Flowers in March? Yes! There are thousands of them at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show on Navy Pier. Held March 18-26, this annual event isn’t just for grownups. While the colorful sights, sweet smells and fish-filled ponds are for all ages, little gardeners can really dig into the fun at the Kid’s Activity Garden. In addition to swings and a sandbox, they’ll enjoy craft projects, garden projects, potting parties and more.

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Bug Out!
This ones for the kiddos who like get up close and personal with the bug world. The University of Illinois Master Gardeners will demonstrate how worm composting can make black gold from everyday kitchen scraps. They will also man the Insect Petting Zoo, where you’ll have a chance to meet Rosie the tarantula., Millie the Giant African millipede and other creatures. Hungry? Don’t miss the edible insects for your tasting pleasure and Madagascar Hissing Cockroach races (Saturday only).

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Go Wild!
Make friends with the animals living in the Racine Zoo, like alligators, snakes, geckos and tenrecs (hmmmm, bonus – you get to find out what a tenrec is!). From 12:30 p.m.-4 p.m. you’ll receive and animal education and 1 p.m.-3 p.m. you can participate in the Animals of the World with touch opportunities.

Mariano’s Flowers for Kids
Offered at noon Saturday and Sunday, this interactive class teaches your little blooming buds how to appreciate, care for and arrange flowers. For some, this class that encompasses biology and artistry, will be their first hands-on floral experience. At the end of the class, students will know how to care for flowers, make flower food and create their own flower bouquet to take home.

Cook County Farm Bureau’s Argiculture in the Classroom
Teach your little city and ‘burb dwellers what it is exactly that grows on a farm, including corn, soybeans and speciality crops, hosted Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.. Your mini farmers can test their knowledge by spinning the Wheel of Agriculture. Other activities include making a seasons on the farm paper spinner which shows what crops grow during the year in this region or making a germination necklace to learn what exactly seeds need to grow. Note: Teachers who visit this exhibit will receive a free Ag Mag to use in their classroom.  

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Let Them Eat Cake (please don’t really eat the cake)
Once you’re done making mud pies, eating insects and cheering on your favorite cockroach in the Kid’s Activity Garden, venture to the Chicago Area Retail Baker’s Association’s cake decorating throw-down which takes place March 26. Kids will be mesmerized as talented decorators compete, building their spongy masterpieces of cake right in front of their eyes.

The Dirt on Tickets & Hours
Tickets are available at the show, but ordering online is recommended. Admission is $13 for an adult on the weekdays and $15 on the weekend. Children ages 4-12 are $5. The Chicago Flower & Garden Show is open Thursday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. & Sunday-Wednesday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Chicago Flower & Garden Show
March 18-26
Navy Pier
600 E. Grand Ave.
312-595-7437
Tickets and more info online: chicagoflower.com

Will you attend the Chicago Flower & Garden Show? Let us know in the Comments section below.

— Maria Chambers