The Chicago Park District owns more than 8,100 acres of green space, making it one of the largest municipal park managers in the nation. The Chicago Park District's 580 parks offer thousands of sports and physical activities as well as cultural and environmental programs for youth, adults, and seniors. The Chicago Park District is also responsible for 26 indoor pools, 51 outdoor pools, and 26 miles of lakefront including 23 swimming beaches plus one inland beach. From canoeing to batting cages to arts and crafts, there is never a shortage of activities to participate in Chicago's parks.
The Chicago Park District oversees the Garfield Park and Lincoln Park conservatories, two tropical paradises within the city that house thousands of rare and exotic plants. In addition, the Chicago Park District oversees 16 historic lagoons plus 10 bird and wildlife gardens. From rich pond life teeming with frogs, herons, and dragonflies, to shrubby areas where migratory birds stop to rest, to lush prairies filled with native grasses and wildflowers, the Park District offers many ways to explore nature in the city's parks.
Popular attractions that fall under the management of the Chicago Park District include the Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain, which is located in Grant Park. Proudly referred to as Chicago's front yard, Grant Park is among the city's loveliest and most prominent parks. Ten world-class museums are located on Chicago Park District property, three of them in Grant Park: the Art Institute, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Shedd Aquarium. More than 20 million people visit Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain annually, making it the second most visited park landmark in the U.S.