Oak Park Conservatory and Conservatory Center
Owned by the Park District of Oak Park, the conservatory is one of the village's most visited sites.
The conservatory's historical roots stretch back to 1914, when residents who'd traveled around the world came back to Oak Park and needed a place to store the exotic plants they'd collected.
But the facility fell into disrepair over the decades and was on the brink of demolition until a citizen's group rallied to revamp it in the 1970's.
Today, the conservatory grows and cares for about 20,000 plants, many of which get planted throughout Oak Park's public parks and other sites throughout the village.
The conservatory contains three different rooms — the Fern Room, the Rainforest Room and the Desert Room — each with its own unique ecosystem.
Note: In the summer of 2010, only the Fern Room is open, as the other two display houses are undergoing renovations.
The facility is open for individual and group tours. A $2 donation per visitor is suggested.
The park district, in conjunction with the Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory citizen's group, offers a number of volunteer opportunities, as well as special programs like summer nature camps and home gardening workshops.
Today, park district officials say the facility draws up to 30,000 visitors each year.
Tours guided by a docent can be arranged by calling the conservatory two weeks in advance. The staff also makes an audio tour of the facility available by CD.
- Fax: 708-386-3221
- Hours: General hours: Mon, 2pm - 4pm; Tue - Sun, 10am - 4pmMonday. Walk-In plant clinic hours: Mon, 2pm - 4pm
- What makes this community special?: With a history as rich as the vegetation planted here, the Oak Park Conservatory is worth the visit, whatever the season.
- Parking: On-street: free, On-street: metered
- Services: Tours
- Restrictions: No alcohol, No fires, No smoking
- Wi-Fi: None