Ever since I moved to Chicago almost a decade ago, I told myself I would hold off on going to the Botanic Garden. I wanted to wait until my mother came to visit because I knew she would enjoy it due to her love of gardening. Years passed by, and when she did visit, we seemed too preoccupied with other activities. It dawned on me this year that I still had not been to this phenomenal place I keep hearing such wonderful things about. So, I finally made my way up to the Chicago Botanic Garden, and I must say it was more than phenomenal – it was closer to miraculous!
Located on 385 acres of land on and around nine islands in Glencoe (just north of the city), the Chicago Botanic Garden consists of 26 gardens and four natural areas. Thank goodness they have a map, because even with it, I got lost several times. I underestimated the amount of time it would take to walk through the entire place. Needless to say, I’ll have to go back to explore what I missed, but I’m certainly not complaining about that. I welcome the opportunity to go again.
Though it’s huge, strolling through each garden at your leisure is the perfect way to spend a beautiful day. It is such a calming and relaxing experience. Trams are also available, but I like to take my own sweet time gazing at flowers, reading signs and taking pictures, so I didn’t bother with the tram. Honestly, words cannot describe the splendor of this place. The Japanese Garden was so serene with curved paths, stone lanterns and perfectly placed bonsai trees. I truly felt as though I had crossed a bridge over into Japan. Later I entered the English Walled Garden and felt as though I was in London, viewing the Kensington Gardens. The six different garden rooms each had their own distinct charm, with fountains and benches on which to sit and enjoy the climbing vines and astounding dichotomy of colors. The lotuses and water lilies in the Water Gardens captivated my attention, as did the 45 foot waterfall that fed the small pools in the Waterfall Garden. Black-eyed Susans, hydrangeas, dahlias, weeping willow trees and the multitude of hues were almost more than my eyes could happily bear. Did I mention how fantastic the sunset is as it reflects off the water through the willow trees? I could go on forever about the beauty found in each garden.
I simply cannot believe I have been missing out on this superb Chicago experience for all these years. I can’t wait to go back each and every season to experience the changing exquisiteness of this place. If you want to step out of the city by yourself or with friends and family, the Chicago Botanic Garden is the perfect escape. Go now and often; I promise you will not regret it. I’m going this fall, winter AND the next time my mother comes to visit.
Admission is free, but if you drive it is $25 per car to park. However, it is only $10 on Tuesdays for senior citizens. It is open 8 am – sunset (typically 7pm).
Information taken from: http://www.chicagobotanic.org/