A Respite from the Cold!

| December 10, 2008 | 2 Comments

By Kristen Holub

December 10, 2008 – Now that the chill of winter has officially taken hold, my friends and I have been compiling lists of great indoor places to take our kids.  The stipulations are that they must be inexpensive, warm, and fun!  Well, the Garfield Park Conservatory meets all three of these criteria, and then goes above and beyond with stellar interactive programming, easy access via car or public transportation and exposure to nature and plants during the blustery Chicago winter.

When AJ was a baby, I used to bring him to the GPC in a sling or the stroller and just meander through the relaxing exhibits. If you have a winter baby, this is a perfect outing and there is even an area with tables where you can have lunch or sit down to feed your little one. The only place that is tough to access with a stroller is the fern room, located down a half-flight of flagstone steps, so down there I’d recommend the sling or carrier.  If your child is crawling, you can let them move around in the Children’s Garden, where the flooring is soft and there is a special enclosed area for them to crawl and climb, safe from bigger kids moving through.

Once your kids are walking, there are LOTS of activities and areas to explore! My son loves to find all of the water…a coi pond, a mosaic fountain, waterfalls and even little streams to step over.  We both like pointing out certain unusual plant colors like purple or orange, and guessing whether a leaf might feel smooth, rough or bumpy. He’s also finally big enough to go down the tall tube slide in the Children’s Garden with minimal supervision, as long as we don’t encounter a field trip during our visit.

he Garfield Park Conservatory is also a treasure trove of fantastic children’s programming, at little or no cost. Here is an overview of what’s going on now, but check out their web site for more information and specifics:

This weekend (Dec 13 & 14) you and your family can “Discover the Power of Plants” at Family Exploration Stations in the Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden and other locations throughout the Conservatory.  These hands-on activities are drop-in anytime between 11-4. On Saturday you can also check out two additional programs, the Origami Workshop  and the Family Make-&-Take Activity.   The Origami Workshop will take place between 1 – 4 in the Conservatory’s Classroom and expose your child to a fun art form while they practice their manual dexterity and patience. (The whole family is welcome but children must be accompanied by an adult)  The Family Make-&-Take Activity changes weekly and this Saturday’s will be to make a Holiday Scent Necklace involving seasonal spices and sandpaper!  All of these 3 programs are FREE!

During the week there is even more kids programming on Mondays, Wednesdays & Thursdays, where kids

can get dirty while digging for worms, learning about how to plant seeds, making terrariums, or planting popcorn!  There are 2 self-guided scavenger hunts that can be played anytime, and a photography exhibit on display in the Community Room that can be viewed anytime the room is not being rented out.  Where else can your child can be exposed to nature, art, and hands-on activities all in the same visit?

Oh, and don’t forget that Garfield Park Conservatory is also the perfect place to take a family photo for the holidays. Their Show House will be decked out in (mainly) red poinsettias in a beautiful and festive display through January 11, ‘09.

Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N Central Park Ave, Chicago, IL
(312) 746-5195

Daily Hours: 9 am – 5 pm
Thursday: 9 am – 8 pm

Admission to the Conservatory is FREE! They do ask for a suggested donation during special events and exhibits.

FREE PARKING is just south of the Conservatory’s main entrance.

Just steps from the Green Line’s Conservatory-Central Park stop.

This is an Original Chicagonista.com article.

———————————————Kristen Holub Artist and business owner turned stay-at-home-mom, Kristen Holub stays busy with Chicago Green Families, running around town with her son, and doing her best to keep the household eco-friendly and under control while jotting down and sharing great finds in Chicago.

Category: See & Plays

About the Author ()

Head Chicagonista, Co-host of the Chicagonista LIVE! show, Lead blogger for TheChicagoMoms.com, and Co-Founder of Women Driving Excellence. MJ is also the annual host of SocialRevUp - Brands & Bloggers Summit (#bbsummit) attended by about 200 professional high-profile bloggers nationwide. Follow MJ on Twitter: @mjtam

Comments (2)

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  1. MJ Tam says:

    Excellent post Kristen!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I need to get there, and soon! I can’t believe I’ve never been, and this seems perfect for these grey winter doldrums! Thanks Kristen!

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