John Paddock of Loves Park complains in his Letter to the Editor published in today’s paper that the entrance fee for Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens is too steep.
“It is obvious the building was not meant for common folk,” Paddock writes.
UPDATE: Admission to the state’s largest conservatory, Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, is free.
There are a few things to point out with Paddock’s letter. First, the entrance fee he and his wife should have been charged is $6, not the $8 fee he wrote about in his letter. Those who find that price too high can get into the conservatory for free at least one day per month.
The admission is $6 for all residents of Winnebago County because the County Board decided to contribute $800,000 toward the project. Children younger than four get in free. It is $8 for non residents.
See the rates and hours of operation HERE.
Online commenter “Germangirl” said the conservatory should have a weekly free day.
The conservatory does offer several options for free admission, but not weekly. As I reported in THIS STORY, you can get in free from 3 to 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month. That means next week (Nov. 16) is free admission.
The Rockford Park District also schedules free events to correspond with holidays or other occasions. For example, veterans and current military members get free admission to the facility Friday for Veterans Day.
“We’ll look for things that relate to the plants in the conservatory, pick that holiday, and do a special activity,” Ruth Miller, facility manager for the conservatory, said in an interview with me last month. “Our goal is to make sure everyone has an opportunity to come in and visit.”
With all that said, let’s take a poll. Feel free to explain your answers in the comment section below.