Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Garfield Park Conservatory

A few weeks ago I was visiting my children in Illinois and one of the places they took me to was the Garfield Park Conservatory.  The bleak winter landscape and surrounding neighborhood is in sharp contrast to the beauty that is inside.  In the warmer months, there are twelve acres of stunning outside gardens,  but this is what the outside looks like in February.

Once inside, the warmth and beauty takes your breath away!  I absolutely love visiting conservatories in the winter months.  Even though there are no outside gardens to enjoy, it is such a wonderful respite from the dark, cold, and dreary winter days to experience warmth and flowers in the middle of winter.

The conservatory consists of eight separate rooms that occupies almost two acres.  The first room you walk into after going through the lobby is the Palm House.  It's the largest room in the conservatory at 65 feet high and 90 feet wide.  It's got a huge pond right in the center and is filled with some of the largest palms I've ever seen.  There are over seventy different varieties of palms in the Palm House.

Adjacent to the Palm House was one of my favorite rooms, The Show House.  This room changes with the seasons and/or occasion.  Since it was spring, we had the pleasure of enjoying spring flowers (mostly azaleas) and the spring sport of baseball.  The pride and joy of winning the World Series was quite evident in this display titled "Spring Training".

This was the perfect back drop for a romantic picture of my daughter and her husband:  Ashley and Jason.  I didn't include any pictures of me in this post because I have already shown you pictures of me at the conservatory in a fashion post HERE.

No detail to the baseball theme was spared, including authentic Wigley Field Score Boards and covering the ledge of the brick retaining wall with a baseball print.

I absolutely loved these beautiful tulips opening up toward the sunlight.

This is Horticulture Hall.  It is filled with plants and a water feature.  There are tables and chairs so guests can sit and enjoy the greenery around them while enjoying a snack.  It can also be reserved for weddings, receptions, and performance space.

This pretty pond was found in the Aroid House.  It is filled with beautiful koi but what I really loved was these artificial glass water lilies.

 The Desert House holds a large collection of cacti and succulents.

In this room, there are miniature desert gardens on the plants on the sides with the center filled with large size cacti.

This next room I was almost afraid to go into because of the loud noises of children playing coming from it.  But once inside, I was absolutely delighted.  It is called the Elizabeth Morse Genius Children's Garden.  If you have small children, you do not want to miss this room....your kids will love it!

 The garden is a place for children to learn, explore, and play.  There is a giant slide and play area in the center.  There's also narrow paths for them to walk through leading to secret spots to hide amongst the large plants and trees.

These little girls found their own secret spot among the greenery to sit and play.

Next to the children's garden is another educational room titled "Sugar from the Sun".  Here we found a volunteer worker who was able to explain to us what the room was all about...because when we first entered, we were sort of confused.  Basically, it features four themed botanical environments:  water, sun, air, and sugar and explains how plants capture sunlight and uses it to change water and air into sugar--the energy that sustains life on earth.

 The hanging sphagnum moss definitely reminded me of Florida!

The Fern House is my daughter's favorite room in the Conservatory.  And I can see why, my jaw literally dropped to the floor at the entrance to this room.

It actually reminded me of my backyard in the middle of a wet summer.  I live right next to a waterfall, so my yard is very moist and filled with ferns and moss covered rocks.

The Fern House was created to give visitors a glimpse of what life must have looked like in a prehistoric Chicago.

There was another large pond in this room filled with fish and turtles.  We spotted two on this visit.  One was sunning himself on the rock in the pond.  Do you see him?

If your ever in Chicago, I highly recommend visiting the Conservatory.  You won't regret it.  There is no charge, but do they ask for a $5.00 donation for adults.  They are open daily 9 to 5 and Wednesdays until 8:00 p.m.

Have a Great Day!  Amy

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  1. Amy, I have never visited a place like this but I'd love to! The beautiful flower colors against the outside February gray is a glorious delight for the eyes and it won't be long before we'll see such splendid sights surrounding us. :) Thanks for sharing and lining today. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

    1. Thanks Cathy, you would love it! I hope you get there someday!

  2. I've loved seeing all of your traveling pictures on Instagram Amy!

    pumps and push-ups

  3. Great post and pics, Amy, I've been to Chicago a few times, including Wrigley Park, but I would like to have visited this super conservatory.

    1. Thank you, I've been to Chicago a gazillion time but never Wrigley Park. I'm not a sports fan, but I'd love to see that historic stadium!

  4. What a beautiful conservatory & a great place to visit with the kids! I believe the pretty glass lilies are by the artist Chihuly, he creates stunning glass art.

  5. What a perfect place to visit during the winter! The flowers are gorgeous, and the cacti garden looks so interesting! Would love to visit this some day!

    1. Thanks Elli, I don't know where you live in Illinois, but it might be worth the drive for you. Your kids would love it! Maybe go in the spring/summer so you can enjoy the outside too.


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