If you’re looking for something to do indoors take a trip to the Garfield Park Conservatory which is open 365 days a year and is always free (suggested donation).
Where: Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 North Central Park Avenue. 312-746-5100
When: Open 365 days a year. Daily Hours: 9 am – 5 pm and Wednesdays: 9 am – 8 pm. Admission free. Donations requested. Free parking is located just south of the Conservatory’s main entrance in the visitor parking lot. If you take the Green Line be aware of your surroundings you’ll be going through Austin and Garfield Park.
Please check the Events page for more detailed information. All events are subject to change.
Free Adult Programs
- Drop-In Demonstrations. From June through September 11am-12:30pm on Saturdays, volunteers cover the topics of beekeeping, composting and gardening in hands-on demonstrations. Beekeepers are out every Tuesday from 11am-12:30pm. From October through May, composters showcase worm bin composting on Saturdays from 11-12:30pm.
- Lectures: Check calendar for upcoming lectures.
- Yoga: free yoga sessions are the 2nd and 4th Saturdays each month from 9am-10am.
- Wandering Guides: ‘Wandering Guides’ are trained and knowledgeable volunteers around to answer questions. Times vary but look for them in a green apron.
Free Kids Programs
- Morning Glories: Mondays 10am to Noon Weekly drop-in session with activities about the natural world. Children and their care-givers rotate to different stations around the Children’s Garden. Stations include planting projects, soil digging stations, tours, story-time, and more. Participation is free, but donations for material costs are appreciated.
- Wild Wednesday’s: Wednesday’s 4 pm–7pm. Children explore nature and discover new things about plants, animals and nature. In addition to a dig pit and spray bottles, there will be a wild animal guest several times a month.
- Fiddleheads: Saturday’s and Sunday’s 12 pm–4 pm. Each weekend they offer different projects that get kids and families wondering about the plants and the natural world in a different way, with activities changing weekly.
- Juicebox: Select Saturday’s 11 am-12 pm. A free series of performances geared to toddlers. Juicebox website.
- Play and Grow Garden is open: March 15 – November 15 The Garden is open daily 12:00PM-4:30PM weather permitting. Families with children ages 0-8 are invited to build, imagine, and challenge themselves with pebbles, make mud pies, walk the stump obstacle course, or make music on a wooden xylophone. Play & Grow is outside: exit through Sugar from the Sun and turn right; it’s just past the labyrinth. Children should be supervised at all times in the Play & Grow Garden.
About Garfield Park Conservatory
The Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the largest conservatories in the nation. When it opened in 1908 it was referred to as “landscape art under glass.” The conservatory occupies approximately 4.5 acres inside and out, where thousands of rare plant species are on display throughout eight indoor display rooms and vast outdoor gardens during the summer.
The Conservatory’s eight themed and multifaceted display houses are: Palm House, Fern Room, Sugar from the Sun, Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden, Aroid House, Desert House, Horticulture Hall and The Show House. The outdoor gardens include a city garden, a sensory garden, a labyrinth, lily pools and a demonstration garden.
Most recently, the Garfield Park Conservatory sustained catastrophic damage from a hail storm that swept through the area in June, 2011, shattering 60 percent of the facility’s glass roof. The public display houses most affected by the damage include the historic Fern Room, Show House, and Desert House, along with the all 10 production greenhouses. Reconstruction and repairs are complete and all rooms have reopened.