The Elsie Jacobsen Discovery Garden, called the Discovery Garden, is an opportunity for people of all ages to observe, touch and interact with plants and natural materials through self-guided activities and facilitated programs.

The Discovery Garden was opened in September 2012. The Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory (FOPCON) raised the funds to reach the fundraising goal of $200,000 for the Elsie Jacobsen Discovery Garden project. We are proud of this success!

Today, people of all ages enjoy this outdoor garden located on the east side of the Conservatory. The Discovery Garden is an example of an Illinois ecosystem. Children especially enjoy the water pump that flows water the length of the garden from north to south.

Open 7 days a week from 10 am to dusk.
Enter through the Conservatory when the Conservatory is open during Conservatory hours, Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am – 4  pm.
When the Conservatory is closed, enter through the Discovery Garden gate on the corner of Garfield and East Avenue, Mondays 10 am – dusk, Tuesday through Sunday 4 pm – dusk.

With heavy snow or very cold temperatures the Garden is closed to protect our plants inside the Conservatory.

Water Pump
The water pump is on in the Spring and the Summer. The pump is turned off from the end of October through March.

The Shed
We have a Shed with exploration tools. The Shed of play tools is open when the Discovery Garden Exploration Time (DGET) program is in progress.  DGET runs June through August, Wednesdays from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm and Thursdays from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm.