On Monday morning, I woke up with no plans for the day. So I asked The Boy what he wanted to do. He said that he wanted to go to the place with the cacti. I translated that to mean the Garfield Park Conservatory. So I packed a picnic lunch and The Baby, The Boy and The Girl into the car, and off to Central Park between Franklin and Lake Streets we went.
Obviously, I didn't think it through very well. It was hot and humid outside, and even more humid inside the conservatory. The conservatory currently has a special exhibit, Niki in the Garden, featuring the mosaic sculptures of Niki de Saint Phalle. Due to Niki, the suggested donation is now $5 instead of $1 (although I never donate and feel justified in this as a city resident and taxpayer). I think the exhibit has improved attendance at the conservatory; it was pretty crowded when we were there, which I think is unusual for a weekday.
The easiest route to the Children's Room was blocked off due to renovations in one of the rooms, so we took the roundabout way to the Children's Room, stopping off for a tour around the Fern Room, which was beautiful, but extremely humid, especially with a little heatbox (The Baby) strapped to my chest. We did make it to the Children's Room, where The Boy and The Girl did a little project with Morning Glories, the Garfield Park Conservatory's Monday morning program for preschoolers (I did contribute the suggested donation for these). Then, since I was dripping in sweat, we wandered down to the events hall, which was cooler and open to the outdoors with a nice breeze, and had lunch on one of the tables just across from the Moroccan fountain.
After lunch, we wandered out to Monet's Garden and then found another couple of kids, Aidan and Elise, and their nanny underneath a large tree beyond the garden. The Boy and The Girl played with Aidan and Elise for about an hour, and then we all walked out to the parking lot together.
Streets & Sanitation was repainting the crosswalk lines on Franklin as we left, so I drove straight up Central Park instead. Garfield Park is pretty blighted, which is a shame because the facades of the houses are gorgeous. I love the wide boulevard-type streets. And there is so much space. It doesn't seem dangerous so much as empty. I mused about the area on the whole drive back. But then I watched the 10 o'clock news and was instantly reminded why I don't want to buy a place in Garfield Park, gorgeous as they are. (The story originally reported the incident as having taken place in Humboldt Park.)