The Chicago Botanic Garden can be a tranquil, inspiring and colorful place for visitors and mini-visitors alike. One can be a gardening novice or ‘green thumb’ extraordinaire and still find fascination around the grounds. And best of all? Those who are curious or inspired now have a place to grow at the Regenstein Learning Campus.
What it is: A seven-acre learning campus for all ages
Where: At the Chicago Botanic Garden (1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, IL)
When: Sept. 10 (with opening celebrations on the Sept.10 and 11 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.)
Why: To connect people with the environment through year-round classes/programs
Below is my simple guide to perusing the Campus like a pro:
Walk right onto campus and behold the Nature Play Garden
Think plump grassy hills, a willow tunnel, logs for leaping, stunning tree groves and even a runnel (narrow channel in the ground from which water flows). These are classic spots to run, play and explore … all the more fun if waterproof shoes are involved!
See the bees and smile if you please
Upon entering the campus building one can explore a bee habitat, take in the views from the gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows and capture Instagram-worthy snaps of Jo Hormuth’s colorful artwork adorning the walls.
Peruse the brightly lit hallways
Pause to read the various posters which feature horticulture history, Chicago significance and other garden whimsy. Don’t forget to peek into the kitchen classroom where one may be whipping up fresh salsa or a batch of tortilla chips.
Head to the early childhood classrooms
Sort building blocks, set up miniature houses and scope out the stocked bookcase. Step outside and take the classroom with you: water stations, art easels, mini-tables and even a mud kitchen put learning on a whole new level.
Return outdoors to the Nature Play Garden
Venture toward the natural “rooms” shaped using arborvitaes and hornbeams. Take a quick break on the grass as kiddos climb the Willy Wonka-esque rolling hills one last time (trust, they will want to explore these many times over).
As a friendly reminder, be sure to dress for exploration when visiting the Regenstein Learning Campus. Sunscreen is a must as are shoes/clothing that can withstand grass stains, a little dirt or water droplets (Hey, no one ever said exploring our world was a clean endeavor!).