The Kleinman Family Cove

PHOTO: looking for aquatic life at the Family Cove

It's a center for teaching about the importance of water; a place to investigate aquatic plants and animals; and a resource for water conservation information. The Kleinman Family Cove, on the Chicago Botanic Garden's North Lake, along 800 feet of restored shoreline gardens, is all this—and more.

Designed by Oehme, van Sweden & Associates, the Cove opened in September 2012. Featuring a boardwalk, amphitheater, protected wading area, and native plants, the Cove enables students, adult educators, and visitors to learn about the critical role that freshwater systems play in the health of the natural world. With the nation's largest collection of aquatic plants and 81 acres of lakes and waterways, the Garden is uniquely positioned to teach about the importance of freshwater systems.


Cove Highlights

PHOTO: The Kleinman  Family Cove

  • A canopied outdoor amphitheater overlooks a small bay where students analyze aquatic animal life, assess water quality, and discover why water is important to human health.

  • On a broad boardwalk, students view aquatic plants at different depths, perform water tests, and sample water for aquatic creatures.
  • A demonstration garden reveals the importance of shoreline management and aquatic plants.
  • Interpretive signs allow even casual visitors to observe and understand aquatic wildlife and habitat.


The Cove serves 75,000 family members who take part in on-site programs, as well as thousands of students from Chicago Public Schools and other school districts. It is also an ideal site to host Camp CBG groups, Scouts, and participants in the Garden's Science Career Continuum programs. More than 1,000 teachers from early childhood through high school visit the Cove annually through teacher development programs aimed at improving environmental education. Visitors are welcome during Garden hours.

ILLUSTRATION: schematic of the learning campus, highlighting the Kleinman Family Cove.

The Kleinman Family Cove is made possible by the generous support of the Annette and Bernard Kleinman Family.