Top 25 Botanical Gardens in Illinois

There is no shortage of inspiring botanical gardens and arboretums across Illinois, which is why so many people love to visit them when they travel. Not only will you get a chance to see what the local flora looks like in Illinois but also be inspired by these beautiful places!

These 25 botanical gardens are some of the most unique and interesting places in Illinois. They have a variety of showrooms that range from beautiful flower displays to dramatically landscaped parks with thousands upon a thousand plants! There is something for everyone at these magnificent locations, so we hope you enjoy exploring our top picks today.

1. Chicago Botanic Garden

chicago botanical gardens
mig rod Chicago botanical gardens

The Chicago Botanic Garden is located in Glencoe, Illinois, and is spread out over 385 acres. It’s one of the largest botanical gardens in the United States and contains 26 different gardens, four natural areas, and a Children’s Garden. The garden was founded in 1972 as a result of a donation of land from the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation. The garden was opened to the public in 1976.

One of the most unique features of the Chicago Botanic Garden is its Regenstein Center for African Plants. This center is dedicated to the conservation of Africa’s plant life and is the only one of its kind in the United States.

The garden also has a wide variety of plants from all over the world. The Chicago Botanic Garden is a great place to visit if you’re interested in plants and gardening. It’s also a great place for kids, with its Children’s Garden and variety of activities.

The Chicago Botanic Garden also has several special exhibits. These exhibits change throughout the year, so there’s always something new to see. Recent exhibits have included “Butterflies & Blooms” and “Orchids: A Moment in Time”.

2. Washington Park Botanical Garden

Washington Park Botanic Garden is a beautiful garden located in Bloomington, Illinois. The garden was first established in 1917, and it spans over 106 acres of land. There are many different features to enjoy in the garden, including a Japanese garden, rose garden, herb garden, and children’s garden. Several trails wind through the park, providing a great opportunity for a relaxing walk.

One of the coolest things about Washington Park Botanic Garden is its diversity. There are plants from all over the world represented in the gardens, making it the perfect place to learn about different cultures. In addition to the plants, several animals can be found in the park. This includes everything from peacocks to turtles.

Washington Park Botanic Garden is a great place to visit any time of year. In the spring, the gardens are in full bloom and offer a beautiful sight. The summer is a great time to enjoy the various trails, and the fall is perfect for viewing the changing leaves. Winter is also a great time to visit, as the garden is decorated with lights and holiday displays.

There are many exciting things to do at Washington Park Botanic Garden. One of the most popular activities is simply enjoying a walk through the gardens. Several events are held throughout the year, such as concerts and art shows. The garden is also home to a playground, making it a great place for families with children.

3. Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden

Klehm Arboretum Botanic Garden
KlehmArboretum Klehm Arboretum Botanic Garden

The Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden is a beautiful place to visit, especially if you’re interested in plants and gardens. It’s located in Illinois, and it’s different from other gardens because it focuses on both plants and trees. The garden has been around for over 100 years, and it features different areas that are each dedicated to a specific type of plant or tree. For example, there’s an area that’s devoted to roses and another area that’s devoted to maple trees.

The Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden are also home to some amazing gardens. There’s the Japanese Garden, which is a traditional garden with a koi pond and waterfall. And there’s the English Garden, which has beautiful flower beds and a large pond.

If you’re looking for a fun place to visit with your family, the Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden are worth checking out. There’s something for everyone here, from toddlers to adults. You can explore the different gardens, go on a nature walk, or participate in one of the many special events that are held at the garden throughout the year. For example, there’s an annual pumpkin patch that’s perfect for kids.

4. Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Garden

Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanical Garden is a place where visitors can enjoy the beauty of nature and learn about the ecology of the area. It covers 142 acres and has a wide variety of plants and animals.

The botanical garden was established in 1929. At that time, it was called the South Park Botanical Garden. The name was changed to Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanical Garden in 1991.

There are several different areas at the nature center worth exploring. One is the Demonstration Garden, which includes a herb garden. The Garden of the Four Seasons is a beautiful display of plants that change with the seasons. There’s also the Children’s Garden, which has a butterfly house, treehouse, and other fun features.

The nature center has several miles of hiking trails to explore. You can also go fishing, bird watching, or just relax by the lake. There are several events held at the nature center throughout the year, including a plant sale in the spring and a pumpkin patch in the fall.

There are many different things to do at Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanical Garden. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy nature and learn about ecology, this is it!

5. Garfield Park Conservatory

Garfield Park Conservatory
Olivier Bruchez Garfield Park Conservatory

The Garfield Park Conservatory in Illinois is a botanical garden and greenhouse that is home to many different types of plants and flowers. The conservatory is different than most gardens because it has a large glass ceiling that lets in natural sunlight, which helps the plants grow.

The conservatory also has a history dating back to 1906, when it was first opened to the public. Over the years, the conservatory has been expanded and remodeled, and today it covers over 14 acres of land. There are several different sections of the conservatory, including a Japanese garden, a desert garden, and tropical rainforest. Each section has its unique features and attractions, and there are also several activities that you can participate in, such as concerts and art shows.

The Garfield Park Conservatory is a must-see for anyone interested in plants and nature.

6. The Morton Arboretum

The Morton Arboretum
Raed Mansour The Morton Arboretum

The Morton Arboretum is a beautiful garden located in Lisle, Illinois. It’s one of the largest arboretums in the world, with 1,700 acres of gardens, prairies, and woodlands to explore. What makes the Morton Arboretum unique is that it has a different focus for each season.

In the spring, there are beautiful gardens to explore, while in the summer you can enjoy the natural beauty of the prairies and woodlands. In the fall, the arboretum comes alive with color as the leaves change color. And in the winter, you can go skating on the lake or take a walk through the snow-covered gardens.

If you want to get up close and personal with the plants, you can visit the conservatory, which has a variety of plants from all over the world. The Morton Arboretum is a great place to visit any time of year.

7. Lurie Garden

Lurie Garden
bgwashburn Lurie Garden

The Lurie Garden is one of the most beautiful gardens in Illinois. It is located in Millennium Park, which is in downtown Chicago. It covers nearly 4 acres and features a variety of plants, flowers, and trees from all over the world.

One of the things that make the Lurie Garden so special is its unique design. The garden is divided into several different sections, each with its personality and style. There’s the Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden, the North American Garden, and more. Each section has a different look and feels and offers something special to enjoy.

Another great thing about the Lurie Garden is its history. The garden was dedicated in memory of Ann Lurie, the wife of real estate developer and philanthropist Richard H. Lurie. Ann was a passionate gardener, and her husband wanted to create a garden in her honor that would be enjoyed by everyone. The Lurie Garden achieves that goal!

There are all sorts of things to do at the Lurie Garden. You can explore the different sections, relax on one of the benches, or take a walk through the gardens. There’s also an interactive children’s play area, which is perfect for families. And if you’re looking for a bit of excitement, check out the massive fountain in the center of the garden. It’s something special to see!

8. Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens

Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens is a beautiful nature reserve in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. It’s different from most other nature reserves because it has a rich history dating back to the 1930s when the land was originally used as a private estate. The gardens were opened to the public in 1974, and have been growing steadily ever since. Today, the nature center spans over 100 acres of diverse landscapes, including woodlands, wetlands, prairies, and lakes.

One of the highlights of a visit to Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens is the abundance of wildlife you can see. There are over 200 species of birds that live or migrate through the nature reserve, as well as deer, foxes, and many other creatures. The gardens are also home to a wide variety of plants, including over 1,200 species of native Illinois plants.

There’s something for everyone at Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens. If you’re looking for a peaceful place to relax and take in the beauty of nature, this is the place for you. But if you’re also looking for some excitement, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. The nature center offers guided hikes, educational programs for all ages, bird-watching tours, and much more.

If you’re looking for a nature reserve to explore in the Chicago area, be sure to check out Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens.

9. Wilder Park Conservatory

Wilder Park Conservatory
Jonathan Kriz Wilder Park Conservatory

The Wilder Park Conservatory is a beautiful botanical garden located in Elmhurst, Illinois. The conservatory is also home to a variety of plants and animals, including butterflies and birds.

The Wilder Park Conservatory was founded in 1914 by Miss Mabel Wilder. At the time, it was the only conservatory in Illinois. The original conservatory was destroyed by a fire in 1915, but it was rebuilt and reopened later that year. The conservatory has since been expanded and renovated several times. Today, it covers more than 12 acres and includes dozens of gardens and exhibits.

The Wilder Park Conservatory is a great place to visit year-round. In the spring, the gardens are in bloom and the conservatory is home to dozens of butterflies. In the summer, the conservatory is a great place to escape the heat. The Japanese Garden is especially beautiful in the summer, with a waterfall. In the fall, the Rose Garden is in bloom and the English Garden features a variety of colorful leaves. And in the winter, the conservatory is a great place to see Christmas trees and lights.

The Wilder Park Conservatory is also home to some exciting activities. Every year, it hosts a butterfly show and a scarecrow contest. It’s also home to a playground, a carousel, and a maze. The conservatory is open every day.

10. The Magic Hedge

The Magic Hedge
Brandon Olafsson The Magic Hedge

This garden located in Illinois is known as the Magic Hedge. It is a beautiful attraction that is different than any other garden you will find. This garden has a rich history and many features that make it unique. The hedge covers around 120 acres of land and has many different spots to explore.

The Magic Hedge was created in the late 1800s by Charles Hindermann. He was an artist who was inspired by the gardens he saw while traveling in Europe. When he returned home, he began designing his garden. The hedge was originally designed as a private estate, but it eventually opened to the public.

There are many different features to explore in the Magic Hedge. One of the most popular spots in the maze. This maze is made up of hedges that are over 12 feet high. It can be tricky to find your way through, but it is a lot of fun to try.

Another popular spot in the garden is the rose garden. There are over 2,000 different rose bushes here, making it one of the largest rose gardens in the country. The garden also features a lily pond and a waterfall.

Another place to visit is the Magic Hedge is a great place for families to visit. There are many different activities to keep everyone entertained. Your partner or kids will love exploring the maze and playing in the playground. You can relax in the gardens or take a walk around the hedge.

If you are looking for a unique garden to explore, be sure to visit the Magic Hedge in Illinois. This garden has something for everyone and is sure to leave you amazed.

11. Chicago Flower And Garden Show

Chicago Flower And Garden Show
Jen Knoedl Chicago Flower And Garden Show

The Chicago Flower and Garden Show is one of the largest flowers shows in the United States. It’s also one of the oldest, having first been held in 1874. The show takes place every year in late March or early April at Navy Pier in Illinois.

What makes the Chicago Flower and Garden Show different from other flower shows is its size. The show features more than 30 acres of gardens, each with its unique theme. There are also exhibits on gardening, horticulture, and landscape design. Plus, there are plenty of activities for kids, including a petting zoo, a butterfly garden, and a maze.

If you’re interested in gardening, the Chicago Flower and Garden Show is worth checking out.

12. Atkins Medicinal Plant Garden

The Atkins Medicinal Plant Garden is a botanical garden in Peoria, Illinois that specializes in plants used for medicinal purposes. It’s different from most botanical gardens because it focuses on the history and use of plants, rather than their beauty. The garden spans 10 acres and features a variety of different habitats, including wetlands, and woodlands. There are also several spots where visitors can learn about specific plants or plant families.

One of the highlights of the garden is the Demonstration Meadow, which showcases how various plants can be used to create a beautiful landscape. There’s also an apothecary garden where you can learn about the history of traditional herbal remedies. And if you’re looking for something more exciting, the garden hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, including herb walks, nature hikes, and workshops on topics like beekeeping and composting.

If you’re interested in learning more about traditional herbal remedies or just want to take a walk in a beautiful garden, the Atkins Medicinal Plant Garden is a great place to go.

13. Mabery Gelvin Botanical Gardens

Mabery Gelvin Botanical Gardens
Artotem Mabery Gelvin Botanical Gardens

Mabery Gelvin Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place to visit, especially in the springtime when the flowers are in bloom. The gardens are home to a variety of different plants and trees, as well as many interesting features.

The gardens occupy over 100 acres of land, making them one of the largest botanical gardens in Illinois. There’s plenty to see and do here, from the Japanese garden to the rose garden. The children’s garden is also a popular spot, with its play structures and maze.

One of the most unique features of the Mabery Gelvin Botanical Gardens is the conservatory. This building houses a variety of tropical plants, including many rare species. The conservatory is open to the public every day from 9 am to 5 pm.

14. Luthy Botanical Garden

The Luthy Botanical Garden is located in Peoria, Illinois. It covers ninety acres and contains over five thousand different plants. The garden is split into several different sections, including a Japanese garden, an herb garden, a children’s garden, and a rose garden. The Luthy Botanical Garden also has a greenhouse and a conservatory.

The Luthy Botanical Garden was founded in 1947. It was the first botanical garden in Illinois. The garden was created when Dr. Nathan Luthy donated his collection of plants to the city of Peoria.

The Luthy Botanical Garden is a great place to visit with your family. There are many different activities to do there, including walking through the gardens, playing in the children’s garden, and visiting the greenhouse. The Luthy Botanical Garden also offers educational programs for school groups.

15. Hartley Selections Gardens

Hartley Selections Garden
University of Illinois Library Hartley Selections Garden

The Hartley Selection Gardens is a beautiful garden located in Illinois. It’s different from other gardens because it contains a large variety of trees, plants, and flowers. The garden was founded in 1857 by James Hartley. He was a passionate horticulturist who traveled the world to collect different types of plants and trees. The Hartley Selection Gardens now has over 15,000 different types of plants!

The garden is also home to some amazing features. There’s the Rose Garden, which contains over 1,000 rosebushes and a zen rock garden

One of my favorite spots in the Hartley Selection Gardens is the sensory garden. It’s designed specifically for people with disabilities, so they can enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds of nature. There’s a pretty waterfall and all kinds of different plants and flowers. It’s really peaceful and relaxing there.

The Hartley Selection Gardens is also a great place for families. They have a play area with swings and slides, and a petting zoo where you can see all kinds of animals up close. And of course, there are plenty of gardens to explore!

16. Quad City Botanical Center

Quad City Botanical Center
Ctjf83 Quad City Botanical Center

The Quad City Botanical Center is a garden in Rock Island, Illinois. It’s different from other gardens because it has four themed areas: the Wetlands, the Woodlands, the Prairie, and the Asian Gardens. There’s also a conservatory with plants from all over the world, as well as a greenhouse and children’s garden.

The Quad City Botanical Center was founded in 1988. It covers more than 26 acres, including 10 acres of gardens. There are more than 4,000 plants in the gardens, including 1,500 trees and shrubs.

Thinking of activities to carry out when you get there? There are plenty of things to do at the Quad City Botanical Center. In the Wetlands, you can go fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. In the Woodlands, you can walk through a nature trail and see native animals in their natural habitats. In the Prairie, you can play in the sandbox and visit a windmill. And in the Asian Gardens, you can learn about traditional Chinese architecture.

The Quad City Botanical Center is a great place to spend a day with your family. There’s something for everyone to enjoy!

17. Starhill Forest Arboretum

The Starhill Forest Arboretum is a beautiful garden located in Illinois. What makes this arboretum unique is that it has a different focus on each of its sections. The garden has a large variety of roses, and the American Garden contains many native plants.

The arboretum was founded in 1992 by Dr. and Mrs. Harry M. McEvoy. They were inspired to create the garden after a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in England. Over the years, the arboretum has grown to include more than 15 acres of gardens and woodlands.

One of the highlights of a visit to the Starhill Forest Arboretum is the Tree Top Walk. This aerial walkway lets visitors explore the forest canopy up close. The arboretum also offers nature programs and classes for all ages, as well as special events throughout the year. For example, in September they have a Pumpkin Palooza where you can pick your pumpkin from the patch and go on a hayride.

If you’re looking for a beautiful garden to explore, be sure to check out the Starhill Forest Arboretum. It’s a great place for all ages!

18. University of Illinois Arboretum

University of Illinois Arboretum.
©CECrane University of Illinois Arboretum.

If you’re looking for a botanical garden that’s a little off the beaten path, the University of Illinois Arboretum is well worth a visit. While it may not be as big as some of the other gardens around the country, what it lacks in size it makes up for in its unique features and history.

The arboretum is home to over 4,000 different types of plants, making it a great place to see a variety of flora from all around the world. What’s cool about this garden though is that it’s arranged in a way that simulates different biomes – from rain forests to deserts.

Do you like history? then you will also enjoy this garden, as it has many interesting features that date back to the early 1900s. For example, the Japanese Garden was created in 1915 and is one of the oldest gardens of its kind in the United States. It’s worth a visit if you’re looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

19. Mandala Gardens

Mandala Gardens is an incomparable botanical garden and nature reserve that is set in the heart of Illinois. This garden is home to a vast array of plants and wildlife, as well as a variety of interesting features and attractions. The gardens occupy over 100 acres of land, which are divided into several different sections. Each section has its unique beauty and attractions, making it a must-see destination for any visitor to the area.

One of the most exciting aspects of Mandala Gardens is the variety of activities that are available there. You can tour the gardens with your partner on foot or by bike, take a stroll through the nature reserve, or enjoy a picnic in one of the many secluded areas. There is also a playground for children if you have kids, as well as many ponds and streams that are perfect for fishing. In addition, the gardens host a variety of special events throughout the year, including concerts and art shows.

The history of Mandala Gardens is just as interesting as the garden itself. The land was originally purchased by Dr. Franklin McMahon in 1969, to create a botanical garden. Dr. McMahon was an accomplished horticulturist and his passion for plants was evident in every aspect of the garden. He designed each section of the gardens, choosing plants that would thrive in the Illinois climate. Dr. McMahon passed away in 2004, but his legacy lives on in Mandala Gardens.

Today, Mandala Gardens is a popular tourist destination and a cherished part of the community.

20. Lincoln Memorial Garden

Lincoln Memorial Garden
Matt Turner Lincoln Memorial Garden

The Lincoln Memorial Garden is one of the most popular destinations in Illinois. It’s located in Springfield, the state capital, and it covers more than 120 acres. One of the garden’s most distinctive features is its layout. Rather than being a traditional park with neatly arranged flower beds, the memorial garden is designed to look like a natural forest. This makes it a great place for you to enjoy nature, and it also helps to protect the native plants and animals that live there.

The garden is home to a variety of different species of trees, flowers, and animals. Some of the highlights include the American elm tree, which is the largest and oldest tree in the garden, and the wildflowers, which attract a wide range of butterflies and other insects.

The Lincoln Memorial Garden is also an important part of Illinois history. It was established in 1929 as a tribute to Abraham Lincoln, one of the state’s most famous residents. The garden has been open to the public ever since, and it’s become a popular place for people from all over the world to visit.

21. Weber House And Garden

The Weber House And Garden are located in Illinois, and it is a popular tourist destination because of its unique features. The garden was created in the early 1900s by Charles Weber, who was a successful businessman and horticulturist. He used his knowledge of plants to create a garden that would be beautiful all year round.

You can find a herb garden, cottage garden, and even a Victorian-style sunken garden here. Each one of these gardens is carefully tended to and features a variety of different plants and flowers.

The Weber House And Garden are also home to many different animals. Visitors can see peacocks, ducks, and even deer roaming around the grounds. There’s also a butterfly garden where people can observe these delicate creatures up close.

One of the best things about the Weber House And Garden is that it’s open to the public year-round. There are always exciting activities happening there, from concerts in the summer to Christmas markets in the winter. The garden is also a great place to take a walk or have a picnic with friends. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder this attraction is so popular!

22. Loyola at Cuneo Mansion and Gardens

The Loyola at Cuneo Mansion and Gardens is a beautiful place to visit, especially if you love nature and history. The grounds span over 120 acres of gardens, forests, and meadows. It’s worth a visit if you’re looking for something different to do in Illinois!

What makes the Loyola at Cuneo Mansion and Gardens so special is that it has been around for centuries. The mansion was built in the early 1900s, and the gardens were added in the 1970s. There are all sorts of different areas to explore on the property, including an Italian garden, and a perennial garden.

If you’re looking for something exciting to do alone or with your partner, there are plenty of activities to choose from at the Loyola at Cuneo Mansion and Gardens. You can go for a walk, have a picnic, or go fishing in the ponds. There’s also a playground for kids, and the mansion itself is filled with interesting historical artifacts.

If you’re looking for an interesting place to visit in Illinois, be sure to check out the Loyola at Cuneo Mansion and Gardens!

23. Cook Memorial Park and Rose Garden

The Loyola at Cuneo Mansion and Gardens is a stunning location in Illinois that’s worth a visit. It’s one of the few places in the country with both an indoor and outdoor garden, so you can enjoy nature no matter what the weather is like. The outdoor gardens are absolutely beautiful, with different sections featuring Italian, French, Dutch, and English landscapes. There’s also a lovely koi pond and several gazebos perfect for a romantic picnic.

Also, the mansion itself is worth exploring. It’s filled with interesting antiques and historical artifacts from the early 20th century. You can also take a tour of the gardens, which include a butterfly garden and a grape vineyard.

No matter what you’re interested in, the Loyola at Cuneo Mansion and Gardens is sure to have something for you. Make sure to check it out during your next trip to Illinois!

24. Whitnall Park

Whitnall Park
Rebecca Chatfield Whitnall Park

Whitnall Park is an amazing place to visit if you’re looking for a nature-filled experience. It’s located in Hales Corners, Wisconsin, and has plenty of different areas to explore, each with its unique charm. The park spans over 600 acres, which means there’s plenty of room to wander and find new things to see every time you visit.

The coolest aspect of Whitnall Park in the gardens. There are several different gardens on the property, each with its style and attractions. The Fragrance Garden, for example, is filled with beautiful flowers that release a sweet scent into the air. If you’re looking for a more adventurous garden to explore, check out the Japanese Garden. It’s full of stone lanterns, winding paths, and bonsai trees.

What’s more, Whitnall Park is home to some fascinating historical landmarks, such as the Bruce Goff-designed Home of the Future and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Zimmerman House.

There are also plenty of other activities to do at Whitnall Park. You can go for a walk or a bike ride on the trails, go fishing in the pond, play basketball or tennis, or just relax on a bench and enjoy the scenery. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even go zip lining!

25. Crabtree Nature Center

Crabtree Nature Center
David Wilson Crabtree Nature Center

If you’re looking for a nature center that’s a little different from the norm, Crabtree Nature Center in Illinois is well worth a visit. The Crabtree Nature Center is a beautiful nature center located in Illinois. It has different gardens with a variety of plants and flowers, each with its unique features. For example, the Stream Garden has a babbling brook that winds through it, while the Wetlands Garden features a pond and many different types of wetland plants.

The Crabtree Nature Center covers around sixty acres, which makes it one of the largest nature centers in Illinois. It’s also home to some rather unique features. For example, there’s a prairie area, as well as an oak savanna. These areas are all perfect for exploring, and they’re teeming with wildlife. You might see a deer, or raccoon while you’re here.

If you’re looking for a natural escape, the Crabtree Nature Center is worth checking out. With over sixty acres of gardens and wildlife to explore, you’d be entertained.