Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Botanic Garden’

Another reason to visit the Chicago Botanic Garden

Drive into the Chicago botanic Garden on Lake Cook Road in Glencoe but instead of trying to park in the lot closest to the Information entrance, turn left into Lot 6. That’s because the Garden, a 385-acre fun destination any time of year, has a new attraction worth exploring as of Sept. 10, 2016.

Youngsters climb, roll and explore a new nature play area at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Photo: Jodie Jacobs

Youngsters climb, roll and explore a new nature play area at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Photo: Jodie Jacobs

Its  new, three-plus acre area bears the lofty title of Regenstein Learning Campus, however, the grounds are a place to play and explore.

Youngsters roll down grassy mounds, wriggle through tree trunk tunnels and splash along a  shallow, winding rivulet in the Nature Play Garden reminiscent of  TV’s “Teletubby” landscape.

Other connected outside areas can be visited but are used for pre-school and older activities and for aquatic learning. Inside the Learning Campus building are preschool spaces, a room outfitted with microscopes and a kitchen for food demonstrations.

This is where some of the family drop-in activities will happen Saturdays and Sundays Sept. 17 through Oct. 23, 2016 and probably the family weekend classes that  make gingerbread and coca in December.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, IL 60022. For parking and other information call (847) 835-5440 and visit CBG.

 

Extend summer by doing something special Labor Day weekend

Take advantage of that extra day off work for a last-minute vacation.

Fit in a Door County vacation to end the summer

Fit in a Door County vacation to end the summer

Door County, a Wisconsin peninsula separating Green Bay from Lake Michigan, is about 3 ½ hours north of Chicago. This is a place to just kick back, hike and bike the state parks and visit art galleries.

However, for a special treat, try to snag a ticket to “Grand Eloquence,” the peninsula’s last classical chamber concert of the summer season, Sept. 2 at 3 p.m. and plan to return home late Monday afternoon.

The concert is a repeat of one that sold out early in the series that is held in a fabulous, Gatsby-style, 35,000 square foot Ellison Bay estate.  The program is Gustav Mahler’s Quartet Movement in A minor for Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano.

A dressy casual  (no shorts or flip flops) event, catered by Alexander’s of Door County, the concert benefits United Way of Door County and Midsummer’s Music Festival. Tickets are $150. For more information call 920-854-7088 and visit Midsummer Music.

Or, for summer’s waning days, plan trips to the northern suburbs of Chicago.

Check out butterflies or stroll the paths at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Check out butterflies or stroll the paths at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Visit the Chicago Botanic Garden. A butterfly is sure to land on your shoulder at “Butterflies and Blooms” in the garden’s net-enclosure. But the happening ends Sept. 2.

Fit in a visit to Long Grove. A historic village, settled in the mid-1800s, the town is home to such tasty shops as Long Grove Confectionery. However, it also has stores that carry wares from Italy, Ireland and other countries. Labor Day weekend features “Long Grove Around the World” to celebrate those shops.

Cap the weekend off with a picnic on the lawn and  concert at Ravinia Festival.

You can still picnic under the trees at Ravinia or get a dinner music package on Labor Day Weekend

You can still picnic under the trees at Ravinia or get a dinner music package on Labor Day Weekend

At Ravinia, hear violinist Johnny Gandelsman  play selections by Bach, Stravinsky, Glass and Biber Sept. 1 or pianist David Fung play Ravel, Scarlatti, Rachmaninoff Beethoven Sept. 2. Both concerts are 6 p.m. in Bennett Gordon Hall. Dinner packages are available. For tickets and more information visit Ravinia.

Photos (C) Jodie Jacobs

Spring blooms and great city equal a vacation destination

Second in series on Spring vacation destinations is Chicago and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Warm weather welcomed visitors to Chicago even though the calendar said it was only the second weekend in April.

Couples were downing salads and sandwiches on the Park Grill patio at the edge of Millennium Park.

Visitors head up the paths in Millennium Park to see its Frank Gehry sculptured roof of the Pritztker Pavilion and Cloud Gate. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Visitors head up the paths in Millennium Park to see its Frank Gehry sculptured roof of the Pritztker Pavilion and Cloud Gate. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Youngsters were dashing up the park’s steps for a closer look at Cloud Gate, known as The Bean and the wild Frank Gehry sculptural roof of the Pritzker Pavilion

About 20 miles north, visitors kept pouring into the Chicago Botanic Garden by bike, SUV and on foot.

Spring had finally come to Chicago.

April and May are fine times to make Chicago a vacation destination. Paths along Lake

Michigan are not yet crammed with beach-goers. The Magnificent Mile of North Michigan Avenue isn’t jammed with shoppers and lookers. The theater and symphony seasons are still in full swing. Museums don’t have lines out the door.

Spring has come to Chicago and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Spring has come to Chicago and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

And about a half hour drive north, colorful blossoms line the Chicago Botanic Garden entrance, paths and surprise visitors around every corner.

Where to stay:

As a convention city, Chicago is blessed with more than 100,000 hotel rooms so finding one that meets budget, style and location specifications is usually easy.

Hotels with special stay and play packages usually list their current deals at

Parking in Chicago is pricy so look for a package that includes parking.

A recent check of hotel deals listed W Chicago Lakeshore which is convenient to Navy Pier, the Amalfi Hotel which is convenient to North Michigan Avenue shopping and the Hyatt Regency which is near Millennium Park.

What to do:

Check the Chicago Symphony Orchestra schedule. Symphony Center is across Michigan Avenue from Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago.

There is always something special to see at the Art Institute of Chicago. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

There is always something special to see at the Art Institute of Chicago. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

See “Kings, Queens and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France” at the Art Institute of Chicago through May 30, 2011.

The exhibit ends with a work by Leonardo da Vinci and his studio.

While there, be sure to explore the galleries either side of the special exhibit’s Regenstein hallways to see fine Whistlers and works of other famed artists.

Also take the elevator from the modern wing upstairs to the rooftop patio. Visitors can snap a great view of Millennium Park and the skyhline even if they aren’t eating in the adjacent restaurant.

The Art Institute's rooftop patio is a great place to look down onto Millennium Park and take in the skyline. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

The Art Institute's rooftop patio is a great place to look down onto Millennium Park and take in the skyline. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Go over to the Merchandise Mart on the Chicago River, a few blocks west of Michigan Avenue. The main floor has showrooms open to the public with great home decorating ideas. If at the Mart April 29 through May 2 see Art Chicago, an international fair that showcases contemporary and modern works.

Take a Chicago River Architectural Tour. Spring is the start of the boat tour season and Chicago is known as an architectural destination. Several organizations and companies offer good tours.

Drive north to Glencoe on I94 to Lake Cook Road and turn east for half a mile to the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Spring blooms such as Dutch Crocus, surprise walkers around every curve and path at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Spring blooms such as Dutch Crocus, surprise walkers around every curve and path at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Spring is a fun time to explore its paths. Just about every turn uncovers another bulb opening or another plot of color. Take paths through the Japanese Islands and other islands to watch birds returning north and see trees beginning to bloom.

Stop in the Circle Garden to see colorful foxglove set against artistic fountain sprays and see what’s blooming in the English Garden and in the vegetable gardens.

Even though the weather is fine for walking outdoors, save time to visit the greenhouses to see cute topiaries and find out what is blooming indoors.

Add the Garden to a Chicago vacation.

Five ways to flavor your family holiday visit with fun and flair

Whether in or out of town, the next family Thanksgiving or winter holiday get together is also a chance to record old traditions and start some new ones.

Best, is to ink in some of the suggestions on the calendar so the holiday does not jump up before you are ready. Early November is not too early to start your planning.

Wreathing the Lions at the Art Institute of Chicago is a day after Thanksgiving tradition that includes several family activities

Wreathing the Lions at the Art Institute of Chicago is a day after Thanksgiving tradition that includes several family activities

1. Cell phone cameras are OK but if you want a high quality photo to save don’t forget to pack or have on hand a decent point and shoot camera. Some of them, such as Casio and Canon have movie capability. Digging into the turkey or ham, curling up on sofa or floor to play a board game or gazing at a tree or menorah lighting are memorable moments when someone says oops, who has a camera?

2. Add a new place to check out or a new activity to try. Sure it is tough to squeeze in research time before everyone comes or before you leave for the visit, but just adding a new adventure each year adds an element of excited anticipation. Chances are there are new exhibits at a museum you haven’t visited for ages, a nearby town that celebrates the holidays Dickens style, a forest preserve to hike or a family show, musical or ballet to see.

Trains, lights and miniature landmarks are an annual holiday tradition at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe

Trains, lights and miniature landmarks are an annual holiday tradition at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe

3. Seek an agency that is collecting gifts or food and where to bring the items. Family members can add the items to their shopping lists and increase the season’s joy by sharing.

4. Start a new tradition of trading reading material or recommendations during the visit.  It will give people something new to read on the way home or even during down time while visiting. Donate finished reading material to libraries and senior centers.

5. No question holiday time is also eating time which makes it a good excuse to try a new restaurant. The place may even become a new family tradition. Consider ethnic eateries, breakfast places and some that are outside the neighborhood or town. Definitely make a reservation.

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