Natural areas are open from dawn to dusk daily. Paved paths follow park hours.
The Garfield Park Natural Area consists of around 18 acres of native habitats, including lagoon, wetland, prairie and savanna, located in the East Garfield Park Community.
Learn more about your local trees with this guide to the amazing variety of trees at Garfield Park. Scattered around the West Lagoon you will find 50 trees indicated with a round numbered tag. See also this interactive online map or pick up a printed paper guide at the Garfield Park Fieldhouse (Gold Dome).
A planning process began in 2020 to improve and expand native habitats around the Garfield Park lagoon. The project aims to add approximately five acres of habitat for native plants and animals, reduce the prevalence of invasive species, create a more engaging and immersive space to observe and learn about nature, improve site aesthetics with short-statured blooming flowers from spring to fall, and provide ecosystem benefits such as reduced water run-off, improved water quality, as well as benefit the mental and physical health of park visitors from being in and around nature.
Early 1900s: Lagoon is designed, constructed, and installed with native and ornamental plantings.
2019: Natural Areas community stewardship program begins at Garfield Park Natural Area.
Winter 2020: Natural Areas volunteers, Park Advisory Council, and Chicago Park District first meet to discuss the potential of an expansion area around the lagoon.
Winter-Summer 2021: CPD holds several virtual and on-site meetings with PAC and community members (see presentation) and modifies plan based on feedback.
Fall 2021 and beyond: Project begins, including invasive species removal, native plant installation, fishing station installation, and improved signage. Management of the new plantings will continue in future years.
Restoration of native habitat is a long-term process that requires ongoing maintenance such as mowing, controlling weeds, and prescribed burning. This area will look very different throughout the seasons and each year, so visit often to see the progress!