Boston’s Best Winter Gardens
The Winter Garden at The Shops at Prudential Center in Back Bay is in full bloom this time of year. Beds are tucked with seasonal displays of exotic greenery and a year-round line-up of laurels and palms, and the massive skylight overhead fills the hall with plenty of sunlight. It’s a welcome rest stop on a snowy walk around Back Bay, and you can get some prime shopping done while you’re at it. For the botanists among us, you can find a complete seasonal planting guide at Customer Service. Free. 800 Boylston St. 617-236-3100.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s interior European courtyard (pictured) will leave you breathless. Ornate, abundant and brilliantly colored, it reflects Isabella’s passion for horticulture and garden design, combining plants, sculpture and architecture to become an astonishing work of art in itself. Three floors of galleries surround the courtyard and invite a fresh view from almost every room.
Peel off your gloves and take a walk through a field of butterflies at the Butterfly Garden, a warm conservatory and refreshing oasis overlooking the Charles River from the Museum of Science. Learn about your new fluttering friends and the exotic environment they thrive in through interactive displays and activities, and sneak a peek at the “Emergence Box,” where hanging chrysalids are biding their time to bloom into adult butterflies.
A bunch of leaves and shrubs not quite green enough for ya? Visit the indoor Tropical Forest at the Franklin Park Zoo and be transported to the center of the rainforest. Surrounded by three acres of lush vegetation, exotic birds flying overhead, you’ll meet species from all over the globe like ocelots, lemurs and crocodiles. And don’t forget to say hello to the family of eight western lowland gorillas.