Bolz Conservatory Facts
tropical Bolz Conservatory opened its doors on November 1, 1991.
1.5 million people have visited the Bolz Conservatory during the
past 17 years.
- The Conservatory was named for Adolph and
Eugenie Mayer Bolz.
- A generous donation by the Bolz family led
the campaign to raise $4.6 million to build the Conservatory.
sources, including individuals, corporations, and foundations,
raised 75 percent of the funds. The City of Madison Parks Division
provided 25 percent of the project's cost.
- Madison architect Stuart
William Gallaher designed the Conservatory, built by J.H. Findorff
Plants of Paradise
- A striking glass pyramid, the structure
measures 100 feet by 100 feet, and rises to 50 feet at the center
- A 20-foot high waterfall with rock outcrops
drops to a flowing stream and peaceful pool.
- The temperature in
the Conservatory is between 65 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.
are 220 fogging nozzles that keep the relative humidity above 60-percent.
are watered daily by hand with reverse osmosis water, a type of
- Eighteen inches of soil sits on top of 12
feet of sand, creating an excellent drainage system.
- A computer
linked to an outside weather station controls heat, humidification,
exhaust fans, and window vents.
- Diseases and insect pests are controlled
naturally with integrated pest management, using a variety of methods
including beneficial insects. Herbicides and traditional insecticides
are not used in the Conservatory.
- The Conservatory houses a collection of more
than 650 plants representing more than 80 plant families and 475
species and cultivars from tropical and sub-tropical environments
around the world.
- The Orchid Aerie display area, inside the
Conservatory, features an ever-changing exhibit of
- Olbrich's collection
of orchids, bromeliads, and ferns.
- Visitors can also see the plants
on which some of their food grows, including cacao, vanilla, coffee,
bananas, and papayas.
- Most of the Conservatory plants were purchased
from Florida. Others are from botanical gardens and individuals.
Conservatory Curator, John Wirth, has collected rare orchids and
other plants on trips to Central and South America. Responsible
collecting methods are always employed to assure the continued
health of plants in the wild.
- The Bolz Conservatory grows and preserves
many plants considered endangered in the wild.
- Special collections
include carnivorous plants, orchids and other epiphytes (plants
that grow high in the trees), and aroids (understory plants).
Finned and Feathered
- Free-flying birds enjoy the natural habitat
of the Conservatory. Species include canaries, orange-cheeked waxbills,
diamond doves, and common and button quail.
- The quail contribute
to the Conservatory's Integrated Pest Management system by eating
some of the 'bad bugs.'
- The fish are goldfish and Japanese koi.
On average, the colorful koi live 30 to 60 years and grow two to
three feet long.
- An ultraviolet sterilizer helps control algae
in the pond and maintains a healthy environment for the goldfish
and koi without the use of chemicals.
- Geckos (a small lizard) and
toads also live in the Conservatory and help to control insect
pests. Visitors seldom see these small animals.
is a primary goal of the Conservatory.
- Special exhibits throughout
the year explain relationships between people, animals, and plants
of the rainforests. Others highlight plant families or teach
- In the Exploration Station, children
learn about the environment through hands-on activities.
Plants WILDLIFE PLANTS
IN BLOOM Exhibits FACTS