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Tropical Escapes Near Boston: Our Guide To Local Greenhouses

Fish pond in the Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park in Providence. (Greg Cook)
Fish pond in the Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park in Providence. (Greg Cook)
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One way to escape the winter blahs is to visit one of the indoor tropical oases around Boston. Here is our guide to greenhouses in the region:

Lyman Estate Greenhouses in Waltham
Dating to 1804, the Lyman Estate Greenhouses are said to be among the oldest surviving greenhouses in the United States. Plants include the estate’s signature camellias as well as orchids, grapes and (sprouting during a visit this January) pineapples.
185 Lyman St., Waltham, Mass. Admission: free.

Lyman Estate in Waltham. (Greg Cook)
Lyman Estate in Waltham. (Greg Cook)
Pineapple sprouting at Lyman Estate in Waltham. (Greg Cook)
Pineapple sprouting at Lyman Estate in Waltham. (Greg Cook)
The Lyman Estate's 1820 Camellia House in bloom. (Greg Cook)
The Lyman Estate's 1820 Camellia House in bloom. (Greg Cook)

Wellesley College Greenhouses in Wellesley
The Margaret C. Gerguson Greenhouses at Wellesley College, completed in 1925, are billed as “the most diverse collection of plants under glass in the greater Boston area.” Sixteen interconnected greenhouses offer environments ranging from tropical palms to desert cacti to carnivorous plants.
106 Central Street, Wellesley, Mass. Admission: free.

Inside the greenhouses at Wellesley College's Botanic Gardens. (Greg Cook)
Inside the greenhouses at Wellesley College's Botanic Gardens. (Greg Cook)
Flowers bloom inside the greenhouses at Wellesley College's Botanic Gardens in March 2013. (Greg Cook)
Flowers bloom inside the greenhouses at Wellesley College's Botanic Gardens in March 2013. (Greg Cook)
The desert is the first climate featured in the greenhouses at Wellesley College's Botanic Gardens. (Greg Cook)
The desert is the first climate featured in the greenhouses at Wellesley College's Botanic Gardens. (Greg Cook)

Roger Williams Park's Botanical Center in Providence
Tall palms, fountains, a fish pond, a citrus grove and desert plants are featured at the Botanical Center, which opened in 2007.
1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island. Admission: $5, children 6 to 12: $2, children younger than 6: free.

The Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park in Providence. (Greg Cook)
The Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park in Providence. (Greg Cook)
The Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park in Providence. (Greg Cook)
The Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park in Providence. (Greg Cook)
The Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park in Providence. (Greg Cook)
The Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park in Providence. (Greg Cook)
Fish pond in the Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park in Providence. (Greg Cook)
Fish pond in the Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park in Providence. (Greg Cook)

Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston
Tower Hill grows camellias, oranges, limes and palms in its Orangerie, a hybrid of an 18th century orangerie and a modern conservatory that opened in 1999, and Limonaia (Lemon House), which opened in 2010.
11 French Drive, Boylston, Mass. Admission: $12, seniors: $9, children 6 to 18: $7, children 5 and younger: free.

Greg Cook Twitter Arts Reporter
Greg Cook was an arts reporter and critic for WBUR's The ARTery.

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