Photographers, exotic plant enthusiasts and Edmontonians in general can rejoice as the Muttart Conservatory finally opened its doors to the public Friday after being shuttered for nearly two years.
The popular attraction closed in July 2019 to undergo a $13.3-million renovation. The site now has new features including a fireplace, living wall, and water fountain in the central area. The Culina Muttart restaurant and the Marigold gift store also underwent upgrades.
"We're hoping for a lot of visitors [Friday]," Sarah Birmingham, team leader of facility operations, told CBC's Edmonton AM.
"We have a brand new display in the feature pyramid. It's called Reflection. And it's a beautiful install of a bunch of beautiful, bright annual flowers.
"And it kind of shows that we showcase temperate plants, arid plants and tropical plants."
Birmingham said the conservatory has also put COVID-safe precautions in place, such as implementing one-way flow traffic and making hand sanitizer available.
"Custodial is going to be cleaning a little more frequently just to give the site a nice, clean feel and safe feel when you come," she said.
According to the city's website, the Muttart pyramids feature more than 700 species of plants in three climate-controlled biomes: arid, temperate and tropical. A fourth biome also exists for features, which change five to seven times a year.
The other three pyramids remain the same throughout the year.
Fans of the corpse flower — a rare, tall and fast-growing plant that smells like rotting meat when it opens to attract pollinators — might be disappointed to learn the plant already bloomed two weeks ago, according to Birmingham.
Edmontonians hoping to visit are asked to book on the city's website as tickets will not be sold at the door. To manage crowds, attendance is capped and every ticket will only allow individuals or groups to enter at specific times.
The Muttart Conservatory is open daily, although its hours vary. Monday, Tuesday and Friday hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays feature evening hours between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Weekend hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.