Chicago Botanic Garden

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The Chicago Botanic Garden is a 385-acre public garden and living plant museum in a suburb of Chicago. It is laid out across nine islands in the Cook County Forest Preserve.

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It is one of only 17 public gardens in the USA to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums due to its extensive horticultural library and its research laboratories. It has the largest membership of any US Public Garden with over 50,000 members.

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The Chicago Horticultural Society manages the garden, though it is on land owned by the forest preserve. The Society, which was founded in 1890, adopted the mission to create a public garden in 1962. It took ten years to realize this goal.

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My daughter and I flew into Chicago for Memorial Day weekend a few years ago. Upon landing, we picked up her friend and went right to the garden where we waited in a pretty long line to pay the entry fee. Once inside the gates, we had a surprisingly good lunch in the visitors center cafe and mapped out our plan.

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There are 27 distinct gardens in four natural habitats and with only half a day we couldn’t really see everything. It was early in the season and blooms were just beginning to emerge.

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There was tram tour, but we decided to just walk around the loop and enjoy the scenery.

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Location: 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL 60022

Designation: Public Garden

Date designated or established: 1972

Date of my visit: 5/23/2015

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The Carillon Bell Tower is a stand-out feature in the park. Constructed in 1986 with bells made in Holland, its summer concerts are a major attraction for the garden.

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