Friday, May 13, 2011

Garfield Park Conservatory - a true gem!

A couple of weeks back, when the weather was still not good enough to plan an outing outdoors, what with the spring being hugely late this time (or so I hear :), we went to the Garfield Park Conservatory. It was a wonderful place and we had a day well spent. Its such a huge conservatory with 8 indoor display gardens and 3 outdoor gardens. The indoor display gardens where such an amazing variety of flora thrives under huge glass vaulted ceiling makes you wonder what would it be like if they were out in the open. I was especially impressed by the Palm Room designed as an idealized tropical landscape, it's where graceful palms, interspersed with a variety of other tropicals, soar up to the ceiling as also the Fern Room where lush ferns, rocky outcroppings and an indoor lagoon evoke a swampy landscape, complete with the wet mud smell which I love.

The sights would have been enough to make the place worthwhile but the icing on the cake is there's so much to do as well, especially for the kids.

There are Scavenger Hunt sheets in the lobby itself where you enter on which there are about 10-12 different plants that you have to find throughout the Conservatory in different rooms. The kids loved it. Once they spotted some plant, they were so excited to take off the sticker from the back and stick it next to the picture of the plant on the sheet.

The Children's room is absolutely awesome. There's a big slide amidst all the plants and greenery.

When they climb up the stairs to get to the slide, there's a mezzanine where there's a sensitive plant which cringes when touched. My kids, esp the younger one adored it.

There's a book nook with books to be enjoyed in the great surroundings, a giant bee to be manoeuvred to pollinate a giant flower.

There's a discovery area where they have a sand box with toy bugs, tools to remove them, flowers, pots, and a lot more.

And plus they do a new hands on activity every Saturday and Sunday. The day we went, the kids planted their own pizza garden where they planted seeds of tomatoes, bell peppers, basil and oregano and are now proudly watching them grow at home everyday.

And the best part of all, ,its all free. Even the parking!! One of the greatest and most incredible places we have visited.

A few handy tips before you go -

- The only restrooms that are there are the ones located in the lobby as soon as you enter. Try to have the kids go their before you enter the Display Rooms rather than coming all the way back for them.

- We spent almost 3-4 hours over there because the kids were having so much fun. There's no place to order eatables inside. I had carried fruits and snacks in ziploc bags and they came in really handy.


noon said...

What a lovely place. I can't believe it is free! No place here like that that is free! That would cost some 15 bucks per head here min. Really nice place. The kids look so happy there. You should go there often! And forget about visiting WA, just come to CA! :)

Neera said...

ha ha ha ...I think I will this time in the winters ..I trust myself to be not able to bear the unbelievable cold here ..get ready for me with bed and baggage, u lucky u!!

Sumana said...

Lovely place Neera. Man you guys have been visiting places we did not hear in our 7 year stay. Not sure if these are new development i mean around 2-3 years old?

Neera said...

Hey Sumana, I don't know if its new but yeah it was really really good and its all indoors a superb getaway even in the super long and super extreme winters :)

noon said...

Hello dragon mom - when ever are you going to write another post! ;)(see MM's comment area - I left a comment for you too)

phatichar said...


Nicki Babysits said...

I've never been there! I live in the 'burbs but I USED to drive to the city all the time! The one time I tried to go to Garfield Park with some kids for a chocolate festival, I couldn't find a parking space, drove around like a chicken with my head cut off and got lost twice, and decided to just take them to a movie instead. Maybe I'll try it again someday, NOT on chocolate festival day!

Tulika said...

Seems like a fun fun place for not just the kids. I can't believe it's free. I wish we had a few things like this here. Free bit comes later...

Anonymous said...

Good one..

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