The Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago is a popular attraction for anyone interested in flowers, trees, and horticulture. The conservatory is free to the public and provides self-guided tours, so visitors can stroll through the many rooms and displays at their leisure, learn about the gardens, and participate in various activities.
The outstanding domed Garfield Park Chicago comprises six greenhouses filled with an array of exotic flowers and plants, as well as two large halls used for exhibitions. Like its counterpart, the conservatory in Lincoln Park, Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago is open every day.
Situated on 4.5 acres within Garfield Park, it opened in 1908 and remains one of the largest conservatories in the United States. Throughout its history, the Garfield Park Conservatory has continued to grow and maintain thousands of flowers and plants, including tropical varieties, and to provide ongoing educational opportunities to children. The flowers grown at the conservatory are used in parks throughout the city.
At the Demonstration Garden at Garfield Park Chicago, master gardeners are busy at work, planting and weeding, and are available to answer visitors' gardening questions. The conservatory offers classes during the year covering an array of gardening techniques.
In addition, teens have the opportunity to participate in the ten-week Green Teens Program at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. The program, specifically designed for high school students, focuses on hands-on experience that encourages and promotes leadership, personal development, and preparing individual goals for after graduation from high school.
Some programs at Garfield Park Conservatory are year-round, while others are scheduled for specific times of the year. The year-round programs include Family Exploration Stations: Discover the Power of Plants, which has gardening activities; the Family Make-&-Take Activity, providing family-friendly activities and projects; Morning Glories for Families, which includes projects created for preschoolers; and the Origami Open House for children and adults interested in the fun art of creating decorative origami items. The classes are offered on the second Saturday of the month and are free.
Inside and outside Garfield Park Chicago, visitors will find seven areas used for exhibits and displays of different plants and flowers. The Elizabeth Morse Genius Children's Garden contains adventure activities for suited for young children and toddlers, making visiting the conservatory among the best things to do with kids. The Aroid House displays a variety of popular houseplants, and the room also contains the Persian Pool, which is surrounded by yellow lily pads. The Desert House is specifically for both large and small varieties of succulents and cacti.
The Fern Room's design shows what the Chicago area might have looked like during prehistoric times with ferns and a lagoon depicting the landscape. In the Palm House, a tropical atmosphere is created with multiple palms and tropical plants filling the room. One of the largest palms in the world, the Double Coconut Palm, can be found at the house.
To complete the tour, the Sweet House has multiple varieties of plants for anyone with a sweet tooth including sugar cane, vanilla, coconuts, mangoes, cinnamon, and chocolate. Additional areas of the Garfield Park Conservatory to explore include the Sensory Garden, Monet Garden, and the gift shop. If you love spending time outside or are just interested in the local parks, the conservatory is well worth adding to your list of things to do during a vacation to Chicago.
Image: City of Chicago