Photos: A tropical oasis, hidden atop College Hill

On the upper floor of 85 Waterman Street in Providence sits the conservatory, an 1,800-square-foot refuge inside Brown’s Plant Environmental Center that is open to all.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — On a rooftop in College Hill, there is something of a tropical paradise hidden within the historic neighborhood and the bustle of the Brown University campus.

Called the conservatory, the space is filled with several hundred plants — including colorful flowers, vines and fruits from the Amazon and Southeast Asia — and is typically open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. Part of the Plant Environmental Center run by Brown’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology, the conservatory stays balmy year-round, and its lush greenery provides a relaxing calm perfect for small getaways whether they last 5 minutes or 50.

Here’s the best part: The 1,800-square-foot refuge is open to everyone — Brown University students, staff and faculty as well as members of the general public.

The conservatory is on top of 85 Waterman St. — home to the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society — and can be accessed via an elevator to the fourth floor. To find it from the street, just look up.