Even though the winter still lingers in Chicago, you can pretend Spring is already here at the annual Lincoln Park Conservatory Spring Flower Show. The 2024 show is called “Sweet Gnome Chicago” and runs from February 14 through May 12, 2024.
Take in the beauty of flowers and plants arranged around nearly 300 garden gnomes of different sizes and materials. Stroll through rows of tropical flowers and towering palm trees in this indoor paradise while viewing whimsical gnome vignettes.
The conservatory is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is free but reservations are highly recommended. Book reservations here.
Lincoln Park Conservatory History
The Lincoln Park Commission constructed the Lincoln Park Conservatory in phases between 1890 and 1895, replacing a small greenhouse that dated from the 1870s. Nationally renowned architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee designed the Conservatory in collaboration with architect Mifflin E. Bell.
Lincoln Park has a second example of the work of each architect. Silsbee designed the Carlson Cottage, a former ladies’ comfort station near the Lincoln Park Zoo,
Bell designed the Rustic Pavilion, located west of the North Pond, at Lakeview Ave. and St. James Place near Stockton Drive.
During the early nineteenth century developments in iron and glass building technology led to the construction of conservatories in cities throughout Europe and the United States.
Later in the century, as people were increasingly concerned about the ill effects of industrialization, they became fascinated with nature and interested in collecting and classifying plants.
Large conservatories with display and exhibit rooms gained popularity.
Lincoln Park’s small greenhouse no longer seemed sufficient.
Architects Silsbee and Bell were commissioned to design a much more substantial building.
Rendered in an exotic style, the new structure included palm, fernery, orchids, and showhouses.
A “paradise under glass,” the Conservatory supported “a luxuriant tropical growth.
Blending the whole into a natural grouping of nature’s loveliest forms.” Historically, aquatic plants propagated in tanks in the Conservatory were planted outside, in heated ponds.
Lincoln Park Conservatory Spring Flower Show
Lincoln Park Conservatory, 2391 N. Stockton Drive, 312-742-7736
February 14- May 12, 2024, 10:00 AM -5:00 PM, Wednesday through Sunday