This weekend, the Chicago Botanic Garden officially opens the doors to the Regenstein Learning Campus, a beautiful, 7-acre campus built for learners of all ages, with the intention to "facilitate connections between people and the environment." The Rock Daughters™ and I recently had a chance to preview the new Campus and its Learning Center - a 26,700 square-foot building that features 12 indoor and two outdoor classrooms, a nature laboratory, early childhood classrooms, the ITW kitchen and spaces for wellness classes. Outside, The Nature Play Garden, with its rolling hills and series of multisensory gardens, provides areas for hiding, exploring, learning and gathering - a fine place for kids to run around and have infinite adventures. The Campus will be the home of the Joseph Regenstein Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden, offering year-round classes, day camps and programs.
If asked, I don't think that our girls would be able to pick a favorite activity from their afternoon spent exploring the new Learning Campus, but I can tell you this... there isn't an area that they didn't enjoy, but they did have to be pulled away from The Nature Play Garden at the end of the day.
The "boulder bubbler" feature of the park's recirculating runnel got some attention, as did the natural climbing space created from tree trunks and stumps. When placed in such an area - one devoid of man-made playground equipment and cut-off from tech, it's fascinating to see the natural curiosity take over as the kids seek to explore.
To learn more about the Regenstein Learning Campus, click here. For a schedule of opening weekend events, click here. The Chicago Botanic Garden is located at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022. Admission is free, though parking rates apply. Select attractions require a paid ticket.
About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) - James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER™.
Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality, Commentator, Adventurer and Raconteur.
He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, a writer for the Netflix #StreamTeam, and serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities' Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360, has been quoted in BusinessWire, CNN and Babble, in addition to making appearances on ABC News, WGN and more. In the past he served as a writer for Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.