Illinois was home to the Tallgrass Prairie where it consisted of various beautiful plants, including tall grasses and wildflowers. It had its own sense of smell and sound when the wind passed through the land. However, when European settlers moved along the west, they could not bear to live with the biting insects, possible fires, and the lack of trees.
In 1837, John Deere came up with a steel-bladed plow where it had the capability to chop off the plants in seconds. Instead of having the 22 million acres of prairie, Illinois has now has the remaining 2,000 acres.
Despite the loss of one Illinois’ greatest feature, the Chicagoland area has put together unique gardens where everyone can have a taste of Mother Nature. The map below lists the top ten public gardens near the Chicago area as determined by Choose Chicago, an organization that drives to bring visitors to Chicago for a better economy.
List of the Top Ten Public Gardens near Chicago:
The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool takes people into another world just by the sight of the amazing waters and insects beautifully buzzing around it. This park was home to various lilies and plants, but it slowly began to lose its shape as years went by. However, by 2002 restoration of this site was completed and allowed visitors to feel the crisp air and enjoy with family and friends.
Home to one of the most well known attraction near Chicago, the Chicago Botanic Garden features 29 garden and natural areas, from the Japanese Garden to the Waterfall Garden. General admission is totally free for those who love to enjoy the diversity of plants and exhibits.
This conservatory in Chicago is known as “landscape under glass”. The unique architecture was created by Jens Jensen; it features a Desert Garden, and a Palm House which is home to 70 palm trees. If someone is planning on visiting the city, they must stop by to this beautiful area!
Right next to one of Chicago’s well-known landmark, the Buckingham Fountain, the Grant Park Rose Garden displays a rose bed with some of the most amazing colors. The wonderful breeze from Lake Michigan allows every visitor to enjoy the walkway and absorb pleasant scent from the vibrant flowers.
A similar architectural design to the Garfield Park Conservatory, the Lincoln Park Conservancy features a Victorian style glass house which consists of exotic plants from around the world. As a tribute to our 16th president, the garden also features a 12 foot bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln that was placed in 1887.
This beautiful piece of area is right next Chicago’s very own Millennium Park! After visiting the Cloud Gate and the Crown Fountain, the Lurie Garden will present various flowers and plants that will make one feel like they are in the countryside. This area is famously known as the “Urbs in Horto” or the City in a Garden.
The Lincoln Park Conservancy assists conserving a garden with a lovely pond, known as the North Pond Nature Sanctuary. This pond is home to a number of diverse plants and animals. In fact, there are over 150 plant species and more than 200 bird species. This place is mesmerizing for those who love to enjoy a combination of unique plants and animals.
The Garden of Phoenix located in Jackson Park features a garden called the Osaka Garden. The garden has a touch of Japanese culture that displays more than 120 Cherry Blossom Trees when in season. Fun fact: The Osaka Garden was actually a gift from Japan to Chicago as a symbol of friendship with the United States.
This nature museum is a wonderful place for kids to interact with nature around them, like the Animal House and the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven. The distinctive architectural design not only features a variety of plants and animals, but also provides a learning experience for kids who are mesmerized with the science of nature.
The Morton Arboretum is a breathtaking place where one gets to view the different trees and go on nature walks. Not only will it give a one-on-one connection with the beautiful land, but exciting activities are established for anyone who would like to participate, such as the newest 2018 activity, the Hunt for Trolls.