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Nothing compares to the unsurpassed beauty and distinctive charm of Chicago's North Shore. Bordering Chicago, along the glorious shores of Lake Michigan, visitors marvel at the region's utter magnificence. From exquisite public gardens and historic landmarks to stately mansions along Sheridan Road, Chicago's North Shore is truly a sight to be seen.
Skokie to Start!
North Shore Sculpture Park, Skokie
The spectacular Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park is truly a unique facility, combining recreational features with an outstanding exhibition of large scale contemporary sculpture. The park, which is open to the public free of charge, is located just outside the metropolitan Chicago area in a beautifully landscaped, easily accessible setting. Visitors are welcome to walk, bike or jog along the 2 mile pathway, which displays 72 large-scale contemporary sculptures created by local, national and international artists.
Welcome to the Emily Oaks Nature Center 4650 Brummel Street, Skokie
Nature is truly appreciated at this thirteen-acre savanna and center which includes an oasis full of native wildflowers, grasses, oak trees, a three-acre pond and hiking trails. Some of the plants and animals that frequent the pond or have been sighted in the savanna include Great Blue Herons, Coyotes, Flying Squirrels, Northern Water Snakes, Red Foxes and Cooper's Hawks. Emily Oaks is home to all kinds of urban wildlife and is a great place to observe migrating songbirds. Emily Oaks Nature Center provides programs in earth education and outdoor recreation for children, adults, scouts and family groups. Entertaining nature activities are offered year-round.
Next Stop, Evanston!
Shakespeare Garden, 2121 Sheridan Road, Evanston
This intimate, meditative garden is nestled between Northwestern University's "Tech" building and a tiny church garden. Planted over 80 years ago, the Shakespeare Garden features herbs, flowers and plants that were mentioned in Shakespeare's plays! Visitors to the garden will find eight large flowerbeds surrounding a central focal point and scarlet hawthorns that look like they are standing guard, giving the area a maze-like quality fascinating to all ages. Stone benches draw people to a shady resting place, where a small fountain soothes and refreshes. Master landscape artist Jens Jensen, designed the Shakespeare Garden, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Merrick Rose Garden, Corner of Lake Avenue and Oak Street, Evanston
Located steps from downtown Evanston, the Merrick Rose Garden is home to nearly 1800 roses with over 80 varieties! This magnificent garden is opent to the public, FREE of charge, and is particularly beautiful in the spring time and early fall. The garden features a replica of the 1876 Centennial Fountain, which graced downtown Evanston for many years. The Merrick Rose Garden is a very popular location for small weddings, special occasions and photographs.
Ladd Arboretum and Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Boulevard, Evanston
The Ladd Arboretum stretches along a three-quarter mile segment on a narrow, 23-acre strip of reclaimed land and houses a bird sanctuary, bicycle paths, and gardens native to Illinois. In 1959, the very first tree, a ginkgo, was planted in memory of Edward Rixon Ladd (1883-1956). Mr. Ladd was a highly respected founder, publisher and editor of the Evanston Review. On June 10, 1960, after many other trees were planted, the Arboretum was formally dedicated as an enduring place of peace, beauty and education. The ecology center was built in 1974 as the educational nucleus of the Ladd Arboretum and strives to foster a greater appreciation, awareness and knowledge of the natural environment. Programs, classes and services are offered year round. .
On to Wilmette!
Baha'i House of Worship, 100 Linden Avenue, Wilmette
Sheridan Road winds into Wilmette from Evanston, the gleaming, nearly 200-foot high dome of the Baha'i House of Worship comes into full view. Over 30 years of construction have resulted in this striking landmark, which overlooks Lake Michigan and is one of the most visited sites on all of Chicago's North Shore. Surrounded by nine formal gardens and fountains, it is one of seven Baha'i temples in the world, and the only one in the Western Hemisphere. The dome's latticework is even more beautiful as you gaze upward from the floor of the sanctuary, which, during the day, is flooded with light. Downstairs, there is a visitor center with displays that explain the Baha'i faith. Temple members offer informal tours of the building and exhibits to anyone who inquires and they are free of charge. The Baha'i temple was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
Glencoe's Gardens Galore!
Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
The Chicago Botanic Garden is 385 acres of breathtaking natural beauty, featuring 23 specialty gardens spaciously set on nine lakes. The Garden offers a wide range of educational programs for children and adults, a research program, facility rentals, horticultural therapy, and various tram toursDining options include The Garden Cafe and, in the summer, enjoy the Evening Grille and several snack carts located throughout the garden. There's also a library, a school and a plant information desk. Admission is free.
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