Outside may still be cold, but an uplifting tropical escape awaits visitors at each of these destinations.
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Orchids at Franklin Park Conservatory
Credit: Courtesy of Franklin Park Conservatory

An exotic lady slipper orchid or even a basic moth orchid are showstopping on their own, so imagine thousands of orchids dangling from chandeliers, spilling from green walls, hanging from trees and cascading from tunnels. With 150,000 varieties in the orchid family, there's no wonder the orchid-collecting craze has been going on since Victorian days. Check out the impressive collections at seven botanical gardens' orchid shows across the Midwest. (To ensure a safe and comfortable experience, many gardens have advance timed tickets, mask requirements and one-way routes through exhibits.)

Orchid show at Cleveland Botanic Gardens, Holden Forests & Gardens
Credit: Courtesy of Holden Forests & Gardens

1. Cleveland Botanical Garden – Cleveland, Ohio

At its 16th annual Orchids Forever flower show (Jan. 29 – March 13), the Cleveland Botanical Garden spotlights orchids' grandeur and unique pollinator relationships. With wholesale orchid giant Just Add Ice of nearby Oberlin as its sponsor, there's a generous supply of orchids. Thousands fill galleries, hallways and glasshouses along with artistic renderings of pollinators suspended and flying among the orchids. Learn how orchids trick pollinators to pollinate their flowers with color, scent and mimicry of other flowers. To discover more, attend the show's Ask the Orchid Doctor clinics, orchid photography workshop and beginner orchid classes. 

Franklin Park Conservatory Orchids
Credit: Courtesy of Franklin Park Conservatory

2. Franklin Park Conservatory – Columbus, Ohio

The Orchids exhibition at Franklin Park Conservatory (Jan. 22 - March 6) features thousands of vibrant orchids blanketing the Dorothy M. Davis Showhouse, a historic Victorian-style glass greenhouse built in 1852. Here, the show designers arrange orchids in striking color combinations, creating a bright and uplifting tropical escape. Beyond the showhouse, explore the conservatory's diverse biomes where more orchids are displayed in containers among desert, alpine and tropical plant collections. The conservatory also offers a beginner orchid class with an orchid plant to take home. 

Untamed The Orchid Show 2022 Chicago Botanic Garden
Credit: Courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden

3. Chicago Botanic Garden – Chicago

At Chicago Botanic Garden, Untamed: The Orchid Show (Feb. 12 - March 27) celebrates the unexpected verve of wild orchids with thousands on display in the greenhouse galleries of the Regenstein Building at Chicago Botanic Garden. This year, the talented design team styles orchids in sweeping displays over an old secret garden and hanging upside-down and every which way throughout imaginative spaces. Learn all about orchids through the garden's photography classes, online orchid care classes, orchid-themed botanical art classes and online library of orchid info. 

Related: Top Things to Do in Chicago

Olbrich Botanical Gardens Orchids
Credit: Courtesy of Olbrich Botanical Gardens

4. Olbrich Botanical Gardens – Madison, Wisconsin

At Olbrich Botanical Gardens, travel to the tropics in this bountiful, beautiful Orchid Escape exhibit throughout the 10,000-square-foot Bolz Conservatory! Orchids have starred at this glass pyramid-shaped conservatory since its opening 30 years ago. This year's show (Jan. 29 – Feb. 28) features 250 orchids including ones from Olbrich's permanent collection plus new orchids ordered especially for the show. On March 3, check out the post-show sale with many of the show's orchids sold as a fundraiser for the gardens. 

Winter Carnival Orchid Show, Como Park Conservatory
Credit: Courtesy of Como Park Conservatory

5. Marjorie McNeely Conservatory – St. Paul, Minnesota

At the Winter Carnival Orchid Show, Jan. 29-30, hundreds of orchids transform Como Park's century-old conservatory into a tropical wonderland. Now in its 47th year, the show has become the premier winter event for orchid lovers throughout the Midwest. The conservatory works together with The Orchid Society of Minnesota to create the largest display of privately owned orchids in the region. Come see orchids in a tropical setting, learn about orchid care from Orchid Society of Minnesota members, and shop all-things orchids at the vendor fair. For more blooms, check out the conservatory's Winter Show (Jan. 15-March 20) around a long reflecting pool in nearby Sunken Garden wing. 

Orchids at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Credit: Courtesy of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

6. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park – Grand Rapids, Michigan

At the Meijer Gardens' orchid show, Jan. 29-30, escape winter's chill and enjoy a stunning variety of beautiful, unusual, colorful orchids exhibited by enthusiasts across Michigan. Also, shop show vendors for unique orchids, growing supplies and plenty of advice. Beyond the show, experience the Leonard and Dora Rosenzweig Orchid Wall with rotating flora from the garden's 3,500 orchid collection.

Related: Incredible Public Gardens You Can Visit in the Midwest

Cymbidium tracyanum at Rinard Orchid Greenhouse
Credit: Courtesy of Rinard Orchid Greenhouse

7. Rinard Orchid Greenhouse – Muncie, Indiana

With over 2,000 orchids, Rinard Orchid Greenhouse at Ball State University boasts the country's largest collegiate orchid collection including some unusual beauties like this Cymbidium tracyanum. This year, the greenhouse will double its size and gain a new environmental education center. The current greenhouse remains open to the public, Monday through Saturday, and hosts a number of free events from photography and pollinator workshops to a spring orchid sale and repotting demo.