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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.

Did you know that Chicago’s botanical gem under glass, the Garfield Park Conservatory, has been home to rare tropical plants for over 100 years? (The Garfield Park Conservatory opened to the public in April of 1908.) The Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance offers a number of exciting programs year round that explore the power of plants. Be sure to check out our website for program information and updates. For additional information please call 773-638-1766 ext 23.

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.






Sugar from the Sun Fold & Find Scavenger Hunt
Daily Program

Date: Year Round

Time: Scavenger sheet available during all exhibit hours.
Activity will be available at front desk
Location: Conservatory
Cost: Free

Fold and create a special origami toy containing hidden messages about plants. This educational and interactive scavenger hunt will lead you to discoveries in the Sugar from the Sun exhibit and around the Conservatory. When you’re done, take it home and use it again and again!



Weekend Family Fun:
Discover the Power of Plants!
Saturdays & Sundays
Year Round
Drop in anytime between 11 am - 4 pm

Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden

Plant an imaginary garden, build a tropical habitat, help water our plants, or read a book beneath our giant leaves - there is always something at the Conservatory to keep minds active and curiosity growing. Drop in each weekend and join the fun!



Family Make-&-Take Activity
Saturdays & Sundays
Year Round

Time: Drop in anytime between 1 pm and 3 pm
(Drop-in activities usually take 15-20 minutes and no registration is required.
Location: Elizabeth Morse Genius’ Children’s Garden (Activity will be stationed near the giant seed in the Children’s Garden)
Cost: Free, Donations welcome

Make something unique to take home while learning about plants. This season’s projects include terrariums, fossil-making, Money Tree planting and more. Projects take 15-20 minutes to complete. Drop in any time before 2:45pm.





Discovery Dig Wednesdays

Wednesdays, November 4 - April 28

Hours: 3 pm to 6 pm (drop in anytime!)

Where: Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden

Cost: Free! Just drop by!


Join us every Wednesday afternoon in the Children's Garden for an open exploration in our popular “Dig Pit.” Families have the chance to get their hands dirty by digging for dinosaur bones, planting pretend gardens, and many other rotating activities. Touchable plants and kid-friendly interactives will also be available during this time. Great for all ages!



REI Wilderness Wednesdays

Third Wednesday of Every Month (November-February)

Hours: 3 pm to 6 pm (drop in anytime!)

Where: Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden

Cost: Free! Just drop by!


Join our special outdoor host, REI, as they set up camp on the grounds of the Conservatory. REI staff will be on hand to share positive messages about enjoying the outdoors and exploring your wild side through their PEAK program (Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids). Program includes games and activities based on recycling, respecting wildlife, and more. Your family can also try “sleeping bag yoga” where they will learn nature and animal-inspired yoga postures. Be sure to join us for one or all of these evenings to explore the great outdoors right here at the Conservatory!



Wild Wednesdays

Last Wednesday of every month (January - April)

Hours: 3 pm to 6 pm (drop in anytime!)

Where: Sugar from the Sun Room

Cost: Free! Just drop by!


Throughout the season, we are celebrating “wild things” with live animal presenter Scott Heinrichs. Come out and ask Mr. Heinrichs questions about each animal and get a close-up look at some fascinating critters. Additional fun - such as scavenger hunts and animal-related activities - will also be available.


Featured Animals


February 24-Boa constrictor

March 31-Collard Aracari (mini toucan)

April 28-Fennec Fox

May 26-Bats


*Please note: Animals are subject to change.  



PLANTING SEEDS FOR LEARNING (Family Preschool Programs)


Morning Glories for Families

Every Monday Morning

Date: Year Round
Time: Drop in anytime between 10 am – Noon

No registration required.
Location: Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden
Cost: $1 suggested donation per family

Enjoy learning together with your preschooler during this weekly drop-in activity and storytime. Projects are fun, interactive, and encourage children’s curiosity about plants. Preschoolers and their care-givers participate within a group of children to complete a hands-on activity and listen to a related story. Each group session takes approximately 20 minutes. After completing your project, be sure to stick around to dig in the soil, shake musical plant instruments, or help water our plants. (interactives change weekly). We do suggest a donation of $1.00 to help cover the cost of materials.
* Morning Glories breaks for holidays and special programming. There will be no program on the following dates: Monday, January 18 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) Monday, February 15 (Presidents’ Day)


Important Morning Glories Information

If you are a Pre-K daycare group of more than 6 children,
   please attend the Morning Glories session on Thursdays.
   Please refer to the “Morning Glories for Schools” section
   below for registration information.

Adult supervision is required for participation in the Morning
   Glory Mondays Program.

• For more information call Kelly Katzmann at 773 638-1766
   ext. 23 or email




CLASSROOM CONNECTIONS (School and Teacher Programs)




Morning Glories for Schools

Every Thursday

Time: 10 am - Noon (Registration Required)
Location: Discovery Area of the Children’s Garden
Cost: Free

If you are interested in bringing a larger group or an entire class for Morning Glories story-time project, we have a new feature just for you! Morning Glories for Schools allows larger groups of preschoolers to enjoy a project together.

Please contact Yadira Correa at 773-638-1766 x25 or email her at to learn more and to schedule a Thursday morning visit - registration is required.



Special Family Fun Throughout the Conservatory




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 Hienrich 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.

Your group can play in the dig pit in the Children’s Garden (11am - 4pm) and participate in the Make-and-take activity (1pm -3pm).  Children’s Garden programs are drop-in activity sessions. No pre-registration is required. We suggest a donation of $1 per child to 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.

Birthday Parties and community groups that wish to participate in the weekend programs must call ahead to inform the Family Programs Coordinator of when their group will be coming to the Conservatory. 773-638-1766x23.

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.

Groups of 10 or more must register with our School and Group Trip Coordinator, Yadira Correa at 773-638-1766x25.


Any questions about participating in the weekend public programs, please contact Kelly Katzmann at 773-638-1766x23 or



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

Hours: Drop in anytime between 1 pm - 4 pm

Where: Conservatory
Cost: Free


Please note the Origami Open House will not take place in February due to Sweet Saturdays.


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:   



Eye Spy Conservatory Hunt

Download the PDF

Make the most of your family visit to the Garfield Park Conservatory; before your next trip to see us, download this free Garfield Park Conservatory Scavenger Hunt PDF, and print off a sheet for each member of your family.

Not only will your kids enjoy hunting for answers, but their experience will also be active and engaging. Your family will be introduced to some of the most intriguing and unique plants the Conservatory has to offer. Good Luck!!


Eye Spy Hunt PDF




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 Kid & Family Fun or to volunteer in the Children's Garden  email Kelly Katzmann at or call (773) 638-1766 ext. 23.