A famed horticultural park north of Chicago that's been free for half a century is about to cost money.
Starting next January, the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe will start charging visitors on a sliding scale, between about $10 to $26.
Jean Franczyk, the garden's president and CEO, said the decision to charge admission was driven by popularity of the park that before the pandemic drew more than a million visitors a year.
“We did a lot of modeling and anticipating and said, ‘OK, how are we going to maintain the quality of programs?'" she told the Chicago Tribune. “How are we going to keep up with ongoing maintenance? How are we going to meet this audience demand? And we landed on: One of the things that we could do was revise our admissions policy.”
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Visitors will catch a break because the cost to park will drop from $20 to $30 to $8.
And visitors can save money if they plan ahead or visit at times less popular than spring weekends. For example, what the park calls “plan-ahead pricing” means it will cost $9.95 for many days every year. Also, the park will add 52 free days a year.