My family really likes to explore botanical gardens. We have found cultural institutions like these in–or near–previous vacation destinations and we’re pleased that we have some closer to home, as well. In fact, a few are within an hour’s drive from our home in the Chicagoland area. One such place is Chicago Botanic Garden, which is located at 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe, Illinois. It gives my husband, daughters and I a chance to step away from our busy schedules and enjoy some quality family time, as well as provides us with some much-needed fresh air therapy. If you think you’d like to visit Chicago Botanic Garden soon, keep reading to find out some things we believe you should know before your visit.
Open every day of the year, the Chicago Botanic Garden features more than two dozen gardens–including the Japanese-, English Walled- and Rose Gardens—as well as four natural areas. Each named space or region has a unique theme and is characterized by colorful flowers, lush plants, manicured lawns, towering trees or interesting statues, among other features. Speaking of other features, the 385-acre Garden is also home to beautiful fountains, waterfalls and lakes, all of which contribute to its reputation of being an enchanting and breathtaking place. So, if you’re a fan of nature photography, make sure your phone or camera is fully charged before your visit so you can take plenty of photos while you’re there.
Another item we believe you should have on hand during your visit is a Garden map that you can obtain upon arrival. Since there’s so much to see, being able to examine the map and decide which areas you want to check out first during your visit may be helpful. Doing that was definitely a good idea for our family because that simple act ensured that each of our respective must-see areas were visited. And, if you really like planning ahead, you can click on the link to the Garden’s website that is included later in this post and download a copy of the map onto your computer or phone so you can peruse it prior to your visit.
Here are a few other tips we believe will help make your time at Chicago Botanic Garden as enjoyable as possible. First, wear comfortable, weather-appropriate shoes. You’ll be walking a lot while you’re there–and sometimes up stairs or across bridges–so, you’ll want to be prepared for that.
Second, bring a mask or face covering with you. They are required in the cafe, the Garden Shop, as well as when you are on occupied walkways and unable to stay six feet away from other visitors or staff members.
Third, plan on spending some time in the Garden shop. In the shop, you will find merchandise for gardeners, cooks, event hosts and others who appreciate unique products. And, if a loved one or friend has a birthday or special occasion occurring soon, the shop might be the perfect place to pick up a gift for them. Admittance is limited to a certain number of patrons at a time, so you may have to wait a few minutes before you can enter the shop.
Fourth, make sure that you make your reservation to visit the property in advance. And, when doing so, keep in mind that the Garden’s hours of operation may change from season to season and that you only need to make a reservation for–or register–the vehicle that your family will arrive in. (Since Garden admission is actually free, you won’t need to pay for each person in your party.) The cost of parking for nonmembers–which must be paid when the reservation is made–is $25 per car on weekdays and $30 per car on weekends and holidays. However, adults 62 years and older are only charged a $10 per vehicle on Tuesdays. Garden members park free every day. Visit the website to make your reservation and to see if any specific discounts may be available for you or someone in your family.
For more information about–or to see additional photos from–our family’s most recent visit to Chicago Botanic Garden, check out the video that I shared about it on YouTube and Instagram. And, if you’d like to check out a similar cultural spot that we also visited this year, click here and read my post about Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois. It’s another beautiful place for you and your family to get some fresh air therapy and spend some quality family time together.