School Tours and Kits

School Tours

Tours of the Oak Park Conservatory, a historic landmark owned and operated by the Park District of Oak Park and built in 1929, are offered to adults and school children.  Tours of the Conservatory are led by trained docents who are Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory volunteers. The tours last from 45 minutes to an hour.

Our tours feature 4 distinct ecosystems at the Conservatory. You will visit the Mediterranean, Tropical and Desert rooms. And weather permitting, the tour goes outdoors to visit our Illinois ecosystem in the Elsie Jacobsen Discovery Garden.

Visitors learn about unusual flowering and fruiting plants such as the chocolate tree, the prickly pear cactus and the Ponderosa lemon. The Conservatory plants illustrate how the life cycle of flowering plants includes fruits, seeds and seedlings. Live animals, including George the parrot, koi, turtles and a resident frog, enliven the pond and waterfall in the Tropical Room.

Tours are free for school groups from District 97 and $2 per student for all others. Tours must be scheduled several weeks in advance and are subject to docent availability.

Setup School Tours Now

Docent led school tours of the Conservatory, about an hour in length, are offered Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays September – May. To schedule a tour, click on the link below.

For additional Tour Information, contact or phone 708-725-2460

Thank you for your interest in the Oak Park Conservatory! We will send your tour confirmation shortly.

Exploration Kits

Students spray water on an anthurium leaf and watch it drip off the tip.

The Exploration Kits package real plant materials and hands-on activities from Exploration Station topics in portable form.

Two Kits were loaned to Irving School in a pilot program this spring. The  topics — Leaf Shapes for Wet & Dry Places, and Traveling Seeds—complemented what students were learning about plants in the classroom.

Plans are underway to extend the program next year to more Oak Park schools.

Click here to see an article about Irving school’s experience with the Exploration Kits:

Please call this fall for information:  708-725-2460.

Students drop seeds into water to see which will float.

Finding out how tiny tickseed hooks stick to the fur of a stuffed puppy.

A teacher holds a container of milkweed seeds for a student to blow into and see what happens.


Posters give students an overview of the different ways seeds travel.