Color takes wing at the Botanic Garden
Some 500-600 butterflies will live in the new "Butterflies & Blooms" tent at the Chicago Botanic Garden | Photo courtesy Chicago Botanic Garden
‘Butterflies & Blooms’
Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, weather permitting
Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for children (ages 3-12). Combination tickets are available for “Butterflies & Blooms” and the Model Railroad Garden at $8 for adults; $5 for children (ages 3-12). A Model Railroad Garden and/or “Butterflies & Blooms” 10-visit pass is available for $30 (one punch per person in the party entering). Members receive $1 off each price. Garden Plus members are free on Wednesdays
The Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden is free
Admission to the Chicago Botanic Garden is free; parking is $20; Chicago Botanic Garden members park for free
Call (847) 835-5440 or see chicagobotanic.org
Updated: June 1, 2012 10:05AM
Flowers of the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe get some bright, airborne competition when “Butterflies & Blooms,” a tented butterfly garden, debuts on June 2.
“This is going to be a mesh tent where visitors come and they walk through in an immersive experience where at any one time there’ll be anywhere up to 500 to 600 different butterflies floating around landing on you,” noted Harriet Resnick, vice president of visitor experience and business development at the Garden.
Unlike the butterfly garden at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park, which is a greenhouse and open year-round, this one will be outdoors and only open in the summer.
Visitors can come here and “hopefully fall in love with the experience and then [know] that there’s somewhere else to go in Chicago the other nine months of the year to have the same kind of experience,” Resnick said.
“Butterflies & Blooms” will feature species from around the world including South America, Asia, North America and Africa, as well as native species from Illinois. In total there will be over 18,000 different species of butterflies, Resnick said.
Plants will also be a focus in the butterfly tent because the butterflies need many different types of nectar plants to live, Resnick explained. The exhibit will also tell the story of butterflies as pollinators.
“There’s so much going on in the world right now about lack of pollinators and what that means in terms of our plants, and our mission is really to educate people about plants and the natural world,” she said.
One of the exhibits within the tent is a pupa emergence room, a glass case where children and adults can, through a window, watch butterflies hatch.
Butterflies generally live for three to five weeks. The Garden will receive new shipments of butterflies every few weeks, Resnick said. The Garden has had to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, she said, to properly dispose of butterflies.
Butterflies can thrive until the temperature drops into the fifties, Resnick said. They can survive in rain and so they should be fine throughout the summer months, she added.
New kids’ place
Also opening June 2 is the Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden, where children ages 2-10 can learn about planting, pollination, and other horticulture topics.
The Grunsfeld Garden, at the north end of the Botanic Garden and adjacent to the “Butterflies & Blooms” tent, will provide a spot for children to have active planting experiences, noted Eileen Prendergast, youth and family programs director at the Garden.
“The most accessible interactive experience for the public in the Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden will be the drop-in activities,” Prendergast said. Those will take place from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, June through September.
On June 3, for example, a drop-in program called “Plant Parts” will teach children about the parts of a plant. On June 9 and 10, a program called “Wiggle Worms” will introduce children to the Garden’s worm composting bins and tell how worms help to break down plant material into fertile soil.
“For an even more immersive experience, parents will want to enroll their children in Camp CBC (Chicago Botanic Garden), which will feature even more hands-on experiences in the garden,” Prendergast added.