The Chicago Botanic Garden closed for the longest time in its more than 40-year history on Thursday and Friday due to floods that swept across the property.
This is a “highly unusual” event for the garden, which has closed its doors only once before for one day in 2013, said Bob Kirschner, the Botanic’s director of restoration ecology. This week is the first time the property has closed for more than one day, he said.
The garden will open again with limited hours and access points on Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m., a departure from its usual 8 a.m. to 9 p.m schedule. Officials said as of now, normal hours will resume on Sunday.
The Cactus and Succulent Society of Greater Chicago show and sale, and other weekend family activities, are canceled.
The garden, located at 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe, closed after water from the Skokie River swept across the property through a watershed, making it unsafe for the public to access. The Skokie River flooded after storms caused up to 7 inches of rain to fall in some northern suburbs Tuesday night.
Levels in the garden’s 60-acre lake system rose 5 to 5 1/2- feet above normal, Kirschner said.
Several of the Chicago Botanic Garden’s flowers won’t be “quite as pretty as they were before.”
But he expects no long-term impact on the 385-acre property’s plants. The plants in the garden were designed to withstand flooding and provide flood control benefits to downstream communities.
As water levels have started receding, the 100 million gallons of floodwater the garden has been storing over the past few days are being pumped back into the river. Officials said levels should be back to normal in five days.