By Annette Gallagher Weisman
Town & Country – November 2003

Comprising 3,400 shimmering glass panels, the new conservatoryFloraFaunaFun_internal at the CLEVELAND BOTANICAL GARDEN resembles a giant three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. The spectacular structure, the centerpiece of a $37 million expansion, encompasses two unique ecosystems. “We chose a cloud forest in Costa Rica and the desert of Madagascar,” says executive director Brian Holley. “They are diametrically opposed environments, both of which are at great risk.” Combined, these two biomes have many unusual animals and more than 350 species of plants, such as Madagascar’s bizarre baobab tree and the tenrec, a seven-inch hedgehog-like creature.

In the cloud forest, too, exotic flora and fauna abound, including the red-eyed tree fog, twenty species of butterflies and hundreds of orchids, some just a pencil tip in width. Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse, 11030 East Boulevard; 888-853-7091;