Looking for a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city? Head north to the Chicago Botanic Garden and spend the day taking in the colorful beauty of the natural world. Opened in 1972, the Garden is one of the most visited public gardens in the United States. Covering 385 acres, it includes 24 display gardens and four natural areas spread out across nine islands surrounded by lakes. Visitors can stroll through themed areas such as the Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, and English Walled Garden. Bird-watching enthusiasts will be in heaven with 225 different species of birds flying around the grounds and wildlife lovers can keep an eye out for deer, foxes, coyotes and beavers.
For those wanting a quick overview of the Garden, 35-minute tram tours whisk you around the grounds while describing all of the highlights. Photography buffs might consider joining one of the free photography tours offered the first Saturday of each month. Other activities change with the seasons but may include flower shows, children’s story time, and art exhibitions.
The Chicago Botanic Garden is located at 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe, Illinois, about 20 miles northeast of Chicago. It is within walking distance of the Braeside Metra station on the Union Pacific North line, which runs from downtown Chicago’s Ogilve Transportation Center . For train schedules, visit www.metrarail.com. From the Braeside station, walk west one mile along Lake Cook Road to the entrance. Parking is also available at $20 per car.
Admission to the Garden is free and hours are generally 8 a.m. to sunset. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org for information about tour schedules and special events, as well as suggested.
Photo courtesy of Cbgde08 via Wikimedia Commons