Lurie Garden and GrowIt!—Revolutionizing the Visitor Experience at Public Gardens


Partner spotlight: This is a guest blog post by Scott Stewart, Ph.D. Scott is the Director at Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park. See a snapshot of what you will encounter when visiting Lurie Garden by following them here (tap from mobile) on GrowIt!. 

August at Lurie Garden

Lurie Garden and GrowIt!—Revolutionizing the Visitor Experience at Public Gardens
Leading a public garden with an annual visitation of 3 million people, set in the hyper-urban environment of downtown Chicago, and a charge to maintain plantings representative of the benchmark for the first (and only) true American landscape design movement comes with a few trials. Engaging visitors should be easy, right?

The reality is that Lurie Garden staff and volunteers have education programs to run, websites and social media channels to manage, special events to plan, and a garden full of plants to maintain in addition to engaging visitors through tours. And, let’s not forget that Lurie Garden may be a four-season garden, but Chicago’s weather makes staffing a tour tent difficult for 4 or 5 months each year!

What happens when a public garden gardens socially?
Since taking the helm at Lurie Garden, I have been asking myself ‘How can the garden team improve visitor engagement?’

Enter GrowIt! and the power of gardening socially.

The Lurie Garden and GrowIt! collaboration means that the garden now has a mechanism to engage people before, during, and after visiting the garden. Establishing Lurie Garden’s presence on GrowIt! was a first step—an opportunity for the garden to become an early adopter in the social gardening space and to share its horticultural expertise with other users through interaction on the app.

Four-Season Garden, Four-Seasons of Tours
Integrating beacon-based tour technology into the Lurie Garden-GrowIt! experience represents a new evolution of the social gardening experience.

Lurie Garden is a true four-season garden. Using the Lurie Garden Tour feature on the GrowIt! app, garden visitors can now partake in an interpretive tour experience at any time of year and relive that experience long after their visit.

A Value-Added Experience
The partnership between Lurie Garden and GrowIt! represents a powerful public-private partnership, allowing both entities to be aggressive in pursuing rapid adoption of this new social gardening concept. Avoiding much of the ‘red tape’ typical of public entities, Lurie Garden and GrowIt! have been able to bring a significantly enhanced, year-round tour experience to garden visitors in a short amount of time with no cost to visitors or users.

Experience Lurie Garden as you’ve never experienced it before…download the GrowIt! app and visit Lurie Garden today.