Opening this weekend is a garden more than 5 years in the making. The Regenstein Learning Campus at the Chicago Botanic Garden is the capstone in an effort to provide a space at the garden everyone from the very youngest to the oldest.
This weekend the Chicago Botanic Garden will be celebrating the opening of this beautiful center with two days of activities. This free event (regular parking rates apply) will feature music, family drop-in activities, free plants and more.
My youngest and I got a sneak peak at the end of August, he is a super active little guy and he loved it so much he cried when we left and literally asks every day when we are going back (we’ve already been back once!). If your kids have dragged their feet through the garden or asked what else is there but flowers, they are going to love the new Children’s Play Garden – the centerpiece of the learning center.
The play garden has everything a child could need to explore and connect with nature, and without parental prompting! Huge rolling hills that were made for running and rolling. The hills are covered in the softest, plushiest grass I have ever felt. I kicked off my shoes and enjoyed it while the kids gleefully rolled up and down the hills and jumped off rocks.
The new water feature (called a runnel) features a river and bubbling rock that the kids can wade and walk in. It’s perfect for cooling off on hot days and it was hard to tear the kids away from it! But tear we must because there is also a play area with trees to climb and explore and a hut to hide in. The whole area is a feast for the senses with every aspect chosen for qualities that would work together and intrigue children with color, scent, texture and even sound.
The garden and the learning center complete the learning campus which opened up the Kleinman Family Cove and the Gruensfield Children’s Growing Garden back in 2012. The garden now has the only area it was lacking – a truly fun place for kids to let loose and be kids. It also has a new vibrant gathering place that is accessible to people of all abilities to enjoy and explore nature together.
Come to the free Opening Celebration, September 10 and 11, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; parking fees apply. Enjoy live music and activities, take home a free plant, and more. Take 10 percent off classes when you sign up on-site on opening weekend.
**Note that the best place to park for the Regenstein Campus and Children’s Play Garden is lots 5 &6, the very first lots when you come and follow the path towards the center – you do not need to enter or go through the visitors center to get to this part of the garden. Making it even more perfect for short trips with little kids!
The Chicago Botanic Gardens is open daily. Admission is free, but parking is $25 per vehicle. For easier entry, purchase your parking in advance. For discounts on parking, contact your library for a Museum Pass.
Disclosure: I am an ambassador for the garden and my family has received a membership in exchange for me sharing updates, events, and activities at the garden. All thoughts and opinions are my own