If you only have time to do one thing this summer, I highly recommend visiting Alebrijes: Creatures of a Dream World at Cantigny Park. Guests are treated to the magical and whimsical world of alebrijes, imaginary creatures possessing animal features. The new exhibit at the gardens showcases 48 colorful sculptures created by six incredibly talented artists from Mexico City. What a wonderful way to spend the day! Read on for more tips to enjoy the alebrijes at Cantigny.
Disclosure: Links may contain affiliate links.
Tips for Enjoying Alebrijes at Cantigny
Do a little research beforehand
I’m always up for a little teaching moment. We first heard about alebrijes from the movie Coco, so we rewatched the movie before our visit. What a great idea! They compared the alebrijes from Coco to the ones they saw at the garden. We also read Miguel and the Amazing Alebrijes to learn more about these mythical creatures. For a more in-depth experience, Gallery 200 has an exhibit “Maquetas & Bocetos: Creatures of a Dream World” that shines on the light on the history and art of these colorful alebrijes.
Score free parking
Admission is free to Cantigny but there is a parking fee of $10 on the weekend and $5 on weekdays. There are three ways to get in for free. One, borrow a Museum Adventure Pass from your local library. After borrowing, the pass is valid for 7 days. Another way to score free admission is to visit on the first Wednesdays of the month when parking is free for everyone. A third way is to visit on designated free days: September 17 – Constitution Day or November 11 – Veterans Day. Even if you don’t score free parking, the fee is totally worth it!
Pick up a map
Make the visitor center your first stop to get a map of all the alebrijes. See if you can find all 48 of them! There are 18 large alebrijes and 30 smaller ones. Let me tell you they are ALL OVER. My suggestion is to target the larger ones, then find the small ones along the way. Kids can also pick up a scavenger hunt at the Visitor Center. I don’t know about you, but in our family anything with a scavenger hunt it always more fun. We had a blast trying to look for all these whimsical creatures.
Use your imagination
Have the kids figure out what animals the specific alebrijes are. Could it be a tail of a fox? Wings of a bird? Then use your smart phone to scan a QR code that gives you a bit more insight about the piece.
Look at the details
Try to get close (minding the ropes around the sculptures) and look at all the details and patterns. Such a wonder!
More than Alebrijes
While you’re at Cantigny Park take advantage of all they offer. Cantigny is often referred to as the “tank park” in my household since climbing the tanks is one of their favorite things to do EVER. Other family favorites include taking pictures with the yellow chairs and couches, dipping their toes in the Idea Garden creek, visiting the First Division Museum (so well put together), and playing at the playground. We could literally spend the day here! Read all the highlights of Cantigny Park here.
Attend During a Special Event
Cantigny has so many fun special events! On our particular visit, Second Saturdays, there were special themed crafts and activities which added to our fun. It looks like they also hold alebrijes art walks on certain Saturdays.
Picnic, then PLAYGROUND FUN
Take a break and have lunch or a snack at the Picnic Grove. Plenty of picnic tables are scattered throughout the grove many of which are in the shade. After eating, kids can play their heart out at Red Oaks Farm, an adorable farm-themed playground with tube slides, swings, things to climb, and monkey bars underneath the bridge.
TAKE A (potty) BREAK
There are a few bathrooms located throughout if you need them. One by the tank park, another at the Visitor Center, and one at the First Division Museum.
VISIT BEFORE IT’S GONE!
The exhibit is open until October. Plan your visit soon!
FINAL THOUGHTS of Alebrijes at Cantigny
What a fun time exploring whimsical art in a gorgeous setting! Definitely recommend.
Address: 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, IL 60189
Admission: No admission fees; parking fee is $5 on weekdays and $10 on weekends.