Attendance at the Chicago Botanic Garden has increased 48 percent, from 675,000 in 2005 to 1,003,000 visitors in 2013—growth unique among major Chicago institutions. The Garden is now the sixth-largest cultural institution in the Chicago area and the 12th-largest tourist attraction, and is one of the most-visited public gardens in the world.
With the completion of many strategic plan goals, such as an updated Garden View Café, the North Branch Trail addition, the Butterflies & Blooms exhibition, wellness programming, and the Orchid Show, the Chicago Botanic Garden is becoming known as a four-season institution, relevant to people of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, and interests.
Garden educators have grown, refined, and delivered a growing array of programs and classes to an increasingly diverse audience, from preK to Ph.D. and through all phases of adult formal and lifetime learning.
The Garden is now better known for its international leadership in plant conservation science and its national role in science training and urban agriculture workforce training—on 11 urban farm production sites and in jobs-training facilities throughout the City of Chicago and in Cook and Lake Counties.
The Garden’s campus now includes 27 display gardens, four natural areas, and eight buildings on 385 acres; its nearly 2.6 million plants consist of 9,900 taxa.
The people who cultivate the Garden’s growth—more than 250 full-time employees (and exceeding 700 in peak season), 2,200 volunteers, and three boards—have grown more engaged and diverse.