Discover and Draw: Garfield Park Conservatory - Atlas Obscura

Chicago, Illinois

Discover and Draw: Garfield Park Conservatory

A private tour of Chicago’s “landscape art under glass,” followed by a quick lesson in drawing plantlife.

Designed in 1905 by legendary landscape architect Jens Jensen, the 2-acre indoor facility of the Garfield Park Conservatory is amongst the nation's oldest and largest botanical treasures. From the ancient cycads and splashing waterfall of the Fern Room, to the striking variety of succulents and cacti in the Desert House, this enormous, haystack-shaped greenhouse will whisk you away from the harsh Chicago winter outside its doors.

Join Atlas Obscura for an afternoon at the Conservatory, beginning with a one-of-a-kind, hour-long tour of the Conservatory's exhibits, led by an expert docent. Afterward, Field Agent Patti Swanson will assist the group in a nature-sketching session, where you'll have a chance to browse the gardens on your own and practice your observational drawing skills!

Included with your ticket are some basic drawing supplies to get you started—but please feel free to bring your own! Please note: sales for this event end at 5 PM on Sunday, February 25th.


  • Early Bird Tickets are $35 before February 17.
  • Regular Tickets are $40 after February 18.

Additional Details

  • Meet Field Agent Patti Swanson just inside the front doors of the Conservatory 15 minutes before the event start time at 2 P.M. She'll be the one with the look of someone looking for someone.
  • Garfield Park Conservatory is quite warm, so be sure to dress in appropriate clothing.
  • This event is 18+.
  • Basic drawing supplies are included, but feel free to bring your own.
  • Garfield Park Conservatory is ADA accessible and there are wheelchairs available for free rental at the front desk. One room, the Fern Room, is not accessible by wheelchair due to the landmark status of the building.
  • This ticket is not refundable, but you can transfer it by following this handy Eventbrite tutorial.


Email Patti Swanson at

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Advance ticket sales only. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.