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Discover Cantigny

Cantigny Oak Leaf logo, transparent

Enjoy spectacular gardens that change with the seasons, a fascinating military museum, delicious dining options, vast picnic areas, hiking trails, educational opportunities, and exciting special events throughout the year. Colonel McCormick’s 500-acre former estate, which recently underwent a $65 million revitalization, delights visitors with its beauty, history, culture, and always a few surprises.


A Look Through the Decades


At 74 years old, the Colonel dies at Cantigny. His will directs that it become “a public park and museum for the recreation, instruction and welfare of the people of the State of Illinois.”

Funeral of Robert R. McCormick, 1955


Cantigny opens as a public space for education and recreation.

Cantigny Park main entrance, circa 1958


The First Division Museum, dedicated to the U.S. Army’s famed 1st Infantry Division — the “Big Red One” — opens in what is now the Cantigny Visitors Center.

First Division Museum grand opening, 1960


Cantigny Gardens, designed by renowned landscape architect Franz Lipp, opens to the public. Nearly 30 acres of themed displays, statuary and water features add color and beauty to the former farmscape.

Cantigny formal gardens, circa 1967


The park adds a bandshell for summer concerts and an 18,000-square-foot greenhouse for producing the plants displayed throughout the gardens.

Cantigny greenhouse, circa 1986


Cantigny Golf, designed by Roger Packard, opens for play, featuring 27 scenic holes. The public course with a private feel is an immediate hit, making weekend tee times scarce. A full-service clubhouse featuring Fareways Grill and the Red Oak Room add to the attraction.

Cantigny Golf, Lakeside 9 (Dick Tracy)


Golf Digest declares Cantigny the “Best New Public Course in America.” In the park, the one-acre Idea Garden opens, offering creative ideas and inspiration for home gardeners. It remains a favorite space for Cantigny visitors of all ages.

Cantigny Idea Garden, chess board made out of flowers


The new First Division Museum opens on 14 acres in a state-of-the-art, 38,000-square-foot building. The museum highlights the proud history of the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division (the “Big Red One”) while offering immersive exhibits that reflect a soldier’s viewpoint and the realities of war.

First Division Museum exterior, ca. 1992


Cantigny Golf is designated a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. The Audubon International program requires responsible environmental stewardship.

Cantigny Golf Audubon Sanctuary, purple martins


Cantigny Youth Links opens, providing a 9-hole golf course and clubhouse just for kids. The facility adds further momentum to Cantigny’s thriving junior golf program.

Cantigny Youth Links, youth golfers


Cantigny Golf hosts the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, conducted by the United States Golf Association and won by Colt Knost.

Sign for 2007 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship with international flags


The Cantigny Visitors Center expands with the addition of Le Jardin, a large banquet and meeting space, and Bertie’s Cafe. Cantigny Golf Academy debuts as a year-round practice, teaching and training center for golfers of all ages and abilities.

Cantigny Golf Academy, indoor hitting bays


The Education Center opens, serving as the new hub for children’s programs, youth group activities, Golden Oak Club meetings for seniors, fitness classes, horticulture workshops, art classes and more.

Cantigny Park Education Center exterior


Cantigny Park unveils a new front entrance on Winfield Road, a striking upgrade that brings new attention to the park, eases traffic flow, and portends massive changes ahead.

Cantigny main entrance, 2014


Cantigny Park launches a comprehensive, three-phase renovation plan for the property’s gardens, grounds and buildings. The vision: Ensure a superior guest experience for current and future generations of Cantigny visitors.

Aerial view of Cantigny Park during Project New Leaf


Revitalized gardens open. New features include the Rock Garden and Fountain Garden. Upgrades include expanded outdoor lighting; a new playground; improved pathways, seating, and signage; and better overall accessibility.

Cantigny gardens, rock garden


$65 million revitalization project concludes, delivering significant enhancements to almost every area of Cantigny Park. Key improvements include a fully renovated and restored McCormick House, updated First Division Museum, and restored display gardens.

McCormick House, South porch and reflecting pool

First Division Museum

First Division Museum at Cantigny Park, exterior
First Division Museum, First in War Battle of the Bulge gallery
First Division Museum, Duty First Gallery

The First Division Museum promotes public learning about America’s military heritage and affairs through the history of the “Big Red One” — the famed 1st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. The museum’s main exhibit hall, First in War, transports visitors to the trenches of World War I, the beaches of World War II, and the jungles of Vietnam. A second exhibit hall, Duty First, explores the 1ID’s history in more recent times.

The Robert R. McCormick Research Center, open to the public, houses the museum’s library, archival and photo collections. Tanks from every era are outside the museum, along with artillery pieces and a personnel carrier. Memorial markers and commemorative statuary pay further tribute to those who served.


Cantigny Golf

Aerial photo of Cantigny Golf
Cantigny Golf Academy indoor hitting bays
Cantigny Youth Links, young girl swinging golf club
Cantigny Golf, Woodside 5 putting green
Cantigny Golf clubhouse

Cantigny Golf offers 27 challenging holes on beautiful, rolling terrain. The facility includes a year-round golf academy, 9-hole Youth Links course and venues for golf outings, weddings, corporate meetings and more.

As part of the McCormick Foundation, Cantigny believes golf offers valuable life lessons for young people. Besides receiving top-notch instruction, Youth Links golfers learn the importance of kindness, integrity, punctuality, and sportsmanship. Likewise, Cantigny’s caddie program prepares high school and college students for personal growth and success off the golf course. Eighteen caddies have earned prestigious Evans Scholarships.

Named “Best New Public Course in America” by Golf Digest when the course opened in 1989, Cantigny Golf has since earned a reputation for delivering the amenities and playing conditions expected at a private golf facility. Cantigny Golf, a five-time host of the Illinois State Amateur Championship, was among GolfDay’s U.S. Top 100 Public Courses in 2023, and won the Daily Herald’s Best of the Best Reader’s Choice Award for Best Public Golf Course in 2022.


Our Impact

A Garden Colonel McCormick Would Have Loved

When military veterans gather at Cantigny it’s usually in or outside the newly renovated First Division Museum, a monument to those who served. But during…

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Veterans working in Cantigny Park veterans garden