This fall we’re putting the finishing touches on the first phase of Project New Leaf, our five-year revitalization plan for Cantigny Park.

It’s been a year of steady progress. Even with construction during most of 2018, Park attendance is up 12%. We certainly benefited from the renovated First Division Museum being open all year, and from the return of several events we were not able to have in 2017 due to construction, including the evening symphony concerts and the LEGO Train Show. (Good news: the LEGO Show returns next month, December 8-9).

Additional improvements around the park also contributed to higher visitation. Word is getting out that Project New Leaf is delivering on its promise!

What’s new at Cantigny? Here’s a partial list:

• Remodeled Visitors Center, including an expanded information kiosk, Bertie’s Bistro and a covered entrance for Le Jardin, our reception and banquet hall

• Redesigned and replanted display gardens and Gold Pond area

• Red Oaks Farm playground and adjacent picnic pavilion

• 350 new parking spaces in the south lot

• Lighted walkways connecting our main attractions and easy-to-navigate path surfaces

• Oak Colonnade stretching north-south from the Visitors Center to the First Division Museum

• Expanded gathering plaza around the Lion of Cantigny statue, with seating

• Centrally located pavilion with restrooms and visitor information. This building, located just south of the Visitors Center on the Oak Colonnade, will be ready when the park reopens in February for the 2019 season.

More enhancements are on the way as Project New Leaf continues. My next update will outline plans for phase two. In the meantime, please follow our progress online at, and sign up to receive NEW LEAF, our e-newsletter.

Thanks for your patience and support as we make Cantigny the best it can be. As always, we welcome your comments at

Matt LaFond
Executive Director
Cantigny Park

Earlier this fall, some of the climbing grapevines in the new gardens “met in the middle.” The covered trellises will eventually provide ample shade for park visitors.

Cantigny parking lots are bigger, brighter and safer than ever. The south lot, shown on the left, gained 350 spaces.

The Oak Colonnade, looking south from the new welcome plaza outside the Visitors Center. Butterfly Hill, another new landscape feature, is in the distance.

The new lower display garden was a big hit with visitors in October, especially during our fall festival.

Even areas seldom seen by guests have been improved, like this pond outside the administrative offices building, near the greenhouse.

Posted by Jeff Reiter

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