UPDATE: Phipps will reopen to members on Sat., June 6 and to the public on Sat., June 13. All tickets must be purchased in advance, and new safety protocols are required. Learn more about how you can join us!

This Week at Phipps: Sept. 30 – Oct. 6
Sep 30

This Week at Phipps: Sept. 30 – Oct. 6

By Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

There's always something new to see and do at Phipps! This weekly blog post provides a run-down of the latest happenings so you can plan your visit. Events listed below require no advance registration unless noted otherwise. 

Open Daily:

  • Van Gogh in Bloom — FINAL WEEK!
    Experience the captivating work of Vincent van Gogh brought to three-dimensional life through vibrant blooms, majestic trees and hand-crafted props as recreations of his legendary paintings take center stage at Phipps.
  • The Plants That Inspired Van Gogh: A Photographic Exploration
    In our Welcome Center Gallery, local photographer and Phipps volunteer Paul g. Wiegman highlights the essence of the plants that Vincent van Gogh was inspired to paint.
  • Homegrown: The Power of Community
    In the Center for Sustainable Landscapes Green Gallery, discover the impact of Phipps' edible garden program on the health of our region's families.
  • Planets Earth
    A dynamic exhibit at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes addresses the pressing environmental issues of our time and proposes a new way of thinking about how to solve them.
  • Tropical Forest Cuba
    Experience the natural beauty and culture of Cuba, one of the most biodiverse Caribbean island nations on Earth, in our immersive new Tropical Forest exhibit.
  • Make the Switch at Phipps! Green Power Drive
    Join the more than 1,000 families who have switched their home electricity to 100% green power while visiting our Tropical Forest Conservatory and you can receive free Phipps membership!

Mon., Sept. 30:

  • Make a Craft Monday  |  10:30 a.m. – noon
    Guests will enjoy creating a bird-themed craft as they learn about the different equipment ornithologists use to study and track birds. 
  • Make Your Own Terrarium |  7 – 9 p.m.
    Learn how to create a living garden under glass while discussing plant selection, visual design, proper care and different styles of terrariums, such as open versus closed and wet versus dry. Please bring a container to make your own terrarium. Anything from a glass bowl to an apothecary jar is appropriate. All other materials (including soil, moss, rocks and plants) will be provided.

Tues., Oct. 1

  • Ground Covers and Vines | 7 – 9 p.m.
    Ground covers and vines are very valuable and functional with varieties that can cover both vertical and horizontal surfaces and grow in sunny, shady, wet or dry conditions. Learn about the many possibilities that this exciting plant group presents and get to know some unique types that can enliven any landscape

Wed., Oct. 2:

  • Story Time Wednesday  |  10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
    Learn about wildlife as you read a squirrel-themed story and discuss wildlife biology! Motion-activated cameras used by wildlife biologists will be at the station so guests can learn about how scientists study animals remotely or in more than one place. 

Thurs., Oct. 3:  

  • Limining |  10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
    Limning, a traditional painting method dating back to the Renaissance, has been used by botanical artists and scientific illustrators for centuries and is still favored by those who need to portray their subjects with great precision. For this technique, tiny brushstrokes are used to build up a highly detailed image. Receive step-by-step instruction on this watercolor technique and practice it using high-quality photos of plants and flowers that you select as references.
  • Biophilia: Pittsburgh October Meeting — The Influence of Screen Time, Nature and Reading on Child Development | 5:30 – 7 p.m. 
    Join us at Café Phipps with Dr. Catalina Hoyos, local pediatrician at UPMC's Children's Community Pediatrics, for a talk about how nature and technology increasingly compete for our attention. While the outdoors beckon with adventure and beauty, we are drawn to our screens more and more. Dr. Hoyos will discuss the impact of time spent in nature or reading, versus time spent with technology and screens, and how both impact child development.
  • Sushi Rolling | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 
    Roll up your sleeves and get ready to learn how to roll your own sushi. Chef Red will teach you the techniques you can use to create our favorite Japanese pieces of culinary artwork. Choose your favorite veggies, raw or cooked, to create your own masterpiece and eat it too!

Fri., Oct. 4: 

  • Pot-a-Plant Friday  |  10:30 a.m. – noon
    Kids can pot their own plant to care for at home.
  • Party in the Tropics: Oktoberfest | 7 – 10 p.m. 
    Our October Party in the Tropics pays homage to a fun, fall celebration — Oktoberfest! Enjoy a variety of seasonal beers available for purchase provided by Vecenie Distribution Company as you stroll through the Tropical Forest at this exciting celebration. Plus, craft your very own festive bier garden hat, make a pretzel necklace and grab your friends to take photos in our photobooth! Guests are encouraged to wear their best festive German attire.  
  • Friday Extended Hours  |  Open until 10 p.m.
    Enjoy the gardens by twilight — it's the perfect way to wind down the week!

Sat., Oct. 5:

  • Healthy Eating for Kids | 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 
    Join Let's Move Pittsburgh in the Tropical Forest Conservatory and learn how to implement healthy food options into your child's diet! 
  • Nature Lab Open Hours  |  11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    The revolutionary Nature Lab at Phipps is now open for you to discover.
  • Native Woody Plants and Their Uses in the Landscape | 1 – 3 p.m. 
    Identify woody plants that reflect local native plant communities and survey the taxonomic features of these plants, including growth habit, size, flowering sequence and cultural requirements. Using these attributes, learn the importance of site placement and create ecologically informed landscape designs.
  • Plant Printing  |  1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
    Learn how to make your own plant prints at this free with admission public program. 

Photos © Paul g. Wiegman


I came to see the Van Gogh exhibit at night last Friday.  I had already seen it in the day and wanted to see it at night as other exhibits I’d seen at night were so beautiful.  AFTER I purchased my admission ticket,  I was told one exhibit had been taken down. Since it was my favorite from the 1st time I’d seen the exhibit,  I was quite disappointed.  If I had known in advance that I wasn’t going to see the complete exhibit,  I might not have driven an hour to Pittsburgh.  I wish the website had indicated that the full exhibit wasn’t going to be viewed.

By Kathleen Andreassi on Sep 30, 2019