Exploring the Hidden Gems of Garfield Park Conservatory

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Nestled within the bustling city, Garfield Park Conservatory is a true urban oasis, offering a serene escape for nature enthusiasts and city dwellers alike.

This lush sanctuary is brimming with astounding flora and fauna, but its true charm lies in the lesser-known attractions hidden within.

Among these hidden gems are the butterfly garden, butterfly perennials, towering ferns, distinctive cacti, picturesque photo opportunities, and even plants you can grow in your own backyard.

Visiting the Garfield Park Conservatory

Butterfly Garden: A World of Delicate Beauty

One of the must-visit spots at Garfield Park Conservatory is the enchanting butterfly garden. This vibrant space is teeming with delicate winged creatures flitting among the colorful blooms.

A walk through this whimsical haven not only provides a one-of-a-kind sensory experience but also offers a rare glimpse into the fascinating world of butterflies.

The Labyrinth

The labyrinth is a winding walkway where a single patch leads to a central core. It doesn’t have dead ends or false turns that lead to nowhere.

In addition to representing wholeness, the spiral, and circles combine to create a purposeful journey. We are taking a journey back to our center before returning to the world.

There is much to see and explore at the conservatory. Be on the lookout for two Bug Hotels (one for ladybugs, and another for earwigs)! Other noteworthy spots to visit are

  • The City Garden
  • The Lily Pool
  • The Sensory Garden
  • Aroid House
  • Desert House
  • Fern Room
  • Palm House
  • Demonstration Garden
  • Children’s Garden

As you explore further, you’ll come across numerous butterfly perennials that serve as natural showstoppers throughout the conservatory.

These flowering plants, like milkweed and echinacea, are specifically chosen to attract butterflies and other pollinators.

As you admire these striking blooms, watch for visiting butterflies who rely on these nectar-rich plants for sustenance.

garfield park conservatory hidden gems

5 Best Photo Opportunities at Garfield Park Conservatory

In Chicago, Garfield Park Conservatory is a beautiful and photogenic destination with many great photo opportunities.

Even if you don’t have expensive equipment, the scenery and lighting will make your photos look polished and professional.

Here are some suggestions for places to take photos in the conservatory.

The Palm House

This is the largest room in the conservatory, with a high glass roof and towering palm trees.

It’s a popular spot for taking photos, especially during the golden hour when the light filters through the trees and the glass roof.

The Fern Room

This room is a lush oasis with a waterfall, ferns, and other tropical plants. The room is dimly lit which creates a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere.

You can’t resist capturing the unique images amongst the plants.

The Desert House

Who knew a room could be so beautiful when filled with cacti and other succulents, with sand-colored walls that create a desert-like ambiance.

It’s a perfect spot for macro shots of cacti and other desert plants.

The Children’s Garden 

A lovely spot for kids, the garden is an outdoor space that features a colorful mural, a whimsical water feature, and a variety of plants and flowers.

It’s a great spot for family photos or candid shots of kids playing in the garden.

Lily Pool & City Garden 

This is my absolute favorite place to visit. The garden is a picturesque outdoor space inspired by the French Impressionist painter Claude Monet.

It features a small pond, a bridge, and a variety of water lilies and other aquatic plants. It’s a great spot for romantic photos or artistic shots.

garfield park conservatory hidden gems

6 Easy Perennial Plants to Grow in Zone 5

In the United States, plant hardiness zones are based on the average annual minimum temperature in a given region. Zone 5 covers a large portion of the Midwest, including states such as Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.

The average minimum temperature in Zone 5 ranges from -20°F (-28.9°C) to -10°F (-23.3°C).

The plant climate in Zone 5 is characterized by cold winters and warm summers, with a growing season that typically lasts from mid-spring to mid-fall.

Many popular garden plants, including perennials, shrubs, and trees, are well-suited to the growing conditions in Zone 5.

However, gardeners in Zone 5 must also be mindful of late spring frosts and early fall frosts, which can shorten the growing season and damage tender plants.

Some plants may require extra protection, such as frost blankets or mulch, to survive the winter.

Overall, the plant climate in Zone 5 is ideal for a wide variety of plants, including both native and non-native species.

Gardeners in this zone have many options for creating beautiful and productive gardens, with a little extra care and attention during the colder months.

Here are six perennial plants that can grow well in Chicago.

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Black-eyed Susans are sun-loving perennials that produce cheerful yellow and black flowers. They thrive in well-draining soil and can tolerate drought.

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Purple coneflowers are another sun-loving perennial that is native to the Midwest. They produce distinctive, pinkish-purple daisy-like flowers and attract a wide variety of pollinators.

Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

Russian sage is a drought-tolerant perennial that produces fragrant, lavender-colored flowers in the summer. It prefers full sun and well-draining soil.

Hosta (Hosta spp.)

Hostas are shade-loving perennials that come in many different varieties. They are prized for their attractive foliage, which can range from bright green to variegated yellow and green.

Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.)

Daylilies are sun-loving perennials that produce large, trumpet-shaped flowers in a wide range of colors. They are easy to care for and can tolerate a variety of soil conditions.

Coral Bells (Heuchera spp.)

Coral bells are shade-loving perennials that produce delicate, bell-shaped flowers in the spring. They are prized for their attractive foliage, which can range from deep red to purple to green.

Things to Know Before You Go

Garfield Park Conservatory is located on the west side of Chicago and is a great excursion for seeing a fascinating glimpse of the diverse flora. This botanical oasis has an extensive collection of plants from around the world. It is a popular destination for nature lovers, botanists, and anyone seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The Annual Spring Flower Show

The annual Garfield Park Conservatory Spring Flower Show is held between February and May. Spring bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and hydrangeas, as well as delphiniums are on display in the exhibit.

The Annual Winter Flower Show

The Garfield Park Conservatory Winter Flower Show is designed to evoke feelings of serenity and peace. Visitors will be treated to the calming effects of poinsettias in shades of pink, silver-hued foliage, and fragrances that are reminiscent of nature. The aromatherapy provides an additional layer of relaxation during the holiday season in Chicago.

How to Get There

Address: 300 N. Central Park, Chicago

The best way to get there is via the Chicago L train. Take the Green line towards the Harlem and Lake Station and exit the Central Park Drive (Conservatory) stop. Then walk about 3 minutes north to the entrance.

Hours of Operation

  • Monday, Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 10 AM to 8 PM
  • Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 10 AM to 5 PM


There is no cost for admission, but donations are accepted.

  • You will need to reserve a ticket in advance, but walk-ins are accepted.
  • Allow one to two hours for your visit.
  • Free public parking is available at the south entrance of the Conservatory .

Final Thoughts about Garfield Park Conservatory

If you are a nature lover, the Garfield Park Conservatory is a must-visit for anyone interested in unknown plants and exploring the natural world. We’ve selected a few more articles with you in mind

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Have you visited Garfield Park Conservatory? What unknown plants did you find the most fascinating?  Share your experience in the comments below!

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