A Little Time and a Keyboard: Conservatories and Butterfly Enclosures of Chicago and Milwaukee

Conservatories and Butterfly Enclosures of Chicago and Milwaukee

Wednesday, January 5, 2022


Conservatories and Butterfly Enclosures Near Chicago and Milwaukee

Conservatories and butterfly enclosures in both Chicago and Milwaukee treat to summer experiences during the depths of winter. When I need a little green uplift, I like to wander the paths of one of our local conservatories or butterfly enclosures. I am sharing a list of my favorite indoor greenspaces in the area to help you enjoy a little winter adventure with vibrant flora:

1.) Lincoln Park Conservatory: The Lincoln Park Conservatory finds its home inside of a glass house constructed between 1890 and 1895. The Victorian Era glasshouse contains four different showhouses delighting the public with a green infusion all year long!

2.) Garfield Park Conservatory: Chicago's Garfield Park Conservatory welcomes visitors to a variety of indoor environments including the Fern Room, Palm House, Desert House, Show Room and Children's Garden. Water features, Chihuly and Lorado Taft pieces and more add to the experience. We often take two walks through the conservatory on each visit -- there is so much to just wrap yourself in! The water features inside of Garfield Park Conservatory are spectacular! **The Children's Garden is currently closed.

3.) Judy Istock Butterfly Haven at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum: The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum invites visitors to a day of nature learning featuring interactive exhibits as well as visits with resident animals. The Judy Istock Butterfly Haven gifts a magical experience of butterflies flitting around! Butterflies are born all year long in the haven treating visitors to quite a magical experience.

4.) Oak Park Conservatory: Oak Park Conservatory is a smaller conservatory yet provides for a lovely warm weather wander on a cold day. The conservatory has three different display rooms within vintage glass walls for all to enjoy. My particularly favorite memory of visiting Oak Park Conservatory is seeing the lemon tree full of lemons with a backdrop of snow dancing in the air just outside the enclosure as viewed through the glass. Located in Oak Park, you can also add on a visit to the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.

Winding paths full of green foliage year-round at Oak Park Conservatory.
Winding paths full of green foliage year-round at Oak Park Conservatory.

Tip: Please remember to check ahead to see if you need to reserve tickets. Some venues require advanced purchase with reserved timeslots.

5.) Wilder Park Conservatory: Constructed in 1923, Wilder Park Conservatory still molds a warm-weather oasis all year round. While not the largest conservatory on this list. Wilder Park Conservatory does provide the opportunity for a little warm weather. Located in Elmhurst, there are plenty of experiences to add to your adventure including the Elmhurst Art Museum, Brewpoint Coffee and more.

6.) Chicago Botanic Garden: The Greenhouses at Chicago Botanic Garden provide an indoor oasis for those needing a green uplift during winter. One of the greenhouses has an absolutely incredible waterfall! Visiting the Chicago Botanic Garden in winter invites not only exploring tropical and arid environments but also the winter trails of the garden. A nice blend! Be on the lookout for The Orchid Show in February and March.

Visiting the desert for a spell at Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee.
Visiting the desert for a spell at Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee.

7.) Mitchell Park Domes: Milwaukee's Mitchell Park Domes delight immediately upon seeing the beehive-like domes. The uniquely designed domes were constructed in 1959 and still invite visitors to explore the Desert Dome, Tropical Dome and Floral Dome. We are totally enamored with the dome shape to these conservatories and love wanders through nature without our jackets in the middle of winter!

8.) Puelicher Butterfly Wing at the Milwaukee Public Museum: The Milwaukee Public Museum presents an incredible adventure through natural and cultural history. However, visitors should definitely not miss the Puelicher Butterfly Wing! Such an amazing adventure for a day and spending some time with butterflies circling you puts the cherry on top!

Conservatories and Butterfly Enclosures of Chicago and Milwaukee

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