Urban dwelling is a great way to experience the history and culture of your fellow human beings, but it can sometimes leave you yearning for a more pastoral existence. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get back to basics and embrace the beauty of nature without ever leaving the city. Some cities lend themselves to outdoor adventure more than others, and Chicago is one such city. Explore the Windy City and embrace the outdoors in all its glory with these wonderful ways to experience nature in Chicago.
From massive giraffes to minuscule bats, embrace all of earth’s creatures at the Lincoln Park Zoo. This zoo is completely free and open to the public, spans roughly 35 acres, and is home to animals from all over the world. The Lincoln Park Zoo is also accredited by the Associated of Zoos and Aquariums, meaning that it is certified to provide the highest standards of care to their animals. In fact, they actively engage in wildlife conservation efforts around the world and their local community. Here you can come face to face with your favorite furry friends. Exhibits at the Lincoln Park Zoo are designed to replicate the natural habitat of each animal and provide a truly immersive experience as you stroll through the grounds. The Farm-In-The-Zoo and the Lincoln Park Conservatory also adjoin the zoo, so you can get your fill of both flowers and farm animals.
Take your trip below sea level with a visit to the Shedd Aquarium. The Shedd Aquarium is also accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and houses a wide variety of aquatic animals from around the world. The Caribbean Reef exhibit allows you to view the ocean’s most colorful residents. On the other hand, the At Home on the Great Lakes exhibit brings things a bit closer to home and introduces you to some of Lake Michigan’s most illustrious residents. The Shedd Aquarium also houses the Abbott Oceanarium—a large theatre that produces daily wildlife shows which express the importance of wildlife conservation and the harmful effect pollution can have on our oceans. For more information or to browse Shedd Aquarium deals, click here.
One of the best ways to experience nature in Chicago is to stop by the Garfield Park Conservatory and simply let nature speak for itself. The Garfield Park Conservatory spans four and a half acres and consists of nine indoor gardens and five outdoor gardens. Each indoor garden replicates a specific climate, with the Desert House touting a curious array of cacti and the Palm House transporting you to a tropical paradise. The outdoor Sensory Garden features a variety of seasonal flowers and gives way to a relaxing labyrinth. Further, the Grow and Play outdoor garden provide children and adults the perfect opportunity to experiment with pebbles, plants, and mud pies.