Jackson Park stretches over 550 acres in the Woodlawn community on Chicago’s South Side. You know the park for its iconic Statue of The Republic, erected in 1893 when the park was created to host the World’s Columbian Exposition for the Chicago World’s Fair. Today, the park offers woodland trails, a beach, golf course, boat harbor, and many playing fields. It’s also a great place to look for wildlife, home to more than two dozen bird species.
Jackson Park Features
In 1890, Chicago won the honor to host the World’s Columbian Exposition. Jackson Park was selected as the site, and famed Chicago architect Daniel H. Burham laid out the fairgrounds. Today, you can still enjoy the “Golden Lady” sculpture erected for the fair. It is a smaller version of Daniel Cheter French’s Statue of the Republic.
Today, the park is home to a gymnasium, several multi-purpose rooms, and a fitness center. One of the park’s crown jewels is Wooded Island. This is home to Bobolink Meadows, a Japanese styled Osaka Garden, as well as a vegetable and flower garden.
There is also a ton of recreation available at the park. There are an array of multi-purpose fields, basketball and tennis courts, and even an artificial turf field. The park even houses a golf course and driving range. At the west side of the park, runners can test their times on the Jackson Track.
For children, there are several playgrounds — located at 64th and Stony Island, Park Shore and Stony Island, 67th and Ridgefield, 56th and Cornell, 6401 S Lake Shore Drive, and at the Jackson Sandboxes.
Jackson Park is also home to its very own beach at 57th street, with a lifeguard on duty during peak months. It also offers access to the Lake Michigan Water Trail for non-motorized board and paddle sports. Hungry? Grab a bite at the on-site “Tasty Grill” with its Mexican menu.
Lastly, the park is home to the Museum of Science and Industry. It has an array of inspiring scientific exhibits, including a full-size replica of a coal mine, a 3,500-square-foot model railroad, German Submarine U-505 (captured during WWII), and the command module of Apollo 8. It even houses the first diesel-powered stainless-steel passenger train.
The building is located in “The Palace of Fine Arts,” which was also built for the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. After the fair, it housed the Columbian Museum and later the Field Museum of Natural History. It became the Museum of Science and Industry in 1928, thanks to Julius Rosenwald, Sears Roebuck president and philanthropist.
Jackson Park Events
Jackson Park is a favorite for children’s programs. Park-goers can participate in Park Kids, seasonal sports, arts and crafts, and even tennis lessons. There are after school programs held throughout the year, and in the summer, Jackson Park is home to Chicago’s popular six-week day camp, hosted by the Park District.
Additionally, many of Jackson Park’s facilities — like meeting rooms and recreation centers — are available to rent throughout the year. The Park also hosts popular community programs and fun special events like holiday-themed bazaars and movies in the park.