On Your Own Field Trips
On Your Own 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.
Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Available year-round for students and groups of all ages
(Some restrictions apply)
Advance registration fee: $0 per bus, includes parking and general admission for everyone; space each day is limited.
Unregistered groups will be charged $65 for bus parking and $7.95 per child/$9.95 per adult (minimum) per person admission fee; minimum total cost for a group of 30 students on a bus will be over $300; significantly higher on busy days. Please register your group before you arrive, and ensure that all chaperones and bus drivers have a copy of the entry ticket to ensure free admission.
Enjoy these benefits of registering for an On Your Own Group Field Trip:
- Explore the Chicago Botanic Garden at your own pace.
- Small, chaperoned groups may visit the Model Railroad Garden (early May – early October) and Butterflies & Blooms (Memorial Day weekend – Labor Day weekend) free of charge. Note: Exhibition entry is first-come, first-served and based on availability. Only small, chaperoned groups will be admitted at a time and entry ticket 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.
If you have questions about registering for a field trip please contact the Registrar’s Office at (847) 835-6801 or @email.
Visiting the Garden
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.
McDonald Woods: 0.25 miles (or less than 0.1 mile from Parking Lot 3)
Dixon Prairie: 1 mile
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
When you arrive, the Gatehouse will direct your bus to drop off and pick up in parking lot 3. Please make sure your bus driver has a copy of the entry ticket so that they can access the Visitor Center and main Garden.
If a conflict arises, you may reschedule your visit once within the same season. Contact the Registrar’s Office at (847) 835-6801.
Food Consumption and Storage
On Your Own field trips have access to the public outdoor picnic area. Due to space restrictions, On Your Own groups are not permitted in the Garden View Café. Individuals may carry their lunches in backpacks or store lunches on the bus. In the event of rain, we suggest that groups eat on the bus. Help preserve the Garden’s serene atmosphere and maintain its unique and beautiful collections by keeping all food out of the gardens and trails.