Lincoln Park Conservatory – “Sweet Gnome Chicago” & 2023 recap

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“Sweet Gnome Chicago” Spring Flower Show

Each year, the Lincoln Park Conservancy supports seasonal shows, visitor services, and daily needs at the Lincoln Park Conservatory. We are excited to not only financially support but to also provide fun programming for this year’s Spring Flower Show, “Sweet Gnome Chicago,” beginning February 14th. According the Chicago Park District, the show “combines flowers and fun to celebrate all that is Spring! Nearly 300 gnomes of many sizes and materials will hang out in all the display houses, with a particular focus on the Show House. There, vignettes of the whimsical creatures are set amongst vibrant and gorgeous spring flowering shrubs, perennials, annuals, and bulbs. Visitors can enjoy Foxy Foxtrot Tulips, Garden Party Lilies, Blueberry Thrill Violas, and hundreds of other blooming beauties.” Sweet Gnome Chicago runs through Mother’s Day (May 12). Book your reservation here.

In addition to the beautiful flowers and spring spirit, show visitors can enjoy interactive fun for all ages sponsored by the Conservancy. Options include a scavenger hunt, a gnome-naming activity, a #sweetgnomeselfe sweepstakes, and an April “after hours” event (date to be announced). Even more exciting, this year visitors can bring home a piece of the show by purchasing a handmade gnome used in the display. These one-of-a-kind pieces will bring fun and color to your home, garden, or balcony! Reserve your gnome here. Pick up will be first-come, first-serve at the Conservatory after the show closes on May 12th.

2023 Conservatory Recap

The 2024 spring show builds on the momentum of 2023, which was an eventful year at the Lincoln Park Conservatory. We had our largest crowds yet post-pandemic and welcomed visitors from all over the world. With the help of our fantastic docent volunteers, we presented many successful programs throughout the year including Conservatory Food Tours and after-hour holiday events that provided the opportunity for our community to experience the Conservatory after dark, as well as get to know some of the staff and other work we do for Lincoln Park.

The fun began with the Spring Flower Show, “Cooler by the Lake” which had thousands of snapdragons, azaleas, and hydrangea blooms as well as many other of flowering plants. The show also featured exhibits, including a model of the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse, that provided a peaceful feeling of being on Chicago’s beautiful lakefront.

Over the summer, while the Conservatory’s show house was full of many tropical plants, the Conservatory welcomed the exhibit “Earth, Water, Fire, Wind & Space” by Chicago-based artist William J. O’Brien. This two-part installation spanned the Palm and Show rooms and consisted of over 100 ceramic and paper mâché sculptures. Then, in late Fall, the Experimental Sound Studio presented “Florasonic: My Ideal is Windy,” a site-responsive sound installation to enhance the lush Fern Room. The work was the creative expression of 2023 Alba Artist-In-Residence Dorothy Carlos.

And finally, this past Winter saw the festive Flower Show, “Wintergreen.” Visitors enjoyed a giant green tree silhouette lit by thousands of bright green LED lights and beautiful poinsettias of gold, green and orange. These were also accompanied by salvias, violas and flowing lime ipomea and silver dichondra.

Throughout 2023, we also piloted a variety of successful events in the Conservatory, which were attended by over 600 people. We first partnered with Anna Romo, founder of Virtue Alchemy Candle Co., to hold a sound bathing and guided meditation last summer. Virtue Alchemy also worked with us in December for an After-Hours event with a “Walk by DIY” scent creation experience. In addition to our December event, we had spooky storytelling at a Halloween themed After-Hours show in October, and our sold-out yearly Winter Show Open House in November where the public got to meet our new Executive Director, Rafael Rosa.

In 2023 the Lincoln Park Conservatory had:

  • Over 146,000 visitors
  • Visitors from all 50 States plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico
  • People traveling from 87 different countries to visit us

Thank you to the volunteers, Conservatory staff, and the thousands of visitors who made 2023 a huge success. We look forward to the Spring Show and an all-around fantastic 2024 at the Lincoln Park Conservatory!

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