Garfield Logo


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.

Please note: all scheduled activities are subject to change.




Planting Projects 

Plant Party Play Dates
Saturdays & Sundays
October through April
Time: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Location: Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden (unless directed otherwise by signage)
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 the tropics and keep your kids connected to nature throughout Chicago’s colder months. 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.




Conservatory Explorers
Wednesday Evenings (October through April)
Time: 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Location: Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden
Cost: FREE, donations appreciated

The air is chilly outside, but inside the Conservatory it’s summer all year long! Join us Wednesday evenings during the cooler months to wander and wonder through the lush tropical collection. Children will engage in fun activities that encourage their natural exploration and curiosity.


Wild Wednesdays
Last Wednesday of Every Month
Date: October through April (except December)
Time: 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm (drop in anytime!)
Location: Sugar from the Sun Room
Cost: Free, donations appreciated

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. We will kick off Wild Wednesdays with our annual Halloween Event, Creatures of the Night, with a menagerie of nocturnal animal guest meet-and-greets. Animal face-painting and temporary tattoos will also be provided during Wild Wednesdays.

Please Note: Animal Guests May Change Without Notice.


March 26 – Fruit Bat

April 30 – Tree Frog and Gecko



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 Kelly Calvillo 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.