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Self-Guided Field Trips

Self-guided Field trips

Self-guided field trips allow your students to explore while you lead them through the Chicago Botanic Garden. Science, language arts, literature, history, geography, art, and other subjects can be explored throughout the different gardens.

Field trips are scheduled Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and are available year-round for students and groups of all ages.

There are two options for registering:

New! Online Self-Guided Group Registration

Fee: $50 per bus (credit card only).
Pay now using a credit card. The fee is per bus and space each day is limited. Enjoy these benefits of registering through Self-Guided Group Registration:

  • Pay only $3 per person on-site for Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America (May 14 to October 29, 2017) and Butterflies & Blooms (May 27 – September 4, 2017). Note: Exhibition entry is first-come, first-served and only small chaperone groups will be admitted at a time; receipt must be shown at the ticket booth to receive the discount; on busy days, expect there to be a wait; exhibitions are open, daily weather permitting.
  • Access the public picnic area for lunch.

Self-Guided Reservation Form

Fee: $50 per bus (check or credit card).
Use the form if you are booking a school tram, a visit to Wonderland Express in December, or prefer to pay by check.

Reserve at least four weeks in advance and enjoy these benefits:

  • Reserve a school tram experience April 24 to October 29, 2017.
  • Reserve tickets for your group to visit Wonderland Express November 24, 2017 to January 7, 2018.
  • Pay only $3 per person on-site for Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America (May 14 to October 29, 2017) and Butterflies & Blooms (May 27 – September 4, 2017) by showing your receipt at the ticket booth. Note: Exhibition entry is first-come, first-served and only small chaperone groups will be admitted at a time; receipt must be shown at the ticket booth to receive the discount; on busy days, expect there to be a wait; exhibitions are open, daily weather permitting.
  • Access the public picnic area.
  • Contact Garden staff to discuss areas of the Garden that would be especially well-suited to your curriculum.

Payment and Reschedules

Your visit is reserved when we receive full payment and you receive a receipt from the Chicago Botanic Garden. If a conflict arises, you may reschedule your visit once within the same season. We are unable to give refunds for cancellations of self-guided field trips.

Bus Parking

When you arrive at the Garden, you will be directed at the Gatehouse to drop off at the new Regenstein Learning Campus. A staff person will greet you and direct you to the Visitor Center as well as where to locate bus parking. Buses unload at the circle drive at the Learning Campus and park in lot 3. You will meet your bus in parking lot 3 for departure. 

Gardens to Explore

Gardens especially well-suited for self-guided exploration are highlighted below. Please note the approximate walking distances to each garden, starting from the Visitor Center.

Native Habitats
McDonald Woods: 0.25 miles (or less than 0.1 mile from Parking Lot 3)
Dixon Prairie: 1 mile

Main Island Formal Gardens
Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden: 0.3 miles
Sensory Garden: 0.25 miles
Buehler Enabling Garden: 0.25 miles
Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden: 0.2 miles

Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center
Green roof and indoor interpretation: 0.5 miles