The Chicago Botanic Garden is the gem of the North Shore. It’s sprawling campus delights the senses with displays of color and nature unseen anywhere else in the area. As the temperature falls, don’t write off this natural wonder as a nice weather activity, the winter dress only enhances the garden’s beauty (and there is plenty to do indoors to keep you warm!)
One of our most favorite holiday traditions is to visit Wonderland Express at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It’ is such a magical place for my children that any time we set out to go anywhere over their holidays they ask if we’re going to “Wonderland.”
I encourage you to pick up a scavenger hunt before you go in. Volunteers pass them out at the entrance. It’s especially helpful if you have a mixed age group of kids. My own children range in age from 2 to 10 and while my 2-year-old can stand at the same display for hours my 8 and 10-year-old love to race each other through the scavenger hunt.
Besides the trains there is an enchanting display of topiary trees and whimsical combinations of bromeliad air plants, ferns, echeveria, aloe and more as well as one of kind wreaths (which are also for sale.) Each weekend there are also drop-in family activities available. Last year my kids made birdfeeders and played in snow.
Please remember all vehicles must pay for parking onsite or purchase in advance. Admission to the Chicago Botanic Garden is FREE; however, tickets are required for the Wonderland Express exhibit. For December 16, 2016 – January 2, 2017, tickets are $13 for adults and $10 for children ages 3 to 12, children 2 and under are free. The Garden is offering a Winter Family Fun Pack which provides a discount of up to 45% off and includes parking and admission for 5.
Wonderland Express is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. through January 2, 2016. The exhibit will close early (3:00 p.m.) on December 24th and will be closed all day on December 25th.
Disclosure: Melissa is an ambassador for the garden and her family has received a membership in exchange for me sharing updates, events, and activities at the garden. All thoughts and opinions are her own.