Chicago Flower and Garden Show

Kids can get hands dirty at local show


By Liz DeCarlo

Senior Editor

If you thought visiting a garden show was only for master gardeners who have all day to worry about what to plant, think again. At this month's Chicago Flower & Garden Show, organizers are hoping to draw in children and young families through everything from a bug zoo to workshops on how to start your own vegetable garden.

"We want to get kids in and teach them that it's fun," says Tony Abruscato, show director. "They think vegetables come from the grocery store. We want to educate them early and make it a way of life."

To that end, the garden show features a giant sandbox, garden-themed crafts and activities, and the always-popular bug zoo.

"We have Madagascar cockroaches as big as your hand, and these big slugs," Abruscato says. "The parents cringe, but the kids love it. And it's educational, because there are good bugs and bad bugs. The master gardeners teach about what the worms do for the soil."

And, for parents who are already skilled gardeners, the show offers plenty of more advanced-level gardens and workshops.

"We have 70 to 100 different free seminars once you enter the show. From vegetable gardening to shade gardening to very sophisticated topics," Abruscato says.

"And for the young families or new gardeners, we have industry professionals there you can talk to and ask questions."


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