It is true; the best things in life are free. Case in point – The Garfield Park Conservatory.
The conservatory, or a giant green house as I describe it to people who aren’t quite familiar with the term, is only ten minutes from downtown Chicago. We took our out-of-town guests for a visit on Saturday and stepping in from frigid weather into a comfortable 75 degrees with 80 percent humidity was nothing short of a miracle, it was pretty much the only moment we stopped apologizing for the weather even though they are visiting from Canada.
And that fern room, on my lord! As pictured above it is pretty much like a fountain of youth; I could feel my lungs swelling with all that clean oxygen. It’s the kind of air that adds a few years to ones life I am sure.
In addition to the sights and the smells, I get a kick out of reading the various names – Flaming Sword, Stolen Palm, Cotton Candy Fern, Lipstick Palm, Crocodile Fern – which do such an accurate job of describing the texture and structure of the plants.
The Conservatory was destroyed badly in the 2011 hailstorm, but looking at it now it is hard to tell that any damage ever happened, thanks to the restoration effort made possible by the donations from local citizens who consider this a gem in the city.
Asha had such a great time gently touching all the plants. I can imagine how much more fun this will be when she is able to walk on her own. Even though the green line stop is only steps away from the conservatory, having an adjacent free parking lot meant that even on such a cold day many parents were able to bring in their kids who otherwise must be going insane staying cooped in the house.
And now for some pictures…