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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, the Play and Grow Garden, which is open Noon to 4:30 pm daily from March 15 to November 15, 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 

Saturdays & Sundays
Year Round
Time: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: Play and Grow Garden or Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden
Cost: Free, donations requested

Each weekend we explore the natural world through the lenses of biology, anthropology, art, and history. Bring your children to this exploratory programming and introduce them to the Conservatory and the plant world through hands-on activities and play.

Please note: activities are subject to change.



Photo by Matthew Barrett

Wild Wednesdays
Time: 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Location: Various Locations Indoors and Out – check the front desk for location and look for the orange flags
Cost: Free, donations appreciated

Join us Wednesday evenings and let your kids get a little wild! Whether we’re inside or out, we will be exploring nature, getting our hands dirty and discovering new things about plants, animals and nature. In addition to our dig pit and spray bottles, we’ll be inviting a wild animal guest several times a month – look back in October for details on those dates and guests. Drop in with your young one and enjoy this free family programming. Please note that animal guests are subject to change or cancellation without notice.

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


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.