Voted by Chicago Magazine as the #1 Suburban Park in 1997, Wilder Park was the first park acquired by the Elmhurst Park District in 1921. A cultural hub, Wilder Park sits in the center of town and is home to the Elmhurst Public Library, the Elmhurst Art Museum, the Lizzadro Museum, the Wilder Mansion, and the Wilder Park Conservatory and Formal Gardens. Completed in 2008, the Wilder Mansion provides an additional 14,000-square-foot space for District and community use. The Wilder Park Conservatory is open all year and hosts stunning floral displays, while the Wilder Park Formal Gardens provide a beautiful setting for weddings.
In 2011, Wilder Park underwent a major renovation. The Wilder Park playground was removed, and the non-profit organization Kids Around the World repainted and reconstructed the structures before transporting them to an undeveloped country in need of playgrounds for children, effectively recycling the playground at no cost to the District.
The new playground features an exciting design to accommodate kids of all ages and abilities. The Wilder Park project also included reconstruction of the existing asphalt pathways in addition to correcting drainage issues in the park.
- Adopt-A-Park Kickoff
- Art in Wilder Park
- Concerts in the Park
- Doggie Eggstravaganza
- Egg Hunt
- Flashlight Egg Hunt
- Garden Walk
- Movies in the Park
- Princess Day at Wilder Mansion
- Tree Lighting
- Veterans Memorial
- Wilder Mansion Bridal Show
- Wilder Mansion Holiday Market
- Wilder Park Conservatory Flower Shows
- Cliff climber
- Net climber
- Sand play area
- Ten slides
- Two spring riders
- Eight swings (four toddler swings)
- Tire swing
- Track ride
In a publication of the Elmhurst Centennial Historical Committee in 1936, Wilder Park was described as "Elmhurst`s Prettiest Garden Spot," and "a garden spot as beautiful as any in the Middle West."
Originally a cow pasture, this land was undeveloped, leaving a large open space that could be used as a park. When the Elmhurst Park District was created in the spring of 1920, the District immediately entered into negotiations for the entire Wilder estate, which was purchased for $45,000. When Wilder Park first opened, two bricks and a cathedral of elm trees flanked the entrance. Improvements to the estate, which covered two city blocks, began at the north end. A lily pond, landscaped walkways, and playground equipment was installed. Located in the southwest corner of Wilder Park, near Church Street and Prospect Avenue, is an elaborate series of glass buildings, including a conservatory, two greenhouses, and a growing house. An urn that adorned the Cook County Court House and survived the 1871 Chicago Fire rests near the formal gardens.