Especially in Chicago, Mother Nature is serious about winter. There are times when we get sick of the snow or the harsh low temperatures. But what if there is a way to pretend it’s summer already without getting out of town?
We shared a few of our favorite spots in the city and suburbs to make you feel like you’re in a tropical paradise. Instead of hibernating, check out these favorite places to warm up and keep your kids busy.
Visit the desert and the tropics at Garfield Park Conservatory
Whether you’re craving a tropical rainforest or an arid desert landscape, you can find both at Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest conservatories in the nation. Kids will love to explore the Palm House and Desert House to find plants that thrive in warmer climates.
Surround yourself with butterflies at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Summer never ends inside the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, which is why some consider it the warmest spot in Chicago. Watch hundreds of brightly-colored butterflies flit about their toasty habitat. Time your visit to see the first flight butterfly release that takes place daily at 2 p.m.
Go bananas at Tropic World at Brookfield Zoo
Once you’re inside, you’re transported to a warm climate where primates from three continents – South America, Africa and Asia – live. It’s a nice change of pace to have the Western lowland gorillas take your breath away instead of the cold.
Surf’s up at the Wild Reef at Shedd Aquarium
The Wild Reef exhibit at the Shedd recreates a coral reef in the Philippines, which is an opportunity not only to learn about aquatic life but also to forget all about the snow and wind chill. The sharks, stingrays and live coral call this reef home.
Fall in love with orchids at Chicago Botanic Garden
Every year, Chicago Botanic Garden hosts an Orchid Show to have guests see thousands of orchids and other tropical plants. You’ll love to see so much beauty during a cold winter day. Catch the show now through March 27.
Pretend you’re in Cali at Summer House Santa Monica
The atrium, greenery and overall bright atmosphere at this Lincoln Park restaurant will make you forget it’s cold out. What’s even better is that it offers a kids menu with classics like grilled cheese and chicken fingers with a side of fresh fruit.
Find a garden rooftop oasis at Harold Washington Library Center
Harold Washington Library Center is already worth the visit with its Thomas Hughes Children’s Library and YOUmedia center for teens. But, you can’t miss spending time at the Winter Garden on the ninth floor offering a peaceful spot in the Loop.
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