Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Not Necessarily for Children Gardens

One of my all-time favorite places to take our kids is the Garfield Park Conservatory. We try to go at least every three months and stay for at least half the day, almost always bringing a picnic to eat either in the hoticulture hall or the Monet Garden depending on the weather. I've tried to persuade nearly every mommy-friend and playgroup companion I know, and no one ever seems to want to venture out to see it. All I can think is that the word "conservatory" must have some pretty negative associations to stuffy old ladies and bonsai or rare orchids. It's really quite the contrary. It's an explosion of texture and layers. And to make it even more wonderful, every other year they bring in a fabulous artist installation, too. We've been lucky enough to see exhibitions by Dale Chihuly and Niki de Saint Phalle just in the last few years.

I imagine that most parents might first think that kids and plants or kids and statues, or worse kids with plants AND statues, is a recipe for disaster. The "Niki in the Garden" exhibit from 2007 featured very large, vibrant mosaic pieces of animals, dancing women, people, and mythical creatures (many of which you were invited to climb on, sit on, or touch).

But even when there is no special event, it is such a rich, wonderful place to introduce children to gardening. I wish I had more pictures of my kids just enjoying the garden. They can spend nearly an hour exploring in the fern room alone. I recommend going on a week day and you'll have the entire place to yourself. It's heaven.


  1. Looks wonderful. Slightly too far for me to travel alas!

  2. Also meant to say - I couldn't find you on - you might want to join.



  3. Thank you for checking in and offering the great tip. I've been so busy just trying to figure out my blog that I hadn't had time to explore those communities. A sincere thanks, Dawn.