I have been a member of the Chicago Botanic Garden for the last five years. I feel like I am in Heaven and there is beauty around every corner. I used to take my double stroller and walk around aimlessly when my kids were still infants. It gave me a couple hours of sanity and a chance to rebuild my brain cells. I still love going there but now I feel like I have to be on constant Mommy patrol herding in the cattle and reminding them they can look but not touch.
I heard that the Morton Arboretum has a children’s garden so we decided to check it out this week. I made sure to pack a lunch because you can drop a small fortune feeding your kids here. It isn’t cheap to get in (http://www.mortonarb.org/visit-explore/plan-visit/admission-and-hours) but the reciprocal program with the Botanic Garden brought down the cost significantly. They offer free admission to active-duty service and men and women with a valid ID. The kids were wet, dirty, and exhausted by the time we reached the car but they had a chance to explore and be kids.
The Children’s Garden
The Children’s Garden is located right outside the Visitor Center. It is home to tree houses, ponds, play grounds, game stations, art stations, and look out points. Children are encouraged to touch, play, and explore.
My kids spent over an hour at the Wonder Pond. They collected tadpoles and balanced themselves while hopping on one rock to another. The pond is not deeper than a couple feet but deep enough that my kids were soaking wet when we left. It was 90 degrees out so it helped keep them cool but I wouldn’t dress them in their Sunday best.
Who wouldn’t love to paint with mud…you know the stuff that mom says to stay away from. Even my son, who runs the other way when he hears craft time, enjoyed a little mud art.
Tree Houses and Play Grounds- explore tunnels and slide down slides.
Playing checkers in one of the tree houses.
A water fountain that kids can actually play in without getting the stink eye!
We will definetly be going back and I will even consider becoming a member. Our next visit will include the large maze garden- which I have to admit scares me a little bit because it reminds me of the movie The Shinning. I would highly recommend taking your kids to the Morton Arboretum if you are looking to delight all their senses and wear them out.