the sky of Van Gogh’s "Starry Night;" "Tulip Field in Holland" by Claude Monet includes a windmill and beds filled with hundreds of tulips in vivid colors. The Flower Show runs through April 10. While at Phipps be sure to check out "Spring Blooms of Western Pennsylvania: A Youth Art Exhibition" on display in the Welcome Center lobby. These original artworks created by middle and high school students depict western Pennsylvania's spring blooms.
Nature lovers will love Pittsburgh Botanic Garden located a few miles from downtown in the Settlers Ridge area. This former strip mine has been transformed into a beautiful garden with three miles of woodland trails as well as a historic homestead. Take the footpath and look for the 50 foot dragon in the woods! Go on one of the Spring Bird Walks (April 17, May 8 and May 15). Led by a local ornithologist from the National Aviary, beginners and experienced birders alike will enjoy it. Take binoculars and wear comfortable walking shoes. You can also buy bulbs there. Purchase spring or summer-flowering bulbs and 25% of your purchase can goes back into the Garden. There’s even outdoor yoga! Yoga in the Garden is a soothing way to unwind on the banks of the serene Lotus Pond. Must be 18 or over. No reservation required.
Enter the Holy Land, a replica of ancient Israel in Biblical Botanic Garden at Rodef Shalom Temple in Shadyside. There's more than 100 temperate and tropical plants marked with explanations about how they were used in the Bible. The largest such garden in North America, it sits on a pastoral setting that includes a waterfall, desert, stream and a representation of the River Jordan meandering through the garden. All plants in the garden—more than 100—are labeled with appropriate biblical verses and are displayed among replicas of ancient farming tools. Tours are offered to for individuals on the first Wednesday of each month at 12:15 p.m. No reservation is required. The Garden is open June 1 through September 15. Free admission.
Temple Emanuel's Holocaust Memorial Garden in the South Hills is a small, but important garden founded by a Holocaust survivor with the help of a master gardener. Each plant has a symbolic relationship with the Holocaust.
Explore the great outdoors at Allegheny County Parks - all nine of them - Boyce, Deer Lakes, Harrison Hills, Hartwood Acres, North, Round Hill, Settlers Cabin South and White Oak. Spend the day golfing, fishing, kayaking, horseback riding or hiking. Harrison Hills Park has a free Nature Center with live insect exhibits, a Butterfly Garden and a nature mural. There are picnic tables set up so take a basket and have lunch there. The parks have scheduled outdoor activities that involve nature including Maple Syrup making and Nature Walks (Deer Lakes), "Taking In The Forest through Tai Chi and Flute" and Arm Chair Bird Watching (North), Geocashing Nature Game (Hartwood and North and Deer Lakes) and even night time "Hoot 'n Howl Hikes" (Hartwood, Deer Lakes) where you can search for coyote.
What are your favorite spots in Pittsburgh to enjoy this beautiful season?