In Search of the Garden of the Phoenix

We have lived in Hyde Park a long, long time. But Liz and I are both homebodies, and the pandemic did little to encourage us to go out and about more.

One thing we haven’t done much of is visit nearby Jackson Park, located just south of the Museum of Science and Industry. For Liz, she’s been wanting to visit the Japanese garden in the park for a long while now. And after work, we decided that today would be the day.

We actually had some difficulty finding a good way to get to the island. We parked in a lot just East of the museum, but encountered signs saying that the bridge to the island was closed off. We wandered around unsuccessfully for a while, and ended up doing a big circle, driving down Lake Shore around the East side of the park.

There’s a ton of construction in the area, due to the Obama Center. So we ended up parking along Stony Island near 57th… and just hoofed it over to the park.

Along the way, spotted the side of the museum. And was reminded of a photoshoot we did, back in 2017, for one of Liz’s sewing projects.

After a brief walk, success! We found the bridge over to the island.

The entrance to the garden.

Walking along the path.

On entering, it was incredibly gorgeous.


A small support column, making a kind of natural archway.

Lantern and geese.

A closeup of the waterfall.

Walking around the South side of the garden.

There were maybe three other couples in the park, as well as a family of three, walking around.

On the other side of the waterfall. Was tempted to walk over, but encountered these street toughs and decided to avoid any trouble.

There’s a large building in the center of the island, which seems like it would make for some very lovely and intimate performances.

Looking over the water, a distant bridge.

Liz let me know there were koi in the water, and we spotted several. There were some barriers that allowed them to roam, but prevented them from traveling beyond the island’s border.

Looking back near where we came in.

Something I discovered: the garden has a website. And more than that, it has an incredibly rich and storied history that spans over 130 years. The timeline on the website is incredible, and well worth checking out.

We trekked a bit, further south of the island. Came across this guy, a literal king of the hill, just hanging out. In the background: a sculpture entitled Sky Landing, by Yoko Ono.

We walked around a bit, on the way back to the car… and got to a nice spot where we could catch a glimpse of MSI from a distance.

I made the same joke to Liz a few times, whenever we’d catch a good view of the museum: “Gee, I sure wish I could have stayed at that hotel.”

Month at the Museum: Science Experiment Reveals Winner
Month at the Museum: Post-Contest Drinks at Villains
Last Day to Vote: Month at the Museum
A Random (and Wet) Walk Around Jackson Park
MSI Nearby: A Sudden Realization that the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry is Much Closer to Our House Than We Suspected

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