Tropical conservatories found throughout Chicago area are truly hidden gems that can give us that much needed blast of warm weather during a bleak winter season. Over the past few years, we have been visiting several conservatories during the winter months and the brilliant blooms, flashes of green and warm air always provides a much needed boost. Last year, I even learned that they can help clear up colds!
Beat the winter this year at one of these conservatories:
- Garfield Park Conservatory: Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago is a warm weather wonderland no matter how cold it is outside. The conservatory features many chambers with different climates and a brilliant show room. Water features definitely captivate. A children's area has some hands-on activities and has events throughout the week.
- Chicago Botanic Garden: Chicago Botanic Garden is home to three greenhouse featuring a temperate house, tropical rainforest house and an arid house. There is always something in bloom and the Orchid Show provides the perfect excuse for a visit in February and March.
- Lincoln Park Conservatory: Featuring four display rooms, the Lincoln Park Conservatory warms guests up with palms, ferns, orchids and more. December through the beginning of January the conservatory is also hosting a train show!
- Judy Istock Butterfly Haven: The Judy Istock Butterfly Haven in the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum not only has a tropical atmosphere but live butterflies all year long. Sitting in the butterfly haven is truly a magical experience. Plus, you can learn about the life cycle of butterflies and the entire museum will have the kids engaged in hands-on science learning for a good portion of the day. The haven is also located near the Lincoln Park Conservatory for a nice "warm weather" day.
- Oak Park Conservatory: Each of the Oak Park Conservatory's three showrooms features a different ecosystem. September - May brings Exploration Station activities for children. During our March visit we were delighted to find a lemon tree full of huge lemons. Quite a site for early March!
- Wilder Park Conservatory: While smaller than the other conservatories, Wilder Park in Elmhurst certainly provides for a welcome breath of fresh air during stale winter months.
- Friendship Park Conservatory: Another smaller conservatory is located in Des Plaines. A brief stroll is just right for absorbing a little warm weather to make it through a long winter day. If you visit, be sure to look for the fish!