Happy St. Paddy’s Day! It’s a day for green, and so, I’m sharing a bit of green with you. But kind of in a totally-different-than-expected way.
I can’t believe winter is almost done and over with. Chicago temps are back up in the 40s and 50s. The snow is gone, the river has melted and we’ve even been teased with a few 70-degree days. This winter was as mild as it was predicted to be and — after a few really harsh winters — I definitely do not hate it.
But, even though the snow has disappeared and the ice has melted, the Midwest is still looking pretty… brown.
I had booked a vacation flight to Phoenix during the last weekend of February, but then it snowed and O’Hare canceled all of its flights. Long story short, I took the L to O’Hare, found out about the cancellation, rescheduled for a standby flight the next day, went home, went back to O’Hare the next day, had a three-hour delay waiting by the gate for the standby flight and then went back home after the standby flight was overbooked. My entire trip was canceled and (after 30 hours of packing, repacking and airport back-and-forth) I was so upset. I was really looking forward to surrounding myself with warmth and green!
So, a trip to the warm, humid and bright Lincoln Park Conservatory was a much-needed dose of spring in a dreary brown Chicago.
Mando and I picked Monday morning to spend at the conservatory. It’s a completely free botanical garden open to the general public. It’s right next to the Lincoln Park Zoo (also free!) and is open year-round.
There are four parts to the conservatory: the palm house, the show room, the fern room and the orchid house. The orchid house smelled absolutely amazing, but the fern room was my favorite. When you enter, there’s a sign telling you a dinosaur would feel at home among the plants in the room. After a little wandering, you pass a waterfall and can start picking out all the little dinosaur figurines hidden in the foliage. I loved it.
There are some outdoor portions of the conservatory open during the summer, too.
I really liked the small glass case of carnivorous plants at the conservatory, but I wish it would have been a little bigger! There were ponds of goldfish and koi fish throughout the building, and separate fountains to toss coins into so the fish would stay safe.
I loved people watching, too. My favorite sight? Catching a man take a seat on a bench and start reading a copy of the New York Times in the palm room. I was definitely tempted to grab a book and spend the day there. It was so bright, sunny, green and cheerful! Leaving to go to work was kind of difficult.
What’s your favorite nature-inspired activity during the late winter or early spring? Let me know in the comments!
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Photos by Armando Sanchez.
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