Know Before You Go

Visiting FAQs

Please wear a mask

What safety measures are in place?

Per CDC recommendation: Wear a mask indoors.

We are monitoring guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health officials on safety measures to help slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). We ask that everyone take the same preventive measures you take in any other public space.

Do members need to preregister?

Chicago Botanic Garden members at all levels do not need to preregister to visit the Garden. Come any time, any day you’d like while we are open. Just have your membership card or decal with you for entry.

This applies to reciprocal members and corporate partner members, too.

Who needs to preregister?

If you are not a Garden member, you must preregister for a specific date and timed-entry ticket and pay for your parking in advance.

Anyone with a complimentary parking pass or entry privileges (i.e., active military, etc.) does not need to preregister.

If I have a library pass or other parking offer do I have to preregister?

No, those who have special or complimentary/reduced rate passes do not need to pre-register. They can show their pass and pay for their parking at the Gatehouse.

How do you preregister?

If you are not a Garden member, you can book your timed entry and parking. You only need to register for your car, not the number of people who will be visiting. You will need to display your “timed ticket” on your phone or in your car window. Your ticket will be a PDF attachment on your reservation confirmation email. The receipt will be emailed from

For nonmembers, there is no entry without a reservation, and entries will not be available at the door. Parking fees apply.

Please note: The North Branch Trail extension is open during Garden hours; no preregistration required for bicyclists or walkers.

Why do nonmembers need to preregister and members do not? 

At this time, open access is a benefit we offer to members. We will continue to require nonmembers to preregister for a timed entry, in order to make visiting the Garden a more pleasant experience for all. Become a member to visit without preregistering and to get free parking.

Will my visit be limited to the time frame on my ticket?

No, once you enter you may stay as long as you’d like. However, your visit must start within the time frame on your ticket (i.e., 8 to 9 a.m.). If you register for the final time slot, you must leave by closing time.

Can I get a refund for my parking? Can I change the date?

No. Parking tickets are non-refundable and cannot be exchanged for a different date. Tickets are valid rain or shine.

Can I make a reservation on-site?

No. If you are not a Garden member, you must preregister for a specific date and timed-entry ticket and pay for your parking in advance via our website or by calling (847) 835-6801.

If I visit the Garden by bike or walking, will I still need to preregister in advance?

No. The preregistration applies to anyone visiting by car. Access via the North Branch Trail is open to anyone during the hours the Garden is open.

Is preregistration required for Butterflies & Bloom, Model Railroad, or Grand Tram Tours?

No. Preregistration is not required for any of these. The Grand Tram and Butterflies & Blooms do have timed tickets, but capacity is much greater now than before. The Model Railroad does not have timed entry.

Do I need to purchase a ticket for Butterflies & Bloom, Model Railroad, or Grand Tram Tours?

Yes. You do need to purchase a ticket for each of these programs. Tickets can only be purchased on-site.

Can I use the American Horticultural Society reciprocal membership for entry to the Garden?

Yes. As a reciprocal member, you do not need to preregister in advance.

Do members of the military have to preregister for a timed entry?

No. The Garden would like to thank our active-duty U.S. military personnel and/or their families, reservists, and former POWs for their years of service with free parking. Please present your ID at the entry Gatehouse (one car/van vehicle per entry). No preregistration necessary.

What programs at the Garden are canceled, modified, or postponed?

Please visit our list; it will be updated as needed.

I haven’t received my membership materials. How long will it take to get them?

We appreciate your patience. If you renewed, joined, or requested a new or replacement card, you will get your card as soon as possible.

Why did I receive a membership renewal notice when I already sent in my renewal?

Your renewal and renewal notice may cross in the mail. If you have already renewed, please ignore the notice. We appreciate your patience as you wait for your materials.

How do I reach the Garden?  

Please contact us at We will get back to you as soon as possible. We apologize in advance for any delays.