Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park



Midway Parkway and Kaufman Drive within Como Park


Run by

St. Paul Parks and Recreation

Date Established

Date Established


Frederick Nussbaumer and Toltz Engineering Co.


1/2 acre under glass


Minimal admission fee – also allows entrance to Ordway Japanese Garden

Peak Season


Peak season (notes)

Most theraputic in winter (when needing a tropical retreat)



Garden Type

Glass House and Conservatory


  • Weddings can be scheduled in the Conservatory
  • Accessible
  • Group tours are available with three weeks notice
  • Free zoo – within surrounding Como Park
  • Classes are available


This is one of the few remaining glass-domed Victorian-style gardens in the U.S. Its construction, finished in 1915, was a decades-long dream of Frederick Nussbaumer, the Como Park gardener who became St. Paul Park Superintendent in 1890. He had worked as a young man at London’s Kew Gardens and remembered well its enormous glass palm house. His determination to build a similar structure at Como Park finally lead to its funding through a city bond issue. Once this “folly” was complete, it became a popular success. People loved its 64-1/2 foot tall central domed palm house and the two 26×100 foot wings that flanked it. One of these wings holds the sunken garden, which hosts colorful seasonal flower displays. This wing, for much of its existence, has been used for marriage ceremonies. Around 275 weddings take place there each year. The north wing is home to plants that are useful to man for foodstuffs or medicines. The fourth longstanding section of the Conservatory is the fern room with its cooler, moister atmosphere. Within three years of its opening, the Conservatory had some 77,500 plants and some of the originals still survive. It now maintains over 260 major varieties of plants from six different continents. Many of the plants are labeled. In 1974, the structure was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places. In 1983, refurbishing began and much of the original sparkle of this “jewel in the crown” of Como Park returned. Other, newer displays have been added. In 1996, both a gift shop and a bonsai tree collection found space in the Conservatory. Five yearly seasonal flower shows occur in the sunken garden. Classes and concerts are also hosted within the conservatory.

Garden photos
statue with glass dome in background
water feature inside greenhouse
large ferns
glass dome from a distance