Last Wednesday, the kids and I set out on a field trip to the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. I’ve been to the Conservatory several times and it’s one of those special San Francisco places I adore. The kids have never been — not really. We did take Wyatt once when he was a little baby so we could see the world’s largest, stinkiest flower — the corpse flower — but that doesn’t count because…you know…infant.
I’d be lying if I told you the kids were fully on board when I told them we were going to look at flowers for half the day. My boys are not big horticulture enthusiasts despite my best efforts to get them excited about plants and flowers. But as they spotted the Conservatory through the trees after a short walk through the woods, they started to come around. Isn’t it beautiful? (In case you’re wondering, the panes of glass on this giant greenhouse are whitewashed so all the plants inside don’t burn up.)
We were primarily there to check out the current special exhibit, “Stranded!“. We are all addicted to survival reality shows — Naked and Afraid, The Island, Alone and, our favorite, Survivorman — so this exhibit was right up our alleys. It turned out to be a little more Gilligan’s Island than I was expecting (see the coconut radio in the top left photo), but it was fun and I learned that bromeliads are an excellent place to find fresh water if you’re stranded on a tropical island.
The rest of the Conservatory is filled with thousands of gorgeous flowers. There are orchids absolutely everywhere, along with gigantic — and very old — plants that towered above us in the main atrium. Of particular interest to my boys were the meat-eating Venus Flytraps and pitcher plants — though we never managed to find any that were actively eating bugs. The water room is my special favorite, though I was disappointed that the giant lily pads I’ve seen in past visits weren’t on display this time.
Because we were at the park for most of the day, we needed packed lunches so of course I took the opportunity to make us a flower bentos! (As a boy-mom I need to seize every flower lunch opportunity presented to me!)
Our three lunches were pretty similar, but they were all presented a little differently because we each used a different LunchBots bento box. Augie’s was packed in the LunchBots Quad. He had mini-peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cucumbers — both stamped with little flower cutter/punches. ( I can’t find the exact cutters I have online but they are similar to these.) He also had a grape “flower” with a strawberry center packed into a silicone baking cup, mini saltines and some strawberries.
Wyatt’s lunch was packed in our LunchBots Trio. He also had PB&J (cut with a larger flower cutter), his own grape flower in a silicone baking cup, strawberries, mini saltines and cut and stamped radish slices.
I packed my own lunch in the mammoth LunchBots Cinco box. I had dried apple chips (which I shared with the kids), ranch dressing (for the veggies), a grape flower, strawberries, a mix of carrots, radishes and cucumbers, tuna salad (in a big pink flower cup) and mini saltines for eating it.
We ate our lunches on a hill next to the big field outside the Conservatory which was almost as pretty as the green house itself. There were tiny little daisies all over the soft green grass (a rarity in water-starved California) and it was a beautiful, sunny afternoon. Perfect!