OK, so this place is well known amongst the photography community in Chicago – especially wedding photogs. I have been wanting to visit for quite some time, but since it’s pretty far from our house we just never made it there. One day in the spring when there was nothing to do on a weekend, I convinced Matt to venture out and explore this place and let me tell you…I am not sad about it.
There are a few reasons why this place is amazing.
1. It’s free to the public.
Yes, free. You are asked the make a donation at the door to support the conservatory and the upkeep, but how much or whether or not you actually donate is up to you.
2. It is HUGE.
Much much bigger than I ever imagined it would be. We walked around here for a good hour or two before we ran out of things to see. There’s even a small pond, a waterfall, fish, and turtles.
3. It’s great for kids.
There is a room at the conservatory that is devoted to kids specifically that has a slide along with a seek and find game which Augie loved. Matt was afraid that he would be bored, but he was probably the one who enjoyed this place the most! There is so much to explore.
4. You can escape the winter.
Um…this is super important in Chicagoland. There’s not many spaces with green leaves and the smells of summer for 4 or 5 months here and it can get extremely depressing. In this conservatory, you could swear it was springtime, even when there’s snow on the ground outside.
5. It’s extremely beautiful.
I mean, the amount of greenery and the design and layout of this place is unreal. It’s a masterpiece.
6. It’s historic.
You can read all about it’s history when you visit. Super super cool that it’s been around for such a long time.
7. You can visit different places.
So many different rooms! The kids loved exploring different “places” each time we opened a door to a new room. Ari learned a hard lesson in the desert room, however when she grabbed one of the cacti with her whole hand because she thought it would be fuzzy before we could stop her. Needless to say, we spent part of our day picking little spikes out of her hands.
Anyhow, you should just look at the photos and decide for yourself. If you’re a photographer looking to do a shoot here, you can, but the permit fees are a little high…so you have to have the right client! But, still a great place to visit regardless and take your own photos!