There’s always something going on at the Chicago Botanic Garden. From the Model Railroad Garden and family events on weekends, each day brings a new experience at the Garden. Visit http://www.chicagobotanic.org for more information.
Garden Chef Series – Every Saturday and Sunday through October 8
Watch chefs from some of the area’s best restaurants cook in the open-air amphitheater at the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden, then sample the chef’s creation. Following the demonstration, stroll around and see the seasonal produce we grow and then use in the Garden View Café onsite. Demonstrations are held at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.
Library Exhibition – Brazil in the Garden – Through Sunday, October 15
This rare book exhibition in the Lenhardt Library features Flora Brasil.
Brazil in the Garden – Through Sunday, October 15
Come experience the vibrant sights and sounds of Brazil at the Chicago Botanic Garden. We'll celebrate with music, food, and plants, along with an exhibition on modernist Brazilian designer Roberto Burle Marx. Burle Marx is known for championing the use of native plants from Brazil and for modernist landscape designs including the promenade along Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Watch for Burle Marx-inspired plantings at the entrance on Lake Cook Road, the Crescent Garden, the Circle Garden, the Heritage Garden, and other locations.
Model Railroad Garden – Through Sunday, October 29
Experience great American landmarks by rail—in miniature—at the Model Railroad Garden. Dozens of famous sites are represented, including the Golden Gate Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and Old Faithful.
Fossil Hunting in Mongolia: Prehistoric Plants Uncovered– Through 2018
Fossil Hunting in Mongolia: Prehistoric Plants Uncovered is currently on display in the Grainger Gallery of the Rice Plant Conservation Science Center. The exhibition includes interpretive panels, a video, living plants, and fossilized plants collected in Mongolia. Visitors will learn how Garden staff scientists uncovered these specimens and what they may tell us about environments of the past and plant evolution. One of the plants visitors will learn about is a newly discovered extinct species of plant from the Early Cretaceous (~100–125 million years before present). The plant, named Umaltolepis mongoliensis, appears to be distantly related to living Ginkgo biloba. The fossils were collected from ancient peat deposits at the Tevshiin Govi lignite mine in the steppes of central Mongolia. Exhibition hours are during normal Garden hours. Admission is free; regular parking fee applies. This research and exhibit are supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Fall Bulb Festival – Friday, October 6, Saturday, October 7, and Sunday, October 8 (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.); Members-only bulb shopping, Friday, October 6 (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
Listen to live music, shop the harvest market and make your way through a hay bale maze at a festival welcoming fall. More than 20 local vendors will be on-site selling pottery, baked goods, honey and more. A members-only bulb shopping sale will be held on Friday. And don’t miss the chance to take a selfie with the colorful gourd mountain.
Ask the Arborist – Saturday, October 7 (9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
SavATree arborists will be outside the Krasberg Rose Garden to answer questions about trees. A tree tour meets at 1 p.m. at the booth. The arborist-led tour will feature the extensive tree collection at the Garden.
Sukkot Family Activities – Sunday, October 8 (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
Celebrate the Jewish harvest holiday Sukkot! Families are invited to help decorate the branch-covered sukkah, which will be on display from October 5 through October 15 at the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden. These activities are provided by the JCC Chicago.
School Day-off Camp – Monday, October 9, January 15 & February 19 (9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
Kids in grades K – 4 will explore a range of activities including art, nature and science. Children will participate in high-quality learning activities while connecting to nature with experienced teachers who use inquiry-based, hands-on activities. New this season, tweens and teens in grades 5-8 can try something new in our ITW Kitchen. Preregistration required. Visit https://www.chicagobotanic.org/dayoffcamp for information on the theme of each day.
Brazil in the Garden: Mycological Adventures in Brazil – Thursday, October 12 (2-3 p.m.)
Discover the fascinating fungi of Brazil in this Brazil in the Garden presentation by Greg Mueller, Chief Scientist and Negaunee Foundation Vice President of Science at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Autumn Brews: Seasonal Beer Tasting in the Garden – Thursday, October 12 (6-8 p.m.)
While Oktoberfest celebrations happen throughout Europe, the Garden will celebrate with Autumn Brews, an evening tasting of seasonally selected beers. Check in to receive a wristband, tasting glass and tasting sheet. Breweries will pour a few different beers in 2-ounce tastings. Light fare and featured beer by the bottle will also be available for purchase.
Illinois Orchid Society Fall Show & Sale – Saturday and Sunday, October 14 and 15 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.); Special photographers’ hour on Sunday at 9 a.m.
The Illinois Orchid Society presents this show, in which individual orchids in 128 classes will vie for red, white and blue ribbons. “Best of Class” green ribbons will be given to 25 entries, and the best-appointed plant in the show will receive the Chicago Horticultural Society Award from the American Orchid Society judges. The Society will also provide an orchids sales area and repotting services.
Botanical Shakespeare lecture and book signing – Sunday, October 15 (1 p.m.)
Shakespearean scholar and author Gerit Quealy will discuss her newly published book Botanical Shakespeare: An Illustrated Compendium of All the Flowers, Fruits, Herbs, Trees, Seeds, and Grasses Cited by the World’s Greatest Playwright. Within this unique volume, Quealy includes a description and color botanical illustration by artist Sumié Hasegawa, for each of the 170 plant references found throughout the Bard’s plays and poems. These along with a foreword by Helen Mirren, makes this an enchanting work. Following the lecture with Quealy, there will be a book signing in the Lenhardt Library and a viewing of associated volumes in the rare book room.
Library Exhibition – Curtis’s: the Longest Running Botanical Magazine– Friday, October 20 through Sunday, January 21
This rare book exhibition in the Lenhardt Library features 12-15 volumes of Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, first published in 1787. Each full color engraving depicts all parts of the plant with a scientific description. A free Library Talk will be held on Sunday, November 5 at 2 p.m. in the Lenhardt Library.
Midwest Fruit Explorers Show & Sale – Saturday and Sunday, October 21 and 22 (10 a.m.- 4:30 pm.)
Freshly harvested fruit grown in the area by the Midwest Fruit Explorers is on display and for sale. Featured are apples, pears, pawpaws, grapes, kiwis and more. See apples turned into cider during apple press demonstrations. Visitors can enjoy tastings and information on growing fruit. Apples, cider and more will be available for sale.
Midwest Daffodil Society Bulb Sale – Saturday and Sunday, October 21 and 22 (10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.)
The Midwest Daffodil Society’s bulb sale features many varieties of unique and easy-to-grow daffodils for the gardener who wants some early color next spring. The Garden hosts a variety of plant and flower sales as part of the American Flower Show Series.
Wisconsin-Illinois Lily Society Lily Bulb Sale – Saturday and Sunday, October 21 and 22 (10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
A wide variety of lily bulbs will be available for purchase at the Wisconsin-Illinois Lily Society's annual sale, held in Burnstein Hall. The Garden hosts a variety of plant and flower sales as part of the American Flower Show Series.
Trains, Tricks & Treats – Saturday, October 21, and Sunday, October 22 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Families are invited to come in costume and trick-or-treat throughout the Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America to celebrate Halloween and the end of the railroad's season. The Model Railroad Garden will be decorated with spider webs, spiders, ghosts, goblins and pumpkins, as well as seasonal plant materials. Visitors will see figurines of trick-or-treaters on Main Street, bats and crawly creatures, a graveyard, and more, all tucked among miniature scenes of America's best-loved landmarks and beautiful gardens planted to scale. An array of small treats and treasures can be picked up throughout the Model Railroad Garden. Children will have the opportunity to pot up a Halloween plant.
Spooky Pooch Parade – Saturday, October 21 (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
Find a festive outfit for Fido and take a walk around the Garden. Costumed canines march in their own parade route and compete for special awards. It’s the only time of the year that dogs are allowed in the Garden. Tickets are available online, which is the best bet if you want to take part – this event sells out every year.
Weekend Family Classes: Creepy Cooking – Sunday, October 22 (9:30-11 a.m. or 1-2:30 p.m.)
Together, adults and children can explore cool things about how plants connect to 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. This class celebrates Halloween in the kitchen (with a little less sugar). We will make banana ghosts, green monster smoothies, and chocolate pretzel spider webs. Each participant will receive a free entry ticket to the Model Railroad Garden to visit Trains, Tricks & Treats on the day of the program. Preregistration required. Visit https://www.chicagobotanic.org/familyprograms for fees and registration.
Roadside Flower Sale and Workshops – Workshops held Monday, October 23 (1-3 p.m.), Tuesday and Wednesday, October 24 and 25 (9:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.); Sale held Friday-Sunday, October 27-29 (10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
Hold on to summer and shop one-of-a-kind natural plant and dried flower arrangements at the annual Roadside Flower Sale. Visit the Regenstein Center to view gifts incorporating dried flowers, pods and grasses. Volunteers design the floral arrangements using plant materials they collected at the Garden throughout the year. More than 300 flower arrangements and wreaths created by talented volunteers are available for purchase. The arrangements are created during workshops by volunteers and other participants. The public is invited to participate in the workshops and learn more about flower arranging. All arrangements made during the workshops will be donated to the sale and proceeds will benefit the Garden. Please register for workshops in advance by calling (847) 835-8392.
Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns – Thursday, October 26, to Sunday, October 29 (6:30 – 10 p.m.)
More than 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins line the paths of the Garden in a special evening event. Different themes, from movie monsters to Chicago icons, glow on the pumpkins, some of which are as large as 150 pounds. With spooky music and costumed characters, it’s a great way to celebrate Halloween early. This event sold out last year, so visitors are encouraged to buy their tickets early online.
Fine Art of Fiber – Friday, November 3 through Sunday, November 5 (10 a.m.-5 p.m.)
Stunning quilts, lovely knitted artwear, woven wonders, and breathtaking beadwork are among the abundant handcrafted items on view and for sale during the Fine Art of Fiber, held in the Regenstein Center. The area's oldest, largest and most unique fiber art event, the Fine Art of Fiber is hosted by Illinois Quilters, Inc., North Suburban NeedleArts Guild and the Weavers Guild of the North Shore. A complimentary opening night, including early buying privileges, is from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, November 2.
Members-Only Double Discount Day – Sunday, November 5 (10 a.m.-4p.m.)
Don’t miss the Members-Only Double Discount Day at the Garden Shop. Visitors can join or renew their membership and receive a 20 percent discount that day, as well as a 10 percent discount all year long.
Library Talk – Curtis’s: the Longest Running Botanical Magazine– Sunday, November 5 (2 p.m.)
This rare book exhibition in the Lenhardt Library features 12 to 15 volumes of Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, first published in 1787. Each full color engraving depicts all parts of the plant with a scientific description. A free Library Talk will be held on Sunday, November 5, at 2 p.m. in the Lenhardt Library.
Weekend Family Classes: Sensational Squash – Sunday, November 11 (9:30-11 a.m. or 1-2:30 p.m.)
Together, adults and children can explore cool things about how plants connect to 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. This class explores the many different sizes, colors and flavors of squash. Learn the story of the squash as we dissect, cook, and sample some different varieties. Make butternut squash soup (vegan/gluten and nut free) and a mini-pumpkin pie to savor the sweeter side of squash. Preregistration required. Visit https://www.chicagobotanic.org/familyprograms for fees and registration.
One Book One Garden – Tuesday, November 14 (6:30-8:30 p.m.)
Join us for a book discussion of Lab Girl by Fulbright Award-winning geobiologist Hope Jahren. In her widely-acclaimed debut memoir, published in 2016, Jahren traces her life through stories from her childhood days growing up in rural Minnesota to her years of college, graduate school, and building three laboratories for studying trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Growing up, Jahren found a sense of sanctuary and purpose in her father’s lab at the local community college where he taught physics and earth science. Her passion is plants and she intersperses her own stories with a fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world. Our discussion will be led by reader’s advisor, Becky Spratford, who trains library staff all over the world to match books with readers and lead book discussions. Visit https://www.chicagobotanic.org/calendar/event/one_book_one_garden to register. Please register early, as space is limited.
Wonderland Express – Friday, November 24, 2017 to Sunday, January 7, 2018
The holiday season favorite returns with thousands of LED lights, decorated trees, and festive displays. Delight in the model trains zooming past more than 80 mini-replicas of Chicago-area landmarks like Navy Pier, Solider Field and the Field Museum. Other can’t miss displays include a Chicago-style El train circling a miniature city made of gingerbread, a gallery transformed into an English country train platform, holiday wreaths and scheduled ice carvings. Hours are from November 24 to December 22 (10 a.m.-5 p.m.); December 23 to January 7 (10 a.m.-7 p.m.). Adult tickets are $13; children (3-12 years) and seniors (65 and older) are $10. Members receive a discount. Children 2 and under are free. Tuesdays are half price.
All Aboard! – Friday, December 1 (6:30 p.m.)
The Woman’s Board of the Chicago Horticultural Society presents the 12th annual All Aboard! Gala dinner amid the festive setting of Wonderland Express, the Garden’s indoor holiday exhibition. This year’s event theme will be “A Holiday Journey Through Italy.” All Aboard! is co-chaired by Woman’s Board members Marcy Johnson and Mary Alice Miller. Proceeds from this event support the mission of the Garden to cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Tickets from $450 and tables begin at $4,500.
Weekend Family Class: Joyful Gingerbread – Saturday, December 2 (9:30-11 a.m. or 1-2:30 p.m.)
Together, adults and children can explore cool things about how plants connect to 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. In this class, you’ll make a revamped version of a traditional holiday favorite. Participants will cut out shapes, bake and decorate their own cookie to enjoy, as they discover all of the different plants and plant parts needed to make this winter sweet treat. Preregistration required. Visit https://www.chicagobotanic.org/familyprograms for fees and registration.
Holiday Market – Saturday and Sunday, December 2 and 3 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.)
Visit the Holiday Market in Burnstein Hall and browse vendors offering products such as jams, soaps, spice blends, candles, honey and seasonal produce.
Holiday Cheers! Seasonal Tasting at Wonderland Express – Wednesday, December 6 (6-8 p.m.)
Enjoy a night of tastings of local spirits, wine and winter brews, while you enjoy the surrounding Wonderland Express exhibition with trains and more than 80 Chicago landmarks. Guests check in at Burnstein Hall and receive a wristband, tasting glass and tasting sheet. Light fare and drinks will be available for purchase. Advance tickets are $30 and day-of tickets are $33. Members receive a discount.
Breakfast with Santa – Saturday and Sunday, December 9 and 10 (8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.)
Have a magical morning with a trip to visit Santa. Ticket prices include parking, a buffet breakfast, a visit with Santa and exclusive access to Wonderland Express. Adult tickets are $35, children (3-12 years) are $27. Members receive a discount. Children 2 and under are free.
Christmas Concert – Saturday, December 16 (11 a.m. and 1 p.m.)
Get into the holiday spirit with a Christmas Brass Concert, featuring festive holiday favorites in Alsdorf Auditorium. Two one-hour brass concerts will be held at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Ticket price includes concert and access to the Wonderland Express exhibition. Advance tickets are $20 and day-of tickets are $23. Members receive a discount.
Hanukkah Concert – Sunday, December 17 (11 a.m. and 1 p.m.)
The clarinet swings, voices rise, everyone is dancing! Rabbi Joe Black and the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band will perform two festive one-hour concerts in Alsdorf Auditorium. Ticket price includes concert and a visit to Wonderland Express. Buy tickets in advance and save more than 10 percent. Advance tickets are $20 and day-of tickets are $23. Members receive a discount. Children 2 and under are free.
Winter Woods Walks – Sunday, January 14 and February 11 (2-3 p.m.)
Bundle up, get outside and go on a nature walk. Warm up by the fire afterwards. Meet at the McDonald Woods Shelter for a guided, 40-minute trek. No reservations necessary. If the temperature is dangerously low, we will post a cancellation notice on the Garden’s website.
School Day-off Camp – Mondays, January 16 and February 20 (9:30 a.m.- 3 p.m.)
School may be out, but camp at the Chicago Botanic Garden is on. Children will participate in high-quality learning activities with experienced teachers who use inquiry-based, hands-on activities. Each camp day’s theme changes depending on the season or holiday. Camp on January 16 focuses on Snow Investigations, while camp on February 20 is about Presidents & Plants.
Weekend Family Class: Loco for Cocoa – Saturday, January 20, or Sunday, January 28 (9:30-11 a.m. or 1-2:30 p.m.)
Together, adults and children can explore cool things about how plants connect to 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. In this class, you’ll 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 extra enjoyable. Preregistration required. Visit https://www.chicagobotanic.org/familyprograms for fees and registration.
Story Time in the Lenhardt Library – Mondays, January 22 through May 21 (10-11 a.m.)
Children are invited to enjoy nature-themed activities and stories on Monday mornings in the Lenhardt Library. Program is geared for children ages 2 to 5, accompanied by a caregiver.
Library Exhibition – Asian Orchids Illustrated – Friday, January 26 through Sunday, April 15
This rare book exhibition in the Lenhardt Library features beautiful and colorful Asian orchid illustrations from the rare book collection. Free library talks will be held on Sunday, February 25,at 2 p.m. and on Tuesday, February 27, at 2 p.m.
Super Seed Weekend – Saturday, January 27, and Sunday, January 28
The annual Seed Swap Weekend returns, with a weekend full of how-to demonstrations and gardening information, ending with a lively Seed Swap on Sunday afternoon. Saturday focuses on fee-based classes and workshops, like Organic Vegetable Gardening Basics and Making Your Own Seed Balls, along with a free Seed Bank Tour and screening of the film “Seed Battles.” The swap takes place after the lecture, filling Nichols 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 cooking class offered on Sunday. The Seed Swap is one of our most popular gardening events of the year, and a highlight of our winter calendar of events.
Seed Library – Monday, January 29 through Sunday, March 31
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. In 2017, seed library crops are tomato, pea, squash, sunflower, basil, soybean and pepper. Lenhardt Library hours are extended on the weekends to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the Orchid Show from February 10 through March 25.
Asia in Bloom: The Orchid Show 2018 – Monday, February 10, through Sunday, March 25 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Discover brilliantly beautiful and diverse orchids in a vibrant indoor show. This year’s exhibition is six weeks, giving visitors more time to enjoy the show. A great way to stay warm over a cold winter, the Orchid Show brings more than 10,000 orchids to the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Regenstein Center. Photography is allowed, but tripods and monopods are only welcome on Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m. Music events like Morning Music with Orchids and Evening with Orchids give visitors a chance to enjoy the talents of local musicians while surrounded by the beauty of the Orchid Show. Multiple adult education and family weekend classes will be offered relative to the exhibition. Visitors will be able to purchase the orchids displayed at the exhibition at a post-Orchid Show plant sale. Tickets for the Orchid Show are currently on sale. Adults $12 non-member/$10 member; children (3-12 years) and seniors (62 years and up) $10 non-member/$8 member; children under 3 are free.
Orchid Show Members’ Night – Friday, February 10 (5 to 7:30 p.m.)
Members get an exclusive visit to the Orchid Show the night before it opens to the public. See the rich colors of the orchids while enjoying live music from Callaloo, light refreshments and a cash bar. Orchid experts will be on hand to answer questions. Tickets are $30 per person.
Weekend Family Class: Sweet Treats: Cold Eats – Sunday, February 11, or Saturday, February 24 (9:30-11 a.m. or 1-2:30 p.m.)
Together, adults and children can explore cool things about how plants connect to 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. 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. Preregistration required. Visit https://www.chicagobotanic.org/familyprograms for fees and registration.
Morning Music with Orchids – Tuesdays, February 13 through March 8 (10-11 a.m.)
Enjoy an indoor concert at the Orchid Show on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Each week features different local musicians. The free, hour-long concerts take place in Nichols Hall.
Weekend Family Class: Make Your Own Butter and Pancakes – Saturday, March 4, or Sunday, March 10 (9:30-11 a.m. or 1-2:30 p.m.)
Together, adults and children can explore cool things about how plants connect to 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. Your next homemade breakfast won’t be the same after you learn how fun and easy it is to make your own butter. What better to way to enjoy your butter than by spreading it onto delicious buttermilk pancakes? Participants will learn about the plants used to make breakfast and get recipes to replicate this delectable feast at home. Preregistration required. Visit https://www.chicagobotanic.org/familyprograms for fees and registration.
Illinois Orchid Society Show & Sale – Saturday, March 10, and Sunday, March 11 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday)
See artistically arranged displays of orchids—from the rarest species to cultivated hybrids – vying for ribbons at the Illinois Orchid Society’s show. After the show, buy your own orchid and growing supplies at the society’s sale to take home and cultivate your own beautiful blooms.
Weekend Family Class: Pizza Party– Sunday, March 18 or Saturday, March 24 (9:30-11 a.m. or 1-2:30 p.m.)
Together, adults and children can explore cool things about how plants connect to 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. Pizza has lots of ingredients from the garden—tomatoes, wheat, herbs and all vegetables. Learn how these plants grow and how they are used to make pizza. Participants will plant their own herb garden to take home. Preregistration required. Visit https://www.chicagobotanic.org/familyprograms for fees and registration.
Post Orchid Show Plant Sale – March 29 (10 a.m. to noon for Garden Plus Members; noon to 2 p.m. for members; 2 to 4 p.m. for non-members)
Take home one of the plants featured in the Orchid Show at the post-show sale. Early entry times are based on membership levels. The sale opens to the general public at 2 p.m.