2020 Calendar of Events

Julie McCaffrey
jmccaffrey@chicagobotanic.org                
(847) 835-8213

Event Date: 
Release Date: 
Tuesday, January 7, 2020

2020 Calendar of Events

There’s always something happening at the Chicago Botanic Garden. From Brilliance: The Orchid Show in winter to Picturing the Prairie, the Model Railroad Garden and Butterflies & Blooms in summer, each day brings a new experience at the Garden. Visit chicagobotanic.org for more information. 

JANUARY

Winter Walk in the McDonald Woods – Sunday, January 12, and Sunday, February 9 (2 p.m.)
Bundle up, get outside, and go on a nature walk. Warm up by the fire afterward. Meet at the McDonald Woods Shelter for a guided, 40-minute trek. No reservations necessary. If the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, we will post a cancellation notice on the Garden’s website.

Weekend Family Class: Loco for Cocoa! – Sunday, January 12, and Saturday, January 25 (9:30 to 11 a.m. or 1 to 2:30 p.m.)
Discover the sweet story of chocolate, from bitter bean to delicious dessert. Participants will investigate the raw ingredients, taste test different types of chocolate, and practice dipping fruits and snacks into melted chocolate to make treats enjoyable. Weekend Family Classes bring adults and children together to explore cool things about how plants connect science, art, history, and culture. Each program includes a variety of hands-on activities and projects, as well as opportunities to bring the Garden home.

Library Exhibition – Illustrated Orchids in Radiant Color – Friday, January 17, through Sunday, April 12
This rare book exhibition in the Lenhardt Library features the scarce and decorative portfolio created by French painter and watercolorist, Henry (Henri-Lucien) Lambert (1831-1909). Hours are from noon to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Free library talks will be held on Sunday, February 9, and Thursday, March 5, at 2 p.m. 

Camp CBG registration begins – Tuesday, January 21
Camp CBG provides children ages 6 months to 12 years with exciting and enriching learning experiences. The Garden offers weeklong camps with morning, afternoon, and all-day options (one and two weeks). The majority of the camp day is spent outside, weather permitting. Visit chicagobotanic.org/camp to register for Camp CBG. 

Nature Preschool registration begins – Tuesday, January 21
The Chicago Botanic Garden’s nature-based, developmentally appropriate preschool provides a unique learning experience for 3- to 5-year-olds. The emergent curriculum focuses on exploration and discovery in nature each day. The curriculum promotes learning and prepares children for kindergarten as they develop an appreciation for the natural world. Visit chicagobotanic.org/preschool to register for Nature Preschool. 

Story Time in the Lenhardt Library – Wednesdays, January 22 through March 13 (10 to 11 a.m.)
Children are invited to enjoy nature-themed activities and stories on Wednesday mornings in the Lenhardt Library. Story time activities include songs, games, crafts, and free play. Program is geared for children ages 2 to 5, accompanied by a caregiver.

Super Seed Weekend – Saturday, January 25, and Sunday, January 26
The ninth annual Super Seed Weekend returns, with a weekend full of how-to demonstrations and gardening information, ending with a lively Seed Swap on Sunday afternoon. Saturday features fee-based classes and workshops, like Organic Vegetable Gardening Basics, Planning Your Garden for Seed Saving, and a Seed Cleaning and Storing Workshop. Preregister for our behind-the-scenes tours of the Dixon National Tallgrass Prairie Seed Bank on Saturday at 10 and 11 a.m. Sunday begins with a Seed Starting Intensive class at 9 a.m. and continues with a lecture at 1:30 p.m. by John Coykendall, master gardener of Blackberry Farm. The swap takes place from 3 to 5 p.m., filling Burnstein Hall with enthusiastic seed swapping and advice sharing. Gardeners are invited to bring saved and leftover seeds to swap, though it’s not required. There will also be a family program, Loco for Cocoa, offered on Sunday. The Seed Swap is one of our most popular gardening events of the year, and a highlight of our winter calendar. Visit chicagobotanic.org/seedswap for more information. 

Seed Library – Sunday, January 29, through Friday, March 13
Stop by the Lenhardt Library to “borrow” seeds to plant, grow, harvest and save. At harvest time, save seeds for yourself, and return some to the Seed Library for others to “borrow” next season. With the borrowed seeds, you also receive resources on seed growing, harvesting, and saving. Hours are from noon to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.   

FEBRUARY

Weekend Family Class: Sweet Treats: Cold Eats – Sunday, February 2, and Saturday, February 15 (9:30 to 11 a.m. or 1 to 2:30 p.m.)
Many of our favorite cold sweet treats get their flavors from plants. Vanilla comes from an orchid and fruits grow on bushes, trees, or vines. In this class, participants will put together (and taste!) some easy-to-make fruity treats like smoothies and flavored shaved ice and get recipes to make at home. Weekend Family Classes bring adults and children together to explore cool things about how plants connect science, art, history, and culture. Each program includes a variety of hands-on activities and projects, as well as opportunities to bring the Garden home. 

Members-only Preview Evening – Friday, February 7
Members get early access to the Orchid Show, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., plus music, light refreshments, and a cash bar. Fees apply. 

Brilliance: The Orchid Show Saturday, February 8, through Friday, March 13 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Friday, February 14)
The 2020 Orchid Show features a modern world of living color with 10,000 brilliant blooms used in engaging and energizing ways. Visitors will find the Regenstein Center transformed with floor-to-ceiling artistic installations, including a towering canopy of color, a floating carpet, and a dramatic chandelier filled with colorful blooms. Interpretation will illuminate the brilliant survival strategies of wild orchids that use color to attract pollinators. Enjoy musical events like Morning Music with Orchids on Tuesdays and Thursdays while surrounded by the beauty of the Orchid Show. Don’t miss Orchids After Hours on Thursdays and on Friday, February 14—enjoy the orchids in the evening with cocktails and light fare available for purchase. An orchid marketplace takes place every Saturday and Sunday. Tickets for the Orchid Show are: Adults $14 nonmember/$12 members; children (3–12 years) and seniors (62 years and up) $11 nonmember/$9 member; children under 3 are free. Regular hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays and on Friday, February 14. Visit chicagobotanic.org/orchid for more information.   

Members-only Preview Evening Friday, February 7
Members get early access to the Orchid Show, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., plus music, light refreshments, and a cash bar. Fees apply. 

Weekend Family Class: Make Your Own Butter and Pancakes – Sunday, February 23, and Saturday, February 29 (9:30 to 11 a.m. or 1 to 2:30 p.m.)
Your next homemade breakfast won’t be the same after you learn how fun and easy it is to make your own butter. Then enjoy your butter than by spreading it onto delicious buttermilk pancakes. Participants will learn about the plants used to make breakfast and will take home recipes to replicate this delectable feast. Weekend Family Classes bring adults and children together to explore cool things about how plants connect science, art, history, and culture. Each program includes a variety of hands-on activities and projects, as well as opportunities to bring the Garden home. 

MARCH

Brilliance: The Orchid Show Through Friday, March 13 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays)
The 2020 Orchid Show features a modern world of living color with 10,000 brilliant blooms used in engaging and energizing ways. Visitors will find the Regenstein Center transformed with floor-to-ceiling artistic installations, including a towering canopy of color, a floating carpet, and a dramatic chandelier filled with colorful blooms. Interpretation will illuminate the brilliant survival strategies of wild orchids that use color to attract pollinators. Enjoy musical events like Morning Music with Orchids on Tuesdays and Thursdays while surrounded by the beauty of the Orchid Show. Don’t miss Orchids After Hours on Thursdays and on Friday, February 14—enjoy the orchids in the evening with cocktails and light fare available for purchase. An orchid marketplace takes place every Saturday and Sunday. Tickets for the Orchid Show are: Adults $14 nonmember/$12 members; children (3–12 years) and seniors (62 years and up) $11 nonmember/$9 member; children under 3 are free. Regular hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays and on Friday, February 14. Visit chicagobotanic.org/orchid for more information.  

Evening with Orchids: Cocktail Tasting – Wednesday, March 11 (6 to 8 p.m.)
Unwind with an evening viewing of the Orchid Show and enjoy tastings of local spirits and specialty cocktails. Light fare is available for purchase. Fees apply. 

MAY

Central States Dahlia Society Dahlia Sale – Saturday, May 2, and Sunday, May 3 (10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
The Central States Dahlia Society holds its annual dahlia sale, which features dahlia tubers and plants in a wide array of sizes, shapes, and colors. This is a great opportunity to purchase dahlias seen on display at the society’s annual show in September. Society members will be available to answer questions and provide written information about dahlia planting and care.   

Exhibition – Picturing the Prairie: Paintings by Philip Juras – Friday, May 8, through Sunday, September 20
Philip Juras’s exhibition of landscape paintings celebrates the rich aesthetics, ecology, and history of Illinois prairies. A dozen large studio canvases and many smaller field paintings depicting remnants, restorations, and imagined re-creations take the viewer on a journey of prairie landscapes from the Wisconsin border to the southern end of Illinois. Scenes of prairies, savannas, and wetlands will be represented from several locations, at different times of day, different seasons, in varying weather, and even from different historical points in time. Gallery walks with Philip Juras will occur on Saturday, May 9, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and on Sunday, September 20, at 1 p.m. Visit https://www.chicagobotanic.org/picturing_prairie for more information. 

Picturing the Prairie – Friday, May 8, through Sunday, September 20
This summer, visitors to the Chicago Botanic Garden will enjoy prairie plants highlighted throughout the display gardens and signage that helps them learn more about prairie conservation and restoration. Experiences will encourage visitors to explore the Garden’s own prairie and inspire conservation action. Endangered and threatened species will be planted in the annual bed from the Plant Science Center, Rudbeckia hirta will be planted in the Heritage Garden, and Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’ will be planted in the Lakeside Gardens. Visitors will also want to see the prairie plants on the Green Roof Garden, Native Plant Garden, Evening Island, and Sensory Garden. Existing native habitats can be seen in the McDonald Woods, Dixon Prairie, and Barbara Brown Nature Reserve. Working with regional partners Cook County Forest Preserves, Openlands, Center for Humans and Nature, and The Nature Conservancy, the Garden will help call attention to the research and conservation happening to protect native prairie ecosystems. Seasonal walks will include a prairie walk with Joan O’Shaunessy on Saturday, July 11, at 11 a.m., and a prairie walk with Joan O’Shaunessy and Philip Juras on Sunday, September 20, at 11 a.m.

World Bonsai Day – Saturday, May 9 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
World Bonsai Day was created in 2010 to promote bonsai and friendship throughout the world. Bonsai curator Chris Baker and bonsai volunteers demonstrate bonsai tree styling. Jack Sustic, former bonsai curator (retired) at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum (at the United States National Arboretum), will lead demonstrations with Chris Baker. Demonstrations take place in Nichols Hall. At 1:30 p.m., Baker will lead a Bonsai Collection highlights tour. Spring-blooming highlights in the Bonsai Collection may include wisteria, crabapple, and azalea. Meet in Runnells Courtyard for the tour.

Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America– Saturday, May 9, through Sunday, October 11 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Special evening hours until 8 p.m.: Wednesdays only June 10 through September 2 (weather permitting)
The 7,500-square-foot Model Railroad Garden is a family-favorite exhibition featuring 18 trains running on 1,600 feet of track. The trains travel more than 22,000 miles each season and are 1/29th the size of life-size trains. Train and garden enthusiasts young and old return year after year for the delightful sights and sounds of the miniature trains traversing high and low through tunnels, across bridges, and around close to 50 American landmarks. All are intricately handcrafted with natural materials, including twigs, bark, leaves, acorns and pebbles. More than 5,000 tiny trees, shrubs, ground covers and flowering plants of close to 300 varieties re-create the topographical landscape of America. Vignettes of tiny people and animals give the exhibit a storybook feel, while sound effects and a working geyser capture visitors’ imaginations. Admission fees apply. Strollers are not permitted in the exhibition; however, stroller parking is located near the entrance. Visit chicagobotanic.org/railroad for more information.

Butterflies & Blooms – Saturday, May 23, through Sunday, September 2 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Butterflies & Blooms is a butterfly exhibition where visitors can immerse themselves in a habitat filled with hundreds of live butterflies. This exhibition is filled with species native to South America, Asia, North America, and Africa, as well as those native to North America. The 2,800-square-foot mesh enclosure is located on the Regenstein Learning Campus. Visitors can also observe butterflies emerging through a window into the pupa emergence room. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, weather permitting (last ticket sold at 4:30 p.m.). Visit chicagobotanic.org/butterflies for tickets and information. 

Garden Chef Series – Saturdays and Sundays from May 23 through October 4 (1:30 and 2:30 p.m.)
Learn to cook with garden-fresh ingredients all summer long at the Garden Chef Series. Noted chefs prepare recipes in the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden’s open-air amphitheater. Seating is first-come, first-served for these free demonstrations.

Northshore Iris & Daylily Society Iris Show & Sale – Saturday, May 23, and Sunday, May 24 (10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
Presented by the Northshore Iris & Daylily Society, the show features more than ten artistic arrangements and 75 iris blooms. Irises and daylilies will also be available for purchase. Display is only on Sunday. 

Northern Illinois Hosta Society Show & Sale – Saturday, May 30, and Sunday, May 31 (10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
The Northern Illinois Hosta Society presents this show, which features more than 100 cut-leaf specimens of hosta, including rare and unusual varieties. Hosta growers will have garden-ready plants for sale. A workshop will take plac

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Editors, please note: For digital images, contact Julie McCaffrey at (847) 835-8213 or at jmccaffrey@chicagobotanic.org.

Interact with the Garden for this and other Garden events and programs: