New to the Chicago Botanic Garden for Summer 2012

New to the Chicago Botanic Garden for Summer 2012

I recently had the chance to spend the morning exploring new additions to the Chicago Botanic Garden. This family destination has long been a favorite of ours, but we were thrilled to have a chance to move beyond the Japanese Gardens and model trains to check out something new on our most recent visit.

We had the opportunity to explore both the Grunsfeld Children’s Garden and the Butterflies & Blooms exhibition. Both of these exhibits are off of the main path at the Chicago Botanic Garden and you might miss them entirely if you didn't know to look for them.

At the Grunsfeld Children's Garden, my kids has a chance to participate in a drop-in activity about plant parts and plant their very own marigold to take home. They mostly loved strolling through the different garden beds with a water bottle spraying the various plants. Seriously, they would have been happy to do this for hours. This garden area is intimate and pristine (with perfect, gorgeous sedum growing vertically and every bed perfectly maintained). However, despite that fact that everything was in its place, the garden still felt like a place where kids could freely explore (without getting into any trouble).

We left the garden and walked a short distance to the new Butterflies & Blooms space, an outdoor butterfly garden where visitors can immerse themselves with hundreds of live tropical butterfly species from around the world. Butterflies native to South America, Asia, North America and Africa as well as native species from Illinois are featured in the 2,800-square-foot white mesh enclosure. This place is a little piece of heaven. I loved the option of a field guide to help identify dozens of species in the exhibition. My kids were captivated by the opportunity to observe butterflies hatching through a window into the pupa emergence room.

A sudden thunderstorm cut our visit short, but overall, it was a delightful summer morning. We will most definitely be back

Disclosure: I was offered free admission to the Chicago Botanic Garden and given  a coupon for a complimentary return visit in exchange for sharing my thoughts. Can't wait to go back again!!!

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