“Brazil in the Garden,” a multi-seasonal floral, art show and visitor programming exhibition; a sold-out, pumpkin-themed Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns, and “Orchids in Vogue,” a fashion and popular culture-themed display of 10,000 orchids, brought more visitors than ever to the Chicago Botanic Garden in 2017. The Garden attendance exceeded 1 million visitors for the fifth year in a row. The 2017 attendance was the highest ever, with 1,111,204 visitors. This represents an increase of 3% over 2016 and an increase of 46%, or 350,000 more visitors, since 2007, when the Garden closed the year at 760,000 visitors. Four-hundred thousand people came to the Garden during the three months of summer- June, July and August.
“We were happy to host over one million people looking to enjoy being immersed in nature. People are voting with their feet. They want to spend time in green spaces and beautifully designed gardens, and understand that this is good for mind, body and soul,” said Jean M. Franczyk, president and CEO of the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Scientists began to study the effects of nature’s influence on the human body in the 1970s. More than 100 studies now confirm that “stress reduction and mental restoration are significant benefits associated with living near green areas…..and spending time in natural settings,” according to the TKF Foundation, Nature Sacred Initiative.
“Brazil in the Garden,” was inspired by the work of Brazilian landscape designer and artist Roberto Burle Marx, was an all-inclusive flora, art and programming initiative that spanned from June to October. Bold and beautiful garden designs of tropical plants not normally seen in the Chicago area were planted throughout the Garden. An exhibition of Burle Marx’s garden designs and tapestries was on display the Joutras Gallery.
Garden design classes were offered through the Joseph Regenstein, Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden, and Brazilian themed food selections were available in the Garden Café.
In its second year, Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns, a display of more than 1,000 hand-carved and lit pumpkins, sold out four nights in October.
In its fourth year, the Orchid Show, themed “Orchids in Vogue,” presented a display of 10,000 orchids and highlighted the tropical flower’s influence on pop culture and fashion.
The 2018 Orchid Show, “Asia in Bloom,” will open February 10 and run through March 25. Special evening hours have been added on Thursdays, remaining open until 8 p.m. with a cash bar available. Visit https://www.chicagobotanic.org/orchid for more information.
To see a video of four seasons of the Chicago Botanic Garden, visit https://youtu.be/Abhp6MLP_Jo.