A Parent’s Guide to the Chicago Flower & Garden Show

Read next

Flowers in March in Chicago? Yes! There are thousands of them at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show on Navy Pier. Held March 18-22, this annual event isn’t just for grownups. While the colorful sights, sweet smells and fish-filled ponds are for all ages, kids can really dig into the fun at the Kid’s Activity Garden. Read on to learn about the sandboxes, swings, and craft and garden projects that’ll have your kids sprouting smiles.


The Theme
Everything is made better with a theme, and this year’s Chicago Flower and Garden Show theme is 20/20 Focus on Flowers, which celebrates a new vision for a fresh new decade in Chicago.

Bug Out!
This ones for the kiddos who like get up close and personal with the bug world. The University of Illinois Master Gardeners will demonstrate how to pot a lettuce plant and Make a Butterfly. They will also man the Insect Petting Zoo where you have a chance to meet Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, Walking Sticks, Bess Beetles, Large African Millipedes, Smaller Millipedes, Ant Farms, Tarantulas, Fiddler Crabs, Crickets, Blue Death Feigning Beetles, Worm Composting and earthworms.

For the most adventurous kids, don’t miss the edible insects available for your protein-tasting pleasure, including Chirp Chips, flavored chips made from crickets as seen on Shark Tank.


Go Wild!
Make friends with the animals living in the Racine Zoo, like alligators, snakes, geckos and tenrecs (hmmmm, bonus – you get to find out what a tenrec is!). From 12:30 p.m.-4 p.m. you’ll receive and animal education and 1 p.m.-3 p.m. you can participate in the Animals of the World with touch opportunities.

Come in a Regular Kid, Leave a Princess
One of Chicago’s favorite toy stores, Building Blocks Toy Store, is hosting a flower crown making area perfect for kids ages 4 and up.

Discover What’s Lurking Below
Teach kids about fossil fuel, natural gas created millions of years ago from the remains of plants and animals. They begin their experience by dressing up as a Junior Excavator in a hard hat and vest – just like Nicor employees. They are then taught how natural gas pipelines deliver this energy source to homes and schools, and how pipelines are marked for our safety. Once kids mark the underground pipelines, they are free to dig for fossils and other buried treasure. This experience is available Saturday and Sunday, noon-3 p.m.

Take a Trip Around the World in the Story Garden
Thanks to British International School Lincoln Park, visitors can see what school green spaces look like in different countries, cities and climates and be inspired to create their own story. Kids can create story stones and play literacy-themed games in the story garden.

Other Activities to Look For
Building Blocks Toy Store is coming through again with a Play Spot which includes a putting green, board games and toys to keep young ones engaged. For the more active kids, make a visit to the indoor play set to slide and swing the day away.

The Dirt on Tickets & Hours
Tickets are available at the show, but ordering online is recommended. Admission is $17 for an adult on the weekdays and $19 on the weekend. Children ages 4-12 are $5. The Chicago Flower & Garden Show is open Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. & Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Kids activities are available daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Chicago Flower & Garden Show
Mar. 18-22
Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.
Tickets & more info online: chicagoflower.com

— Maria Chambers