Stopping to smell the roses and browsing the bromeliads at the Volunteer Park Conservatory will cost you starting Friday. But it’s for a good cause.
CHS has been telling you about Seattle Parks’ plan to move the conservatory toward a more self-sufficient future. On Friday, another part of that future begins.
According to the city, the $4 admission will help keep the 100-year-old conservatory open and operating. Good news — teens are only $2 and kids under 12 are free:
Following the results of a 2012 study Seattle Parks and Recreation conducted to identify a more financially stable model for operating the Conservatory, the City adopted the $4 adult entry fee.
Other fees are:
- $2 for youth ages 13-17
- No fee for children 12 and younger
- $25 for K-12 school groups (with advance reservations)
Revenues from the entry fee, estimated to be $104,000, will help keep the facility open and operating, preserve the Conservatory’s heritage and maintain the horticultural collection.
Parks says the conservatory costs around $450,000 per year to operate and attracts more than 90,000 visitors annually.
Beyond an operation budget, the facility also needs a major overhaul, volunteers say. The Friends of the Conservatory group has mounted a capital campaign to help raise $3.5 million needed to complete restoration of the 1912 facility.
According to the city, community members have been helping fund day-to-day operations all along:
To date, individual donors have contributed just over half of the $750,000 still needed for the restoration fund. Generous donations to the Friends of the Conservatory and ongoing volunteer labor will help keep the entry fee affordable for all visitors. As of early November, more than 100,000 people had visited the Conservatory this year, about two-thirds of them from outside Seattle.
Starting Friday, visitors can pay using a machine at the Conservatory’s entry that accepts Visa, MasterCard, $1 bills and coins, but beware, the machine doesn’t provide change and will take extra funds as a donation.
The Conservatory is open to the public 10 AM to 4 PM, Tuesdays through Sundays.