GLENCOE, IL (January 6, 2017) – The opening of the Regenstein Learning Campus in September, the premiere of Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns in October and the growing need for people to engage with nature brought more visitors than ever to the Chicago Botanic Garden in 2016. Attendance reached 1,074,000, the highest in the Garden’s 44-year history and an increase of 2.5 percent over 2015. Attendance has increased by 41 percent since 2006, when the Garden closed the year at 760,000 visits.
“More and more, people seek out nature at places like the Chicago Botanic Garden to find respite from their busy lives. To reach more than one million visitors four years in a row reinforces our belief that people live better, healthier lives when they can create, care for, and enjoy gardens,” said Jean M. Franczyk, president and CEO of the Chicago Botanic Garden.
New amenities and programs, such as Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns—a display of more than 1,000 hand-carved and lit pumpkins that featured classic Halloween characters and iconic Chicago people and places—as well as established events and a robust schedule of classes for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities drew new and returning visitors. October attendance increased 40 percent over October 2015. In addition, Garden membership increased to 51,000 member households, the highest number in Garden history.
“Our education offerings expanded with the opening of the Regenstein Learning Campus. We added a Nature Preschool—one of the first in the country at a botanic garden—and there are more classes for adults and programs for children, including new cooking classes in the ITW Kitchen. And people continue to come to the Garden for our beautiful display gardens, 100-acre woodland and restored prairie,” Franczyk said.
The growth reflects goals set out in the Chicago Botanic Garden’s 2010–2020 strategic plan, “Keep Growing.” In 2014, the Garden introduced a new exhibition, the Orchid Show; the show has grown each year, reaching 29,212 visitors in 2016. The annual winter flower show will open this year on February 11 and will run through March 26, a two-week extension. The event gives visitors more reasons to visit the Garden in late winter, and helps fulfill the strategic goal of making the Garden a four-season destination.
Follow this link to learn more about our Keep Growing strategic plan: http://strategicplan.chicagobotanic.org/
Enjoy a four-season tour of the Garden by clicking on the following link: http://youtu.be/Abhp6MLP_Jo