Conservatory & Gardens

A Victorian glass house
 

Location, Hours and Entry

Welcome to the Lincoln park Conservatory

Registration is required for entry.

Entry every 15 minutes from 10:00am to 4:15pm. There is no entry after 4:30pm. All guests must exit by 5:00pm. Please arrive at the START of your ticket time. Late arrivals may be denied entry.

 

We are free, but please make a reservation online in advance to ensure there is space available on the day and time you’d like to visit.  Walk-up reservations can be made if space is available. We typically sell-out on weekends.

Book your reservations for the Conservatory here:

Can’t find a reservation at the time you want? Please email us at LPCEvents@lincolnparkconservancy.org

Reservations will be open four (4) weeks in advance of the day of the event. If you are unable to get tickets now, check back, we’ll release more soon.

If you can no longer use your ticket, please cancel it so others can visit the Conservatory.

2391 N. Stockton Drive, Chicago, IL 60614

Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – last entry at 4:15 p.m. Doors Close at 5:00 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Visitor Information

We’re Excited To Welcome People To The Lincoln Park Conservatory!
 

Entry is free with a suggested donation.

Suggested Donation: $10 per adult and $5 per child

Your donations support the Conservatory by:

  • Helping to maintain the historic structure
  • Providing support for the seasonal shows
  • Supporting our visitor services staff
  • Training and supporting the amazing docents who provide tours and programs for visitors

The Lincoln Park Conservatory is partially ADA accessible, and visitors should be aware that there are steps up and down when entering and exiting the Fern Room.

Special Events

Florasonic - In Relation to [Ferns]
 

The Spring Flower show opens on Wednesday, February 14th  and runs through Sunday, May 12th, 2024.

Florasonic – In Relation to [Ferns] opened on Sunday, May 19 and it runs through Sunday, July 28, 2024

“This collaborative sound installation arose from the graduate seminar “Sound, Performance, and Land” at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, co-taught by Visiting Professor Raven Chacon and Whitney Johnson. After visiting the Lincoln Park Conservatory, reading texts engaged with indigenous sound practice, and conceptualizing the land we inhabit, four teams of artists produced multichannel works in sound and performance. In conjunction with this installation, the collective is releasing the LP In Relation to [Ferns] with sound, images, and language exploring the botanical archive, decolonizing human-organic interaction, and futuring our embodied presence with this land.”

Florasonic – In Relation to [Ferns] is free with your reservation to the Lincoln Park Conservatory.

For more info about this and other events, please visit our Events Calendar.

Fern house pic

Planning Events at the conservatory

Photography Permits are required for any posed non-commercial or commercial photography/videography at the at the Lincoln Park Conservatory taken by professional or amateur photographers. Examples of non-commercial photography include weddings, engagement, maternity, family, or individual portraits.

Permits for events and photography inside the Lincoln Park Conservatory are available through the Chicago Park District.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the Conservatory can be found here: FAQ

A Victorian Glass House

Visit the Lincoln Park Conservatory and step into beauty and tranquility. Feel the clean, oxygen-rich air. Smell the fragrant tropical flowers. See ancient ferns and towering palms. Experience the charm of a Victorian Era glass house. Built between 1890 and 1895, the historic Lincoln Park Conservatory displays lush, exotic plants from around the world in four display houses – The Palm House, Orchid House, Fern Room, and Show House. Venture outside to visit the Formal Garden, Bates Fountain, the Von Schiller Monument, the Old English-style Grandmother’s Garden, and the Shakespeare Monument.

The Conservancy has a long history of working to enhance the historic Lincoln Park Conservatory, a 19th century glasshouse displaying a rich global plant collection. The Conservancy developed and continues to manage the volunteer docent program, training volunteers to provide visitor interactions that connect people to the building and its history. Through the support donations collected at the Conservatory, we help fund the curation of special and seasonal exhibits there including the spring flower show and winter poinsettia show. During the pandemic, we established the Visitor Services Program at the Conservatory, which we fund and staff to support operations and public safety at the site. The VSA Program enabled the Park District to reopen the site during the pandemic and was so successful that it remains today. In 2022, 82,000 visitors enjoyed the Conservancy coming from all 50 states, over 60 countries and every neighborhood in Chicago, with Chicagoans making up just under 50% of all visitors. Finally, the Conservancy is partnering with the Chicago Park District and Chicago Parks Foundation to fundraise and implement a multi-year plan to refurbish the iron and glass structure of the Conservatory, which is in dire need of restoration, modernization and improved accessibility.  

Gardens & Collections

Step inside and be transported to another place and time where you will find tropical palms and ancient ferns, right in the heart of Lincoln Park. Constructed in stages between 1890 and 1895, the Conservatory was designed both to showcase exotic plants and to grow the thousands of flowers needed for use in the parks.

Lincoln Park Conservatory was designed by a well known architect of the Victorian era, Joseph Silsbee. He built the Conservatory during an era of great fascination with nature. Studying and classifying plants, animals and insects were common hobbies at that time. People were becoming concerned about the effects of industrialization, and conservatories provided “tropical paradises” within cities.

Today the Conservatory continues to provide a haven in the city. No matter the time of year, Lincoln Park Conservatory is always green and lush. Come take a stroll and let yourself be transported away.

Palm House

The Palm House has more than two dozen different types of palms. Some of the more unusual ones are the Dwarf Sugar, Bottle, Fili Fan, and Everglades palms. You may recognize the pygmy date palm and the coconut palm because of their popular fruits. In addtion to the palms, the room contains many food plants, including bananas, oranges, papaya, coffee and cacao(chocolate).

Orchid House

Orchids are the largest and most diverse family of plants. The Orchid House has hundreds of orchids, as well as bromeliads. Notice how these epiphytes grow soil-free. They get their water from the humidity in the air. The room also holds a number of tropical carnivorous plants.

Fern Room

Look for cycads in the Fern Room. Cycads are among the most ancient group of plants, with fossil records dating back at least 250 million years. They are sometimes confused with palms or ferns, but they are a unique plant group that is more closely related to conifers and the gingko tree.

Showhouse

Showcasing our annual flower shows and special exhibits.

Restoration & Maintenance

Visit the Lincoln Park Conservatory and step into beauty and tranquility. Feel the clean, oxygen-rich air. Smell the fragrant tropical flowers. See ancient ferns and towering palms. Experience the charm of a Victorian Era glass house. Built between 1890 and 1895, the historic Lincoln Park Conservatory displays lush, exotic plants from around the world in four display houses – The Palm House, Orchid House, Fern Room, and Show House. Venture outside to visit the Formal Garden, Bates Fountain, the Von Schiller Monument, the Old English-style Grandmother’s Garden, and the Shakespeare Monument.

Details

Joseph Silsbee designed all the exhibit houses while M.E. Bell assisted Silsbee and designed the greenhouses and horse stables. The conservatory was built in stages. The Palm House was the first to open to the public in 1892. The other exhibit houses (Fern, Orchid, Show) were completed between 1892 and 1895.

In the 1890s, Grandmother’s Garden was added across the street from the Formal Garden between what is now Stockton Drive and Lincoln Park West. In 1893, the William Shakespeare monument was added as a centerpiece to this Old English-style perennial garden.

In 1955 the conservatory’s beautiful glass entry was replaced with a stone foyer to provide public restrooms for the facility and surrounding area.

Despite changes, both large and small, that occurred over the decades, the conservatory still maintains its historic charm and essence.

Restoration Status

Master Plan completed by the Lincoln Park Conservancy.

Owned & Managed By

The Chicago Park District

Programmed by

The Lincoln Park Conservancy

Original Landscape Architects

Joseph Lyman Silsbee & M.E. Bell

The History

In 1874, Lincoln Park hired its first gardener and built what would be the conservatory’s first greenhouse. Thirteen years later, in 1887, the Formal Garden was added along with four additional greenhouses that support the garden. After, the Eli Bates Fountain and the Von Schiller Monument were added with the garden.


The Lincoln Park Commission constructed the Lincoln Park Conservatory in phases between 1890 and 1895, replacing the small greenhouse from the 1870s. Nationally renowned architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee designed the Conservatory in collaboration with architect M.E. Bell. During the early nineteenth century developments in iron and glass building technology led to the construction of conservatories in cities throughout Europe and the United States.


Later in the century, as people were increasingly concerned about the ill effects of industrialization, they became fascinated with nature and interested in collecting and classifying plants. Large conservatories with display and exhibit rooms gained popularity, and Lincoln Park’s small greenhouse no longer seemed sufficient. Architects Silsbee and Bell were commissioned to design a much more substantial building. Rendered in the Victorian style, the new structure included palm, fernery, orchid, and show houses. A “paradise under glass,” the Conservatory supported “a luxuriant tropical growth, blending the whole into a natural grouping of Nature’s loveliest forms.”

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