GLENCOE, Ill. (May 20, 2013) – Nature brings families together and what greater place could there be to enjoy nature than at the Chicago Botanic Garden? This summer, the Garden has a variety of activities for families to enjoy together. From the new Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden and Kleinman Family Cove to the Model Railroad Garden and Butterflies & Blooms exhibitions, there are many engaging destinations to discover. A full calendar of events is designed specifically for families throughout the summer.
Camp CBG isn’t just for kids, parents and caregivers can join the fun this summer with Bloomin’ Garden Strollers (6-24 months with an adult). There is still space in some camps, so be sure to register soon. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/forfamilies for more information.
Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America – Saturday, May 11 through Sunday, October 27
The Model Railroad Garden returns for a 14th season with new features such as the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and a refurbished White House. Eighteen model G-scale trains will run on 17 tracks, winding over bridges and trestles, and around nearly 50 models of American landmarks. The 7,500-square-foot exhibition is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (weather permitting). Special evening hours on Wednesdays, June 5 – August 28, until 8 p.m. Cost is $6 for adults; $5 seniors; $4 children (3-12). Members receive $1 discount off these rates; Garden Plus members are free on Wednesdays. The Model Railroad Garden is generously sponsored by Bank Of America. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/railroad for more information.
Plant Giveaways – Wednesdays through Sundays, May 15 through October 6
Visitors are invited to stop by the Fruit & Vegetable Garden between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to pick up a free seedling. Plant giveaways vary by month and include a care sheet and recipe to help you enjoy your new plant.
Butterflies & Blooms Exhibition – Saturday, May 25 through Monday, September 2
The popular Butterflies & Blooms exhibition returns for its second season. Visitors are immersed in a tropical habitat full of hundreds of colorful butterflies interacting with plant life. Butterflies & Blooms features butterflies from around the world, including South America, Asia, North America, and Africa, as well as those native to Illinois. Volunteers are also on hand to answer questions. The 2,800-square-foot white mesh enclosure is located on the lawn of the Learning Campus. Cost is $6 for adults; $5 seniors; $4 children (3-12). Members receive $1 discount off these rates; Garden Plus members are free on Wednesdays. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/butterflies for more information.
World Environment Day – Saturday, June 1
For the 6th year, Chicago Botanic Garden will mark World Environment Day with special programs designed to increase awareness and understanding of the Garden’s conservation work and sustainable gardening practices. A special keynote presentation, “Spaceship Earth: The Fragility of Our Planet,” brings together a panel of experts to discuss climate change from the universe to your own backyard at 10:30 a.m. Lab and horticulture demonstrations, hands-on activities and a variety of displays are planned for visitors of all ages designed to teach them how to apply conservation behaviors in their daily lives. Family drop-in activities are ongoing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden and the new Kleinman Family Cove. Take The Grand Tram (fee applies) and disembark at the Learning Campus to visit both these locations. Plastic plant container recycling will be held in Parking Lot 4 and a variety of environmental organizations will be present to interact with visitors. World Environment Day is generously supported by American Airlines, Bartlett Tree Experts, Baxter International Inc., Illinois Tool Works (ITW), and UL LLC. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/wed to register for the lecture and for more information.
Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden Family Drop-in Activities – Daily, June 1 through September 2
Get close to nature and discover where food comes from and how plants grow. Pollinate flowers, dissect seeds, see roots growing, compost with worms, create a rainbow for healthy eating, and more. Activities vary from week to week and all feature books and puzzles. Weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Weekday hours are noon to 4 p.m. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/forfamilies for more information.
Kleinman Family Cove Family Drop-in Activities – Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, June 1 through September 1
Explore the plants and animals in aquatic habitats. Use scientific tools to look at tiny critters living under water, find out what makes water plants different from land plants, and more. Activities may vary from week to week. Program hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/forfamilies for more information.
Nature Nights: NEW! Ready, Set Garden! – Saturdays, June 1 or 15
Bring a picnic dinner and spend an evening in the Garden! Children ages 4 -10 and their families will explore different areas of the Garden and enjoy a variety of discovery-based activities. You’ll discover what plants need to grow and learn come gardening basics as you plan, plant, mulch, and water in the Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden. Each Nature Nights also includes a tram ride, a planting project, and s’mores around the campfire. Hours are from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Registration is $25 for nonmembers. Garden Plus members receive a 20 percent discount. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/naturenights/ for more information.
Dancin’ Sprouts – Wednesdays, June 5, 12, 19, and 26
Dancin’ Sprouts features a fun evening full of free music for the Garden’s youngest visitors every Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. through late August. Children may get up, dance, and sing during these lively evenings created just for them. Take advantage of extended hours at the Model Railroad Garden, which is open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, June 5 - August 28. These evenings reflect the Garden’s role in the Chicago Wilderness Consortium to “Leave No Child Inside.” Picnicking is permitted during this event on the Esplanade only. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/forfamilies/dancinsprouts or call (847) 835-5440 for more information.
Malott Japanese Garden Family Sundays – Sundays, June 2 and 16, July 7 and 21, August 6 and September 1 and 15
Drop by the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden for hands-on activities related to Japanese arts and culture. Practice using chopsticks, rake miniature dry gardens, make Japanese kites, and more. The free activities vary each time, and are subject to change.
Father’s Day Canoe Adventure – Saturday, June 16, and Sunday, June 17
In partnership with Friends of the Chicago River, the Garden invites you to partake in a rare opportunity to canoe the lakes of the Chicago Botanic Garden. Bob Kirschner, the Garden’s aquatic biologist, will paddle along and explain our nationally recognized program to restore and enhance the Garden’s miles of lakeshore. Herons, ducks, small fish, and maybe even a few turtles and frogs will greet you as we explore their watery habitat. No experience with canoeing is necessary; instruction, canoes, life jackets, and paddles are all provided. Please choose one of the start times when you register: 9 a.m., 11 a.m., or 1 p.m. You’ll enjoy a full hour canoeing the lakes of Chicago Botanic Garden. Be sure to register early, as this event always sells out! Cost is $57 per person. Chicago Botanic Garden members receive 20 percent discount. Children must be 5 years old to participate. Maximum three participants per boat. Register online at http://www.chicagobotanic.org/calendar/event/fathers_day_canoe_adventure.
Camp CBG – Monday, June 17 through Friday, August 16
Camp CBG provides exciting and enriching learning experiences for your child, with programs for children ages 2 to 15. The Chicago Botanic Garden offers weeklong camps each summer with morning, afternoon, and all-day options (including before- after-camp care) from June 17 through August 16. All camps include nature exploration, inquiry-based activities, games, hands-on projects, and planting. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/camp/summercamp for camp descriptions, schedule, fees, and to register. For more information, call (847) 835-6801.
Biz! Bam! Bugs! Family Program – Saturday, June 22
Join forces with award-winning children’s author and educator, Patricia J. Murphy, for a hands-on reading, writing, art, and science exploration of the SUPERHEROES of nature—BUGS! Help spread the word why bugs are SUPER and how we can save them and their habitats! Children ages 4 -10 and their families design a poster, take home a plant, and go on a tour of our exhibition, Butterflies & Blooms! Choose either 10 to 11:30 a.m. or 1 to 2:30 p.m. session. Cost is $30 nonmember per child and Garden Plus members receive a 20 percent discount. Pre-registration is required at least one week in advance, online, fax or mail only. Adult must accompany children. Limit of three children per adult. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/forfamilies or call (847) 835-6801 for more information.
Family Campout – July 27 (rain date August 2)
Families can come pitch a tent in our Outdoor Classroom for a low-stress camping experience with flushing toilets and running water! We’ll go for a scavenger hunt and evening hike through the prairie and cook s’mores around a campfire. Please plan to spend the night, as the Garden is unable to accommodate “under-night” or evening-only participants. Activities are geared for participants ages 5 and 6, but younger campers are welcome. Please note the rain date when registering for the campout. Campout fees will only be refunded if both the original date and the rain date are cancelled by the Garden. Program runs 5 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday. Cost is $50 per child; $20 per adult. Garden Plus members receive a 20 percent discount. Adult must accompany children. Limit of three children per adult. Campers should bring a sack lunch for dinner. S’mores and breakfast is provided. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/afterschool/campouts or call (847) 835-8239 for more information.
Herb Garden Weekend – Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28
Learn about a variety of kitchen garden herbs in the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden at Herb Garden Weekend. Staff, volunteers and outside experts will talk about their top ten herbs, how to grow herbs in containers, herbs in the kitchen and more. Herb Discovery Carts will introduce visitors to the herbs and edible flowers they can grow in their own gardens. Marcia Carmichael, herbal expert and historical gardener at Old World Wisconsin, will answer herb gardening questions throughout the weekend. Select vendors will offer plants and herbal products for sale. Visitors can take part in a number of family-friendly activities, including a sniff guess game, planting an herb seed and making a dried herb mix for herb butter. As part of the Plant Giveaway Program, visitors can take a marjoram seedling home (while supplies last). Hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Nature Nights: NEW! Abounding Butterflies – Saturdays, July 6 or 20
Bring a picnic dinner and spend an evening in the Garden! Children ages 4-10 and their families will explore different areas of the Garden and enjoy a variety of discovery-based activities. You’ll learn how butterflies sense the world around them, find out about the butterfly life cycle, and discover how to attract butterflies to your garden. Each Nature Nights also includes a tram ride, a planting project, and s’mores around the campfire. Hours are from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Registration is $25 for nonmembers. Garden Plus members receive a 20 percent discount. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/naturenights/ for more information.
Nature Nights: Aquatic Adventure – Saturday, August 3 or 17
Bring a picnic dinner and spend an evening in the Garden! Children ages 4-10 and their families will explore different areas of the garden and enjoy a variety of discovery-based activities. You’ll gather your own water sample and look at plants, insects, and animals that live in the water at the Kleinman Family Cove using scientific tools. Each Nature Nights also includes a tram ride, a planting project, and s’mores around the campfire. Hours are from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Registration is $25 for nonmembers. Garden Plus members receive a 20 percent discount. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/naturenights for more information.
Kite Festival – Saturday, August 10, and Sunday, August 11
Enjoy a day at the Garden as colorful kites decorate the sky above the meadow west of Evening Island. Members of the award-winning Chicago Fire Kite Team perform sport kite ballet and precision flying demonstrations, and experts will offer kite-flying tips. Kids are encouraged to join in the fun by making their own kite during the kite-making workshops between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. There’ll also be a ‘Kids Mad Dash’ in which participants will compete to see who can get their kite built and soaring the fastest. Registration is free and available at the Gift of Wings tent between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The first 30 children to register will receive a free kite to build and fly in the competition. Participants may bring and fly their own kites in the designated “Kite Festival” area between performances. Kites will also be available for purchase through Gift of Wings, a Milwaukee, WI-based retailer which will set up shop during the festival. Gift of Wings along with the Kite Society of Wisconsin and Illinois make this festival possible. Festival hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather permitting. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/specialevent/kite or call (847) 835-5440 for more information.
Malott Japanese Garden Summer Festival – Saturday, August 17, and Sunday, August 18
Learn about the summer festivals (matsura) celebrated in Japan during this special weekend of activities. Listen to taiko drum and koto harp music, enjoy traditional folktales, and watch a tea ceremony. Kids of all ages can make projects to celebrate summer—fold origami, create a paper fan, make a kite, and more at family-friendly, hands-on stations. Program hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Malott Japanese Garden will be staffed with volunteers in the Shoin House and around the Garden from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also stop by the Mid-America Bonsai Society Show & Sale. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/familyprograms/dropin for more information.
Heirloom Tomato Weekend – Saturday, August 24, and Sunday, August 25
Get new ideas about everyone’s garden-favorite, tomatoes, with programs focused on growing and using heirloom varieties. Volunteers and staff will provide tips on growing and using tomatoes. “Tomato Discovery Carts” will explore many types of tomatoes you can grow at home and trace the history of tomatoes as they’ve traveled the world. Visitors can ask experts tomato questions and shop for tomato-related items in the Wheelbarrow Shop and from select vendors. Family activities include a creating an herb mix for pasta sauce, a tomato toss, a tomato test, “sorting supper,” “rainbows of tomatoes,” and “indicator art.” As part of the Plant Giveaway Program, visitors can take a Crimson King basil seedling home (while supplies last). Hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors will be able to tour the tomatoes growing in the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden with the horticulturist at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Seed saving demonstrations will be offered on the half hour throughout the weekend.