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Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show returns

A popular Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe exhibit will captivate crowds with its whimsical theme.

In its 10th year, the Orchid Show is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through March 24. This year’s Orchid Show of Wonders contains more than 10,000 blooms, the show is circus and carnival themed. Orchids After Hours is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on select dates.

Setting a theme to the Orchid Show demonstrates to visitors that it changes every year and gives them a reason to return, said Jodi Zombolo, associate vice president of visitor events and programs.

The Orchid Show of Wonders is different from anything they’ve done before, she said, and was put together entirely in-house by Chicago Botanic staff.

“It’s very fun and whimsical,” she said. “There are a lot of educational components to an orchid and we always look to talk about that – the rarest of species, the cultivated hybrids and what orchids are all about. That’s part of the garden’s mission.”

The Garden’s staff and volunteers have integrated the unique and colorful blooms into a series of themed props, including a Ferris wheel, carousel and unicycles on tightropes while still making the orchids the star of the show, she said.

“They’re the ones that get to ride, if you will, all the props,” she said. “It is one of the most colorful and vibrant shows that we’ve had. And also very musical – imagine walking in and you’re taken back to your childhood of circuses and carnivals and those classic circus tunes that you had heard if you had visited those in your past and you’re walking under a Ferris wheel and looking at those unicycles on tightropes and all those things while looking at these beautiful, vibrant orchids.”

The Chicago Botanic Garden celebrates the nostalgia of carnivals and the enchantment of the circus during The Orchid Show of Wonders through March 24.- Original Credit: Chicago Botanic Garden
The Chicago Botanic Garden celebrates the nostalgia of carnivals and the enchantment of the circus during The Orchid Show of Wonders through March 24.– Original Credit: Chicago Botanic Garden

On select Thursday and Friday evenings, guests can attend Orchids After Hours and experience the show at night. Cocktails and mocktails, as well as themed foods like cotton candy and funnel cakes, will be available for purchase.

“It’s your opportunity to see the orchids at night, so we have special lighting in the show,” she said. “We also have photographers’ hours as it is one of the most photographed shows as well. They get to bring in their tripods and monopods, which we usually do not allow in the daytime.”

Information about that can be found on the website, she said.

One of the most common questions she hears from guests is how to take care of orchids.

“We have master gardener volunteers onsite and they’re happy to answer any questions,” she said. “We also have an orchid marketplace on weekends that has Illinois Orchid Society members onsite and they’re happy to answer questions as well. And on those weekends, you can also purchase orchids to take home. There’s a wide gamut of things you can do while you’re here.”

People love the Orchid Show not only because it brightens up a dreary time of year, she said, but also because it reminds people of the coming spring.

“Orchids are one of those flowers that people are just so enamored by,” she said. “They’re just so different and interesting and unique. They have such a variety of types of orchids in the hybrids in the species. And I think the way we display them is just so unique and we do something different with them each year.”

The Orchid Show of Wonders

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily through March 24

Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe

Tickets: $6.95-$11.95 admission, plus $7-$21 for orchid show and $8 for parking

Information: 847-835-6801; chicagobotanic.org/orchid

Annie Alleman is a freelance reporter for the News-Sun.

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Disclaimer: This article has been generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and may not be 100% accurate or reflect the human point of view. The published images are not generated by AI. The information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered professional advice. It is recommended to verify the accuracy of the data and consult experts in case of doubts or need for specific information. We are not responsible for any damage, loss or injury that may result from the use of this information.

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