Tonight: Party in the Tropics at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

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In need of a tropical scene?

Don't head to the airport. There's a warm oasis closer than you think.

Tonight, in their Tropical Forest Conservatory, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens will host an event they call Party in the Tropics, where the 21 and over crowd can enjoy drinks, food, a DJ and -- while the rest of the city shivers -- a night's respite from the cold.

The Oakland greenhouse, located within Schenley Park, held its first Party in the Tropics event in February, when about 250 people attended.

"We just wanted to have an opportunity for people to come and enjoy themselves and enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail in the beauty of our tropical forest," said Liz Fetchin, director of marketing and communications for Phipps.

The greenhouse plans to host a Party in the Tropics on one Friday each month through the end of 2013. The dates are posted on Phipps' website, at

"For the winter months, it's definitely a great place to come, and kind of be in an environment that feels like the beach," Ms. Fetchin said.

The party is included in the cost of admission to the conservancy, which $15. For Phipps members, admission is free. There will be alcoholic beverages and food available for order.

Later in the year, Phipps will begin to incorporate produce and spices from its gardens into the menu for the event. Tonight, however, the theme is St. Patrick's Day.

That means a mix-your-own-cocktail bar, with tonight's special drink called a Lucky Leprechaun and consisting of vodka, lime juice agave nectar and spearmint tea. There will also be a mashed potato bar, where attendees can choose their own toppings to adorn a serving of the Irish staple.

The event starts at 7 p.m. and ends at 11 p.m. Parking is free in the lot in front of Phipps, and more metered parking is available on the surrounding streets.

Phipps, already host to weddings and other large events, hopes its new semi-regular Party in the Tropics will catch on, Ms. Fetchin said.

"We think it's really unique," she said. "It's not like going to the bar. There's beautiful gardens and it's a really different experience."

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Kaitlynn Riely: or 412-263-1707. This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To log in or subscribe, go to:


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