A rich and colorful atmosphere await your family at the Oak Park Conservatory! This hidden oasis of the western suburbs is such a neat and uplifting place to visit with your kids… and it’s free. We enjoyed meandering down the the winding paths, taking in the citrus scents of the lemon trees, and being surrounded by warmth, nature and beautiful blooms on a cold day. After a peaceful walk though the conservatory, we ventured across the street to Rehm Park, which was voted one of the 10 Best Parks and Playgrounds in the Near Western Suburbs.
Oak Park Conservatory and Rehm Park
Explore three garden showrooms at the conservatory including a Mediterranean Room, Tropical Room and Desert Room — each with its own unique personality. There’s also a small tranquil waterfall, a koi pond, and an outdoor discovery garden.
Besides the beauty and vibrancy that await you along the paths, do not miss the very engaging talking parrots: George, Sarah and Skipper. My daughter loved the friendly greetings back and forth with George!
They also offer clipboards for the kids with a scavenger hunt, and binoculars, too.
Right across the street at Rehm Park, you’ll find a large assortment of playground equipment appropriate for both big and little kids, as well as a sizeable sandbox area. And, don’t miss the very cool hand-powered trains in the summer months, a spot where kids can propel themselves around the track of the park.
After your serene visit to the conservatory, you can pack a lunch/snacks to eat across the street at one of the picnic tables or benches at Rehm Park. After the kids run off some energy there, check out Hole In The Wall Ice Cream located around the corner at 901 1/2 S Oak Park Avenue (about a 5 minute walk) for some delicious soft serve custard or frozen yogurt! There’s also Oak Park Bakery, located at 904 S Oak Park Avenue, where you can pick up some of the tastiest cookies, pastries, breads and pies.
Make a stop to the bathrooms inside the conservatory (which are wheelchair accessible) before heading across the street to Rehm Park.
- Conservatory Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (Closed Mondays)
- Outdoor Discovery Garden Hours: Open 7 days a week 10:00 am – dusk. Enter through the main doors of the Conservatory Tuesday–Sunday 10:00am – 4:00pm. After the Conservatory is closed, enter through the Discovery Garden gate on the corner of Garfield and East Avenue (Mondays 10:00 am – dusk and Tuesday–Sunday 4:00pm – dusk).
Free, donations appreciated (suggested donation of $5/person).
A wonderful place to visit for kids of all ages. I started bringing my own kids there as toddlers, and now, as tweens, they still enjoy it! It’s relatively small and street parking is easy right out front, making for minimal walking for little ones.
Best Days/Times To Go
Weekends are slightly busier, but anytime is a perfect time to visit. It’s truly a year-round retreat!
Special Needs Accommodations
Wheelchair accessible ramp to the entrance and bathrooms inside also accommodate special needs.
There are many wonderful events happening throughout the year at the conservatory. Check it out!
Toddler Exploration Time
The third Friday of the month | 2 sessions: 9:30 am – 10:15 am and 10:45 am – 11:30 am
March 16th: Buzz Bees Buzz, April 20th: Eggs, May 18th: Float and Sink. A special interactive free event (but be sure to register online in advance). Toddlers will explore the wonders of nature and enjoy guided activities on a different topic each month.
Saturdays, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm and Sundays, 1:30 – 3:30pm
March: Buzz Bees Buzz, April: Chocolate, May: Plants We Wear. A free drop-in event that does not require registration. Your child will participate in hands-on activities based on interesting topics each month.
Teens might enjoy volunteering on the weekends at the conservatory giving tours, helping out with children in the discovery garden or exploration station, or inside the gift shop. Contact their Volunteer Coordinator for more details and information at email@example.com.
Oak Park Conservatory
615 Garfield Street
Oak Park, IL 60304
Rehm Park is located directly across the street (515 Garfield Street).
Check out our 10 best parks and playgrounds list for even more amazing parks to visit in the western suburbs!