Following through on its 2021 announcement, the Chicago Botanic Garden is now charging upon entry for the first time in its history.
The Glencoe institution initiated its new model on Friday, Feb. 3, at an online rate of $9.95 per Cook County resident age 13 and above and $7.95 per county child age 3-12 For nonresidents, the rates are bumped to $11.95 and $9.95 respectively. Children under 3 are free.
Parking rates, however, have been reduced from $25-$30 per car to $8. Van ($30) and bus/RV/limo ($65) prices remain the same.
In June of 2021, botanic garden officials said that admission fees were not a result of the pandemic; instead, they were researched prior to 2020 as a way to solidify the garden’s future financially and aesthetically.
“We are joining other leading cultural institutions to implement this pricing structure, which gives people the opportunity to get the best ticket price when purchasing in advance,” Julie McCaffrey, a spokesperson for the gardens, told The Record in 2021. “With plan-ahead pricing, visitors can choose a day that best accommodates their budget and schedule. The farther in advance tickets are purchased, the more a visitor is likely to save.”
As of press time, the botanic garden’s online admission calendar only extends through April 4 with each day marked at $9.95 or free (Feb. 7-13, March 7-13). Officials previously said that admission prices will depend on demand, weather and seasonality. The highest-demand days will cost guests more than $20 but will not exceed $23.95 for a county resident purchasing in advance, according to McCaffrey.
“The garden has carefully studied the need for implementing an admission fee to help ensure a strong financial future for the institution for generations to come,” she said last year.
Aligning with Chicagoland museums and zoos, the Chicago Botanic Garden will offer more than 50 free-admission days per year — at least 14 of which will come in peak season (April-October), officials said in 2021. Already scheduled, those days include the second Tuesday and Thursday of each month from April through September.
The botanic garden offers a membership program — $109 for individual, $149 for household — with a one-time payment that covers all admission and parking fees for a year.
The Botanic Garden, which opened in 1972, features 27 gardens and four natural areas across 385 acres. It also hosts classes and special events and features restaurants and gift shops.
While its hours of operation change, the botanic garden is open every day of the year. Currently, the hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
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