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Something's always growing and there's always something new to discover at the Conservatory!


Garfield Park Conservatory is a fantastic place to bring family members of all ages. Something’s always growing, and there’s always something new to discover! To make your “growing” experience here even more enjoyable, we offer a number of special educational opportunities FREE for kids and families! Come visit the Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden, which is open during normal Conservatory hours, or visit us during one of our scheduled activity times. 

Are you bringing a birthday party or community group to the Conservatory? Please refer to our “Children's Birthday Parties & Community Group Visits” section below for more details about participating in our weekend programs with your group.

Family meetup groups consisting of over 10 adults and children wishing to visit the Conservatory and/or participate in our programs must contact the School and Group Program Coordinator at 773-638-1766 x.25 at least three weeks prior to their visit. Pre-registration for groups is required.

To learn about all the programs, events and activities taking place at the Conservatory this month, visit our Calendar page.

Please note: all scheduled activities are subject to change.




Planting Projects 

Plant Party Play Dates
Saturdays & Sundays
May through September
Time: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Location: Play and Grow Garden or Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden
Cost: Free, donations requested

Each weekend we cook up projects that get kids and families wondering about the plants and the natural world. Come visit over the weekend to get a dose of nature and keep your kids connected to nature throughout the summer. Each month, we will wonder about the natural world in a different way, with activities changing weekly.

Please note: Plant Party Play Date activities are subject to change.




Summer “Field Day” Nights
May through September
Time: 4:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: Various Locations Indoors and Out – check the front desk for location and look for the orange flags
Cost: Free, donations appreciated

This summer, we are offering up special “field day” nights, with facilitated opportunities for kids to play Simon Says, Red Rover, Flashlight Tag, or parachute games. We’ll also have opportunities for kids to build, explore, and make soil muffins. Bring a picnic and make a night out of it!

*Due to staff limitations, we cannot accommodate groups. Kids must be accompanied by an adult (at least one adult per 5 children).  


Conservatory Kids: Busy Bees
November 2 through December 14
Time: TBD
Location: TBD
Cost: TBD

This fall we will debut “Conservatory Kids: Busy Bees” a six-week science-focused program for children ages 3-6 and an accompanying adult. Busy Bees is designed to teach young children about bees and beekeeping through a combination of hands-on activities, stories, and songs. Kids will develop their problem-solving and critical thinking skills as they discover how and why bees do what they do. This 90-minute program will meet weekly on Sunday mornings November 2 – December 14. Look for more information, pricing, and registration details in October.


Chicago City of Learning Badge Program
Time: All Conservatory Hours
Location: Ask for information at the Front Desk
Cost: Free!

School’s out, but there’s still plenty of fun opportunities to learn at the Conservatory! Come visit us this summer to participate in a city-wide project called Chicago City of Learning. Chicago City of Learning encourages children to participate in classes, programs and activities that further their knowledge and skills and promote positive life-long habits and attitudes. As children complete activities, they earn electronic badges to show what they’ve accomplished.

At the Conservatory we have three badges you can earn! Ask the front desk how you can get involved!


1. Conservatory Sleuth: Novice – Have you ever seen a Chocolate tree? What about a Vanilla vine? Have you been to the tropics? Visit the Conservatory to discover an entire indoor tropical environment right here in Chicago! After your visit collect a Conservatory Sleuth: Novice badge simply for discovering the plants and gardens we have here.


2. Conservatory Sleuth: Back to Glass - Have you ever been on a scavenger hunt? What about in an indoor garden? Come to the Garfield Park Conservatory and you can do both, at one time! Pick up our free Back to Glass scavenger hunt at the front desk and see if you can find all 8 clues as you learn about how a hail storm destroyed our glass house and what we're doing to rebuild it.


3. Conservatory Sleuth: City in a Garden - Do you like to be outside? Have you ever been on a scavenger hunt? Come to the Garfield Park Conservatory and you can do both, at one time! Pick up our free City in a Garden scavenger hunt at the front desk and see if you can find all 8 clues as you learn about how to make our city greener.


For more information about the Chicago City of Learning Program and to sign up for the program, please visit


FREE Conservatory Scavenger Hunts
Time: All Conservatory Hours
Location: Pick up your scavenger hunt in the Lobby
Cost: FREE, donations appreciated

Try one of our FREE Conservatory Scavenger Hunts on your next visit! Enhance your adventure at the Conservatory by using one of our free scavenger hunts to explore. Themes will vary throughout the year and include: Backyard Bingo (outside), Candyland, African American History, and more!

  Children's Birthday Parties & Community Group Visits  

Children's Birthday Parties & Community Group Visits
Location: Conservatory
Cost: Call


Have you visited the Conservatory and thought it would be a great place for your child’s birthday party or to bring your community group? Great idea! We welcome birthday parties and community groups here at the Conservatory, however there are a few details you need to know to make your trip more successful for everyone.


At this time, we unfortunately do not provide any private birthday parties or events led by Conservatory staff. However, there is an outside animal presenter that is approved to make on-site visits at the Conservatory. If you are interested in having a live animal come to your birthday party at the Conservatory, you can contact Scott Heinrichs from Walk on the Wildside at 773-823-1466 or (Please note: a room must be rented if you are going to hire Walk on the Wildside for your party).  

You can rent one of our rooms here to hold your birthday party by contacting Joan Colon at 312-746-5250 or

Your party is welcome to participate in the public ongoing weekend activities (See Kid & Family Fun for details). You can also pickup scavenger hunts for your group at the front desk free of charge. We do suggest a donation of a $1 per child to help cover the cost of materials.

All visitors are served on a first come, first served basis. Due to limited resources, we cannot guarantee birthday parties and large groups participation (20 or more) in the make-and-take program. If you decide to participate in these programs, please split your party up into groups of 6 or less.

Children must be accompanied by their adults at all times inside the Conservatory.

During your party, please be considerate to other visitors so that everybody can enjoy the Conservatory spaces.


Birthday Parties and groups of 10 or more that wish to participate in the weekend programs must call ahead to inform us of when their group will be coming to the Conservatory. To register, or if you have any questions, please contact the Program Registrar at


  Origami Open House   

Origami Open House
Presented by the Chicago Area Origami Society
Second Saturday of Each Month (except February)

Time: Drop in anytime between 1 pm - 4 pm

Location: Classroom
Cost: Free


Origami is a fascinating, fun-filled creative activity for children as well as adults. With a minimum of folds and creases, you can transform a flat sheet of paper into a three-dimensional form like a swan, a boat, a flower or even a hat. So, if you're interested in creating animals, dinosaurs, flowers, decorative boxes and various other models, please join us.

Every second Saturday of the month in the Conservatory’s Classroom, the Chicago Area Origami Society presents a free drop-in Origami Open House to our visitors. Please drop by — both kids and adults are welcome, but children must be accompanied by an adult. Experienced folders welcome as well.

Also, though there will be a limited supply of paper available, you are encouraged to bring your own. The workshop is FREE and OPEN to the public. For more information, please contact Robert by e-mail at, or visit their website:





Chicago Wilderness’s Leave No Child Inside

New Website


As a Chicago Wilderness member, we’ve always known that connecting children with nature is the first step to conserving our natural heritage for the future. We’re now learning that this connection is just as important to healthy childhood development. That’s why we are a part of Chicago Wilderness’s Leave No Child Inside, a multi-year initiative to improve children’s health and foster generations of children that care for nature.

Chicago Wilderness' new web site at is just for the Leave No Child Inside initiative. Throughout the initiative, this site will be a resource for parents and other caregivers with fun ideas on where to go and what to do outside with their kids.


Tips for Parents

   More Information   

For more information on Family Programs or to volunteer in the Children's Garden email Audrey Sherer at or call (773) 638-1766 ext. 23.