If I tell you that Chicago has a tropical paradise, you wouldn’t believe me now, would you? Well, it’s true. At least, it’s kinda true – you can experience tropics right here in Chicago at the Lincoln Park Conservatory!
This place is pretty awesome. It’s got four spectacular rooms, three of which look like they are supplanted from the tropics. The Palm Room, Fern Room and the Orchid Room are as close to the real thing as it can get. Trust me on this one – I practically lived all my life 400kms away from the equator! The fourth room is where the Spring Flower Show is happening (on till May 13th 2012). Check out the Lincoln Park Conservatory Gallery for more photographs.
Now, the greenhouse itself is really cool. It was built in 1893, around the time of the World’s Exposition at Jackson Park, Chicago (more about that in later blogs, I promise). It was built as the “attraction” for fair-goers in the northern part of the city. Much of the original structure remains in use. The shutter-pulley mechanism to manipulate climatic conditions obviously has no use now but if you look carefully through the foliage, you can still see it. My tour guide Eric also taught me something new – the Vanilla flower is an Orchid! The reason why pure Vanilla is so expensive is because outside of its native Mexico, Vanilla flowers have to be “hand-pollinated”. Thanks Eric!