Visiting FAQs

Please wear a mask

What safety measures are in place?

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.

Please remember these important guidelines:

  • Please practice social distancing and stay 6 feet away from people outside your own party, including Garden staff, and whenever inside buildings.
  • Face coverings are required when 6 feet of social distancing cannot be maintained, including on congested pathways, whenever indoors, and when talking with Garden staff.
  • A face covering is required at the Garden View Café, Garden Shop, the Model Railroad Garden, and Grand Tram Tours.
  • If you are sick, or have been in contact with someone who is sick, please stay home.

How does preregistration work?

Members and visitors must register in advance on our website. Preregistration for timed entry is required for all visitors—including Garden members. Click here for hours and to register

Timed-entry passes are not required for members of the President’s Circle.

For member preregistration, you will need to either log in or have your membership number to gain entry to the website to register for a timed entry. You can find your membership number on your member card.

When you register for a certain date and time, you will receive a “timed ticket.” Registration is per car, not the number of people who will be visiting. Please note that there is limited availability. After a session is filled, we will not release additional time slots. If you have questions about ticketing, please email customersupport@chicagobotanic.org and someone will contact you.

What do I need to show at the Gatehouse to prove I made a reservation in advance?

When you arrive, please display your ticket printout on your dashboard or show your ticket on your mobile phone, even if you have a member decal in your car. Your ticket will be a PDF attachment on your reservation confirmation email. There is no entry without proof of preregistration.

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 (e.g., 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.

I have a membership parking decal on my windshield. Why do I need a timed reservation?

For the health and safety of our members, visitors, and staff, we are only allowing a certain number of cars, and thus people, on-site at any given time. Therefore, we need everyone, including members, to preregister for a timed entry. We need to monitor the number of people on-site to avoid overcrowding and jeopardizing the ability of people to safely social distance.

Can I make a reservation on-site?

No. All members and visitors must preregister for timed-entry tickets.

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.

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

There are a few extra steps you will need to take to use your reciprocal membership. You will need to preregister and pay for a timed entry as a nonmember. On the day of your visit, please bring your receipt, proof of membership, and the credit card you used to preregister to the membership desk in the Visitor Center. We will issue you a refund. Questions? Email membershipcustomerservice@chicagobotanic.org.

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 is the parking policy for educators?

Starting July 6, Illinois primary and secondary educators may receive free parking weekdays only, except Wednesdays, through December 31, 2020. No preregistration necessary. Not applicable during weekends and evening ticketed events (e.g., Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns, Lightscape). Please present your ID at the entry Gatehouse (one car/van vehicle per entry). For free parking every day year-round, purchase an Educator Membership!

What services are limited?

Restrooms and other facilities: Restrooms in the Visitor Center and Regenstein Center’s Greenhouse Galleries will be the only restrooms open. Portable toilets, including those that are ADA accessible, and hand-sanitizer stations will be available at several locations, including in front of the Visitor Center and just south of the Plant Science Center. Please bring your own water, as drinking fountains will not be available. It is not possible to ensure that benches and other common surface areas are sanitized at all times; please act accordingly.

Dining: The Garden Grille is open, as is the barista station in the Garden View Café, and a grab-and-go café on the Esplanade. Credit card payments only. There will be seating, at socially distanced tables, on the decks. See the dining page for menus and more information.

Shopping: The Garden Shop is open. Entry is via the Lakeside Deck. Capacity is limited. A face covering must be worn at all times while inside the shop.

Canceled events: The Evenings program of summer music, Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival, summer family drop-ins, and other programs are canceled. Click here for more information.
Summer attractions: The Bright Encounters Tram is closed for the season.

Gardens: Some areas with tight, restricted entrances or spaces may be closed due to social distancing guidelines. These include Spider Island, some paths on Evening Island, areas of the Circle Garden, and paths within the Dwarf Conifer Garden and the Waterfall Garden.

Buildings: The Regenstein Center and Greenhouses, Regenstein Learning Center, and the Plant Science Center are closed until further notice. Restrooms in the Greenhouse Galleries are open.

Wheelchairs and scooters: Wheelchairs will be available for loan. Electric scooters will not be available.

Picnic areas: The picnic area in Parking Lot 2 is open. It is not possible to ensure that picnic tables and other common surface areas are sanitized at all times; please act accordingly.

Trash: Do your part: Keep the Garden beautiful for all by carrying out your trash or placing it in receptacles.

What if I live in a state that is under travel quarantine guidelines?

The Chicago Botanic Garden is following all State of Illinois guidance for our region on COVID-19 policies. While the Garden is not located in the City of Chicago, we are in Cook County, which has issued COVID-19 Travel Guidance. We ask that visitors from outside the area check this site prior to visiting to help you make your decision. Should you choose not to visit the Garden due to the travel quarantine guidelines, we will offer a complete refund of any parking fees paid. To obtain that, please email our Customer Call Center at customersupport@chicagobotanic.org. Please include your current order number (found at the top of your confirmation email) along with your name, phone, and email address. You should receive a response 7-10 business days of your submission.

Will memberships be extended because the Garden was closed?

Yes. We are automatically extending active memberships by two months. No action is necessary on your part. The bar code on your membership card and your parking decal information will be updated automatically to reflect your new expiration date. When you renew, your new membership card(s) will have the new expiration date printed on them. If you have questions, please email MembershipCustomerService@chicagobotanic.org.

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

The membership team is operating remotely, so your materials will be delayed. 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?

Due to limited staffing because of COVID-19, renewal processing is taking longer than usual. This may cause your renewal and renewal notice to cross in the mail. If you have already renewed, please ignore the notice. We appreciate your patience as you wait for your materials.

Can I buy or renew a membership at the Garden? And can I pick up my membership gift?

The membership desk in the Visitor Center will be open with limited staff. They can help you purchase or renew memberships and pick up membership gifts.

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

Because of the COVID-19 health crisis, we have had to cancel some programs, classes, and exhibitions. This includes all nights of the summer Evenings program as well as the Art Festival. Other programs will be modified or have been postponed. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. Please visit our list; it will be continually updated, so check back often.

I registered for a class or event that has been canceled. What should I do?

Our customer service team will work with you directly to make appropriate accommodations, including options for credit toward any future Garden purchases (including membership), donating your expenditure for a tax deduction, or a refund. The Garden customer service team will be handling a significant number of inquiries, and calls to our customer service line may experience significant delays. Please email customersupport@chicagobotanic.org and someone will contact you.

How do I reach the Garden?  

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