Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago

One of my remaining Chicago summer bucket list items was to visit a conservatory. I know you can visit Lincoln Park Conservatory and Garfield Park Conservatory during all seasons, but I wanted to say goodbye to summer by strolling through a garden.

Graham and I had a day off together on Labor Day for the first time in a few weeks, so of course we made the most of it. We had breakfast together, took care of stuff around the house, went to Garfield Park Conservatory and enjoyed a lake cruise at sunset. 

I originally planned for us to visit Lincoln Park Conservatory, but Garfield Park's seemed larger and had free parking. Sold! We spent our afternoon admiring the various houses at the conservatory, including Desert House, which is full of desert flora, and the Fern House, which has a pond in the center. I was impressed with the collection of plants at the conservatory. It was a lot larger and more beautiful than I had expected. You could easily spend a whole day there if you pack a picnic basket. When the weather is nice you can enjoy your meal at one of the many picnic tables behind the Desert House or in Horticulture Hall. Best of all, the conservatory is open every day of the year and it's free. (You can leave donations at the door.) One room has photos of the conservatory's history. It was designed in 1906, and you can see how it's changed in its lifetime. I also liked the Urban Demonstration Garden that shows how to grow plants in an urban environment.

Graham and I love plants and we hope to have a business related to flora someday, so visiting gardens and conservatories inspires us to make our dreams a reality. It also gives us ideas for growing our plants and for arranging them. After we walked around for a couple of hours, we made our way to the gift shop to see if we could take some plants home. The selection wasn't as big as we'd hoped, but we did grab a candle, some toffee and cold beverages. We needed refreshments after walking in the warm houses! The gift shop attendant was a lovely woman who offered us samples of another flavor of toffee. It was the perfect sendoff after a lovely experience. We will definitely be back!

The Desert House made this Arizona girl feel right at home.

Check out my video of the visit to Garfield Park Conservatory and subscribe to my channel to see more videos!

Have you been to Garfield Park Conservatory? What did you think?

Garfield Park Conservatory: 300 N. Central Park Ave. Chicago, IL 60624.  (312) 746-5100