I know it's gotten really late on Tuesday, and so many of you may not read this on "Travel Tuesday," but that's the way it goes some times.
Tonight after work, Christopher and I met up at the downtown Minneapolis Macy's, where we rode the escalators up and up and up to the 8th floor Auditorium, where we went to see the annual Macy's (formerly Dayton's) Flower Show, which runs through the Sunday after Easter. (Oh. And these also happen in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Sun Francisco, in case you're close to one of those places.) **Pssst... That comment is for you, Libby!**
I've gone every year since I've lived out here, and it's always been a great way to be reassured that spring is on the way. Granted, today, it was almost 70 degrees out, so not a lot of reassurance was necessary, but most years it's only in the 40s or 50s, and nothing has started to grow, yet.
I think it was last year (maybe two years ago) when the auditorium was segmented out into various "artistic" landscapes - from tulips in glass vases on a wall to a whole big sculpture in orange sand with flowers strategically forming an oasis. (If you knew me in my days at CenterStage in Baltimore, think the set of "Les Blancs" but with flowers.)
This year, the theme is "Up in the Air" and I was half expecting, half dreading, another very artistic - but unfulfilling - exhibit. As we stepped off the escalator on the 8th floor, we were hit with the perfume of lilies and hyacinth... spring.
The program has artwork of a kind of "vintage" hot air balloon on it, which we immediately found to be the centerpiece of the room. This year, in fact, there are no walls separating the space into individual gardens. There is the central hot air balloon (kind of on an "island" of greenery), ringed by a pathway that simply winds through the flowers. The gardens - each section with its own personality - flow together, and the viewer is presented with a cohesive sight and scent experience.
There are kites floating above, and oversized butterflies and bees. There's even a "hot air balloon" you can stand in to get your picture taken. But the flowers are the real stars of the show. From hydrangeas to magnolia, begonias to gerbera daisies, they are there in all colors of the rainbow. And it's not just the "usual" flowers, there are trees, shrubs, and an arbor of wisteria. There's real birdsong, as an aviary takes up the center of one display.
And have I mentioned that it's all free? I mean... sure... we paid for parking. And there's a shop set up so that you can buy a potted plant (or a cupcake or a book) to take with you. But, for the most part, it's free.
It's the perfect place to go to get away from it all - a wonderful whimsical giftbox filled with spring.