Garfield Park Conservatory Offers Tropical Paradise In The Middle Of Winter

Bernie Tafoya
January 31, 2019 - 9:11 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- You may not want to venture outside Thursday, but for non-Polar Vortex days, there is a place in Chicago where winter seems to be a distant thought.

That place is the Garfield Park Conservatory at 300 North Central Park Avenue where the temperature Thursday was about 70 degrees.

Mary Eysenbach, director of conservatories for the Chicago Park District, said the first room you walk into is the Palm House that has 70 different kinds of palm trees.

"They come from all over. We have palms from South America, from Africa, from the South Pacific," she said.

Eysenbach said visitors, basically are "going to be walking into a tropical paradise…without getting on a plane."

She said the conservatory is "unfortunately" known as a hidden jewel and she adds that, "we prefer not to be hidden."

"People are very surprised that it’s here," Eysenbach said. "I think they are amazed by scale of the place. We are more than two acres under glass. We are one of the largest conservatories in the United States."

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

The roof is 65-feet high.

UIC student David Jimenez noticed the tropical nature of the place as soon as he walked into the Palm House.

"My glasses fogged up right on entering this specific room," he said.

Health experts warn people to stay inside, if they can, on days like Thursday when the warmest temperatures will still be well below zero.  Director of Conservatories Mary Eysenbach agrees and said that, while you may not want to venture out during this Polar Vortex, "absolutely make it here this winter. You will not be sorry."