Temporary Closure FAQs

Why is the Garden closed? 

All gardens, grounds, and buildings on the Glencoe campus are closed to the public through June 30, in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. In addition, most Windy City Harvest operations are closed to the public; starting May 7, the Farm on Ogden’s indoor market will be open with reduced hours. Small but critical crews are on-site at the Garden and farms, working safely to tend to our grounds and plants, as well as other necessary operations.

Why can’t the outdoor spaces of the Garden remain open?

With a very limited staff and no volunteers on-site, we are unable to receive visitors, help people who need assistance, or enforce health and safety measures, such as social distancing, and other guidelines mandated by government officials. For now, our crews are focused on tending to our grounds so we’ll be ready to reopen and welcome you back when it’s safe to do so.

How is the Garden different than golf courses, state parks, and garden centers, which were able to open starting May 1?

While the state of Illinois is allowing some state parks to reopen, the Chicago Botanic Garden does not fall under the same category. The Garden is a living museum. The state parks that were selected to reopen and other Forest Preserves of Cook County sites that are open are much larger than the Garden, allowing more room for social distancing and maintaining government guidelines. In addition, the Garden requires more on-site staffing than state parks and Forest Preserves, even to open the perimeter road for walkers. Garden staff are required to allow for entry, to help people who need assistance, and to provide security.

Is the portion of the North Branch Trail that runs through the Garden open? 

The extension of the North Branch Trail that runs through the east side of the Garden is currently closed to pedestrian and bike traffic during the temporary closure.

How did you come up with the July 1 open date? 

The Illinois stay-at-home directive has been extended through May 30. As a responsible employer, we need to consider the safety of Garden staff and their families. Right now, we have a reduced, critical operations staff on site that is focused on taking care of our living collections and signature gardens. When the stay-at-home order ends, we will begin to bring back additional staff and volunteers to ready the Garden for opening to visitors. If we are able to safely open the Garden earlier than July 1, we will do so.  

Will memberships be extended because the Garden is closed?

Yes. We are automatically extending active memberships by two months. No action is necessary on your part. The barcode 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.

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. Your parking decal will be updated before you receive your materials so you can still gain access to the Garden when we reopen. 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.

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 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.

Do you have online programming available? 

While we are closed, we are keeping the mission of the Garden alive across many fronts and bringing the Garden to the public through our website and social media channels. Our content includes topics around spring blooms, wellness tips, and nature-based activities for the whole family. Although all classes scheduled through June 30 have been canceled, we are starting to make online classes available, including yoga and photography.

How can I keep up with what’s happening at the Garden?

We’re finding new ways to share the beauty of the Garden with you. Members and those who sign up for our emails receive exclusive weekly emails highlighting plants in bloom, videos, DIY articles, and more. Please stay in touch through social media and our website, and sign up for email updates.

When will the Garden reopen?

We want to thank you for understanding that this is an evolving situation. The Garden is monitoring the situation daily and following health and safety guidelines from federal, state, and local public health officials. We hope to reopen July 1 and if we’re able to safely open the Garden before then, we will do so. We’ll let you know of any changes as soon as possible.

How can I help the Garden?

Renew your membership early and, if you are able, please make a donation to the Chicago Botanic Garden. Being closed during our peak spring season will have a huge impact on our budget. Your generosity is critical as we brace for the immediate impact of this crisis. Every contribution ensures the future of Chicago Botanic Garden’s collections and programming—and the well-being of our community and staff.

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.