The last week of school is upon us! As we prepare to say goodbye for the summer and reflect on the year, we also wrapped up our Spring Investigation with a field trip to the Garfield Park Conservatory. The weather couldn't have been better for us. The sun was shining and upon arrival we enjoyed a snack on the grounds outside the conservatory.
There was so much to explore once we entered the conservatory. Using scavenger hunt cards, we explored and searched for plants from various climates. From desert succulents, to palms, and exotic botanical plants, each room was more intriguing than the next! The exhibits indoors evoked our various senses of smell, touch, and sight as we gently felt the various textured plants, and noticed their brightly colored leaves. We were surprised to see banana and pineapple plants as well! We couldn't believe that a flower petal from a banana flower was bigger than our heads!
A favorite attraction was watching the large koi swim in the "Persian Pool" lagoon. The children curiously watched these large fish swimming near the waters' edge looking for some food. Many children noticed the patterned stripes and distinguished coloration of these fish, in addition to their "very large mouths!"
Outside of the Children's Garden, we were fortunate enough to meet the resident beekeeper who was preparing the hives for a training presentation. He spoke to us about the many bees buzzing around, assuring us that bees generally don't want to bother or harm us. To show us the intricate work that they do, the beekeeper brought a hive panel for us to see and touch. Some friends even got to taste the honey off of a fresh honeycomb!
Before we ended our fantastic morning, the children explored the Play and Grow Garden, an incredible nature play space. A tree stumps obstacle course, pebble pool, and wooden xylophone are just some of the many invitations for nature play in this space. Not to our surprise, inspired by the recent events of the morning, the PK children used the pebble pool as a beehive, making honey for the queen bee.
The conservatory is truly a gem, just outside the city. Free 365 days a year, we recommend adding it to your list of family outing locations! To read more about the Garfield Park Conservatory and their hours, click here.
Meg Fitzgerald is the lead teacher and Madeline Wadington is the Apprentice teacher in the PK classroom at Bennett Day School in Chicago, IL.