15-foot-tall North American Pitcher Plants

TORK sculptures: 15-foot-tall North American Pitcher Plants Photo: Franklin Park Conservatory

I'll admit, never before have I spent time thinking about meat-eating plants. As a kid, I remember seeing Venus flytraps and thinking they were cool, but it stopped there.

That is, until I saw the new exhibit at the Franklin Park Conservatory: Savage Gardens: The Real and Imaginary World of Carnivorous Plants . It runs through Nov. 14.

It's a fascinating exhibit that is a combination of hundreds of live plants that lure, catch, kill and digest insects for energy; four larger-than-life sculptures based on these bizarre plants; a juried art show and two commissioned art works.

The group I was with had fun seeing the sculptures, then searching for the real plant. I think our favorite was the Venus flytrap. We learned that an insect has to stroke the inside of the leaf twice before the trap closes (at which point we "oohed" and "aahed" and said, "Do it again!") To make the most of your experience, I highly recommend attending the horticulturist presentation in the showroom each day at 1 p.m. Also, Family Fun Saturdays are held at 11 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month with activities and crafts.

Not being much of a gardener myself, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the exhibit. Another great surprise was the enormous sculptures, designed and fabricated by TORK, Inc. , a Columbus-based company. The sculptures, such as the brilliant seven Pitcher Plants in the courtyard, are both really beautiful art and an effective tool to better understand these little-known plants and how they function.

Savage Gardens was created by the Franklin Park Conservatory and will be made available to tour at other botanical gardens around the country.

To plan your visit to Franklin Park Conservatory and review the many programs offered there, visit fpconservatory.org .