Monday, March 2, 2015

Oak Park Conservatory: A Little Escape from Winter


**Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
 
You just have to rejoice when there is still a mound of snow on the ground and you are greeted by brilliant blooms during an indoor excursion. After realizing that it is a.) March and b.) the snow does not seem to want to go away, we seized upon a free Sunday afternoon to check out the Oak Park Conservatory. A walk through vibrant hues and a sea of green is just the medicine those with the winter blues need!



The Oak Park Conservatory is a beautiful part of Oak Park history. The glass structure was built in 1929 and began as a place for residents to house exotic plants collected during travels. The Conservatory was almost lost in the 1970's. Fortunately, a group of concerned citizens fought to save it and we have this lovely spot to enjoy while quietly reflecting.

We experienced three different settings as we ambled through the Conservatory. Showrooms feature a Fern Room, a Tropical Room and a Desert Room. The Fern Room was exceptionally brilliant and housed a lemon tree with the largest lemons we have ever seen. Are we really in Illinois?


The Tropical Room is probably the most entertaining for children. The room includes a water feature that is home to koi fish and turtles. Heaven! Plus, there are several resident parrots and plant that is sensitive to touch. (Ask a staff member to help you identify the plant.)


The Desert Room is full of cacti-a-plenty! I loved how they were spaced out--easy for you to truly take a look around and see the differences. There are some fake snakes lurking about--so have the kids watch out!



We visited during the annual Kids Fest which was fun! There were games to play, projects to do and even some little critters to meet!


There is a gift shop in the Conservatory selling some of the plants grown there. Other plants grown there are used throughout the park district.

What a pleasant warm weather aside on a cold, Chicago day! We definitely left with a little more spring in our step and the spirit to get through the last weeks of winter!

Useful Info:
  • Admission to the Oak Park Conservatory is free, donations are welcome.
  • Visiting hours are 10AM-4PM Tuesday-Sunday and 2PM-4PM on Mondays. Check website for holiday schedule.
  • Exploration Station events allow kids to get hands on in the showrooms. The events are on Saturdays from 10AM-12PM September-May and are free. They also run on school holidays.
  • Guided tours are available. They are $5 per adult, $3 per senior, $2 per child with a $20 minimum. You do need to reserve ahead of time. Check with Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory for more information.
  • While visiting Oak Park, you may want to check out the Ernest Hemingway Museum, the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio or nearby Brookfield Zoo. Visit Oak Park has more information on attractions.
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