A Little Time and a Keyboard: When It Is Cold Outside, Head to Chicago's Conservatories

When It Is Cold Outside, Head to Chicago's Conservatories

Friday, December 9, 2016

Chicago conservatories like the Garfield Park Conservatory provide a much needed warm weather escape in winter without leaving the area!

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!
Butterflies at Judy Istock Butterfly Haven at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago


  1. I'd love to visit Garfield Park! The one in Indy is totally gorgeous!

  2. I have such fond memories of Garfield Park from my childhood! Perfect place for kids or adults :)