One of the country's largest conservatories and more than 100 years old, Garfield Park Conservatory houses nearly 10,000 plant varieties from around the world under a 2.8-acre glass dome designed by landscape architect Jens Jensen. The eight indoor galleries and 9.5 acres of outdoor City, Lily Pool, Demonstration, Labyrinth and Sensory gardens are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
At home in the steadily gentrifying West Side, it draws visitors year-round to soak up warmth and beauty. Paths wind through the Fern Room's soaring, fan-shape palms and naturalistic stone waterfalls, and the Sun gallery showcases fruit-bearing plants and explains photosynthesis. The 5,000-square-foot Plants Alive! children's garden invites kids to touch plants, dig in soil and study a Jurassic Park-size bumblebee "flying" around a two-story twisting flower stem-slide.
Other attractions include the Palm, Aroid and Desert houses; the tranquil Monet Garden; and a Show House hosting floral events like spring and holiday flower shows and the annual Fleurotica runway fashion extravaganza.
Best of all, admission to the conservatory is free.