Chicago is a city among gardens and greenery, so it is easy
to escape from the urban excitement and get in touch with nature at these
wonderful attractions and events.
Chicago Botanic Garden
Twenty-six spectacular gardens sprawled across 385 acres,
the Chicago Botanic Garden is a true paradise located just a few miles north
of downtown. You can take a warm walk, no matter the weather outside, through
the Greenhouses, moving from tropical, semitropical and desert environments and
seeing the gorgeous plants that thrive in these climates.
Head outside to the Circle Garden, where unusual
combinations of annuals change seasonally. Or make your way to the
Waterfall Garden to see the incredible 45-foot waterfall that cascades down the
hillside into landscaped pools.
If you don't feel like walking, hop on a tram tour instead,
and get a panoramic overview of the whole garden.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Dedicated to expanding knowledge of nature, the Peggy
Notebaert Museum is a great place to explore the beauty of Mother Nature. This
museum attracts student and youth groups because of its fun, interactive and
educational exhibits and programs, such as the Mysteries of the Marsh,
RiverWorks and Hands-on Habitat.
Be sure to make it to the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, the
internationally renowned 2,700-square-foot greenhouse. It is home to more than
1,000 butterflies, and is a wonderful tropical retreat.
Lincoln Park Conservatory
A visit to this gem in Lincoln Park will transport you to a
different place. Designed to showcase exotic plants, the Lincoln Park
Conservatory features tropical palms, ancient ferns and beautiful orchids.
Definitely stop by the Show Room, in case there is an annual flower shows going
on. This historic facility provides you with a lush, green escape all year
round. And bonus: It's free.
Garfield Park Conservatory
Journey west of the city to see what many call "landscape
art under glass" at Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest and most
brilliant conservatories in the country. If you would like to stay inside,
explore the conservatory's eight different display houses. Ranging from
horticulture hall and the fern room to the aroid house and the children's
garden, there is something for every age and interest.
Outside, the City Garden stays open year-round, showcasing
urban plants, garden communities and recycled parts of cityscapes. This garden
is a representation of urban greening, an intricate map of streets, green space
and gardens working together to create a more beautiful city landscape.
One of the best ways to experience this urban oasis is with
a guided tour. The knowledgeable guides provide you with historical facts and
insight into the plant and flower collections as you stroll from one house to
the next. Themes tours are available for those interested in specific topics,
such as tropical plants, plants and history, and much more. There are also
free, guided tours every Sunday at 2pm, which are first come, first serve. Or you
can explore the conservatory at your own leisure with the help of informative
signs throughout the conservatory.
Flower & Garden Show
The thaw of winter is celebrated every March with the annual
Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier (3/15-23). This show has roots that date back as far as
the 1840s, so it truly is a Chicago tradition.
Gardening enthusiasts and newcomers alike will enjoy the
sights and scents of the garden displays of perennials, annuals and trees, as
well as water features and interactive exhibits. The designers and landscapers
inspire with their feature gardens, showing guests the potential of their
gardens at home. You can get involved with "how-to-garden" seminars, potting
demonstrations and more. This show brings out the gardener in everyone.
for more information on Chicago's parks, gardens and "tropical" escapes.