Parks & Zoos

Garfield Park Conservatory
Stroll through splendid Victorian glass rooms of lush tropical palms, spiny cacti, turtle-filled ponds, and a children's garden with a slide that winds through the trees. The Sweet House is filled with chocolate, sugar cane, figs and other plants that are the ingredients of a confectioner's dream.

Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain
Host to many of the city's outdoor events, Grant Park is also home to two of Chicago's greatest treasures - Buckingham Fountain and The Art Institute of Chicago. The exquisite fountain (located between Columbus and Lake Shore Drives east of Congress Plaza) which has pink-marble seashells, water-spouting fish, and bronze sculptures of sea horses was patterned after a fountain at Versailles (but is twice the size of its model.)

Lincoln Park Conservatory
Rare orchids reside near rooms filled with palms, ferns and special holiday displays of Easter Lilies or Chrysanthemums. The peaceful and lush greenery of this 1892 urban conservatory is a welcome contrast to the hurried pace of life outside its doors.

Lincoln Park Zoo
Begun in 1868 with a pair of swans donated by New York's Central Park, Lincoln Park Zoo grew through donations of animals from wealthy Chicago residents and the purchase of a collection from the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Today, visitors can face off with a lion (separated by a window outside the Lion House) watch 24 gorillas "ape" their reactions to the crowd or watch some rare and endangered species such as the spectacle bear or the Australian koala.

Brookfield Zoo
Feeding time must be a really coordinated effort for a zoo with nearly 3,000 animals. Where do you start? Well, maybe the Tropic World - a simulated tropical rain forest with monkeys, otters, birds and other rain-forest inhabitants that move about in a carefully constructed habitat of trees, shrubs, pools and waterfalls. Test your flying strength in the Be a Bird House by flapping your "wings" on a machine that decides what kind of bird you would be based on how you flap.

Millennium Park
Gaze into the Bean - a luminous polished-steel sculpture - as it plays tricks with the reflection of Chicago's skyline. The Park is also home to Jay Priztker Pavilion, where an incredible audio system allows audiences to enjoy concert-hall sound in the great outdoors.

Ravinia Park
Watch the stars and listen to music at this outdoor venue. The Ravinia Festival is the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Come for jazz, chamber music, pop and dance performances. Sit on the lawn or reserve a seat in the pavilion.

Chicago Botanic Garden
Among the 23 inspiring and distinctly different gardens are a three-island Japanese garden, a waterfall garden, a sensory garden and a 4-acre fruit and vegetable garden. Three immense greenhouses showcase a desert, a rain forest and a formal garden where flowers bloom all through the winter.

Shedd Aquarium
The John G. Shedd Aquarium is an indoor public aquarium with over 25,000 fish and 5 million gallons of water. It has received an award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for best exhibit. 

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2233 South Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 60616-9985

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