Spring has officially sprung! After our Chicago winter, you'll find most Chicagoans popping their convertible tops and donning breezy skirts and shorts as soon as the temps hit the double digits. Springtime is perhaps the best times of the year in Chicago, when the flowers blossom in our garden city. Here are five fun ways to usher in spring.
Stop and smell the flowers
It's always springtime at the Garfield Park Conservatory, but the 2015 Spring Show "Sun Showers" celebrates the season in all its blossoming glory. This year's show is special since it's dedicated to the revival of the Show House and its seasonal shows following the 2011 hailstorm. More than 200 bright yellow umbrellas hang from the glass ceiling, reminding us all that its the the rain and thunderstorms that bring us hopeful spring flowers. (100 N. Central Park Ave.; 312-746-5092; garfield-conservatory.org)
Say hello to a newborn baby (gorilla) girl
Lincoln Park Zoo welcomed an endangered western lowland gorilla, Bella, on Feb. 24. Lincoln Park Zoo's great apes program is one of the best in the world, and Bella will grow up at the state-of-the-art Regenstein Center for African Apes. The new baby joins her two-year-old half-sisters Nayembi and Patty, and her parents, Bahati, 27, and Kwan, 26. The gorilla family can be seen daily at the Regenstein Center for African Apes from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Each day at 1:30 p.m. the gorillas participate in a training or computer cognition session which members of the public can observe. Located at Fullerton Parkway & Cannon Drive, 312-742-2000; lpzoo.org.
Taste the flavors of spring
Farmers from throughout the midwest usher in spring with their freshly picked veggies and fruits at the fabulous Green City Market. This year's outdoor market opens May 3, but you can find spring's bounty at the Chicago Green City Market's indoor market, located at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (2430 N. Cannon Dr. in Lincoln Park), every Saturday until then. For some kitchen inspiration, check out the Green City Market's guide to recipes featuring spring market finds.
Frolic with the butterflies
Step into the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and you'll find yourself in a magical wonderland: 75 species of exotic butterflies and birds flitter and fly around, sometimes stopping to perch on a flower a leaf, or even a human! The 2,700 square-foot greenhouse with its tropical trees and flowers and the sun shining in through its windowpaned ceiling will transport your entire family to Hawaii. My 5-year-old daughter is ecstatic every time we pop in for a visit to this lovely haven. 2430 N Cannon Dr.; 773-755-5100; naturemuseum.org
Playlots dot our city, and stand as one of the best places to meet some locals and give your kids a chance to burn off some energy outdoors. Visit the Chicago Park District online to locate the park nearest to you. If you're staying near North Michigan Avenue or need a break from Mag Mile Shopping, take a moment to discover Seneca Park, a fun park and quiet oasis, tucked away between a firehouse and the Museum of Contemporary Art.