National Public Gardens Day


  • An aerial view of the shrubs that make up the Maze Garden
  • The open air tram with leaf decals on the sides
  • A child looking through a telescope at a pot of flowers

Schedule and Location

May 11, 2018
7:00 a.m.-sunset

Public gardens, like The Morton Arboretum, collect and display nature's bounty, provide information and inspiration for gardeners, and create refuge and beauty in the midst of our cities and suburbs.

National Public Gardens Day, which falls this year on Friday, May 11, is an annual opportunity to celebrate these marvelous oases. Of course, the best way to celebrate public gardens is to visit one.

The Morton Arboretum is a special kind of public garden. “Arboretum” means “a place planted with trees” in Latin, and the goal of this public garden has always been to plant, protect, and study trees. That is why we are known as "The Champion of Trees." 

The Arboretum is more than a place of beauty and calm. It's also a museum for collections of living specimens that includes magnificent trees and other plants from around the globe, including 100 rare or endangered species. Some can be seen nowhere else in the area.

Troll Hunt-Artist in Residence
7:00 a.m to sunset
Journey through our far-reaching forest to watch as Danish artist Thomas Dambo creates six whimsical trolls from reclaimed wood. You may find him in action along the trails! LEARN MORE

Visit with plant experts in our Plant Clinic
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Find the Plant Clinic office across the courtyard from the Visitor Center.

Ground Cover Garden Nature Walk
10:00 a.m.
Meet in the breezeway with horticulturist Michael Butler for a guided tour through our Ground Cover Garden. 

Acorn Express Tram Tours
11:00 a.m.
Experience the beauty of the Arboretum's 1,700 acres on a guided tram tour. This one-hour ride winds you through the Arboretum's woodlands, wetlands, and prairie while listening to a narrated tour.
Additional fee applies. For tickets, see the information desk in Visitor Center. LEARN MORE 

Garden Storytime  (Children's Garden Drop-In Program)
11:00 a.m.
Visit the Children's Garden for story time. LEARN MORE

Build-a-Tree Eco-Workshop (Children's Garden Drop-In Program)
11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Use natural and recycled materials to build your own nature keepsake to take home.  learn more

Home is Where Your Tree Is  (Children's Garden Drop-In Program)
11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Come discover who calls a tree home and make a tree charm to take home. learn more

Tour Arbor Court
Meet in the breezeway to tour with horticulturist Maureen Bulwan through Arbor Court.

Children's Garden Tour
1:00 p.m.
Meet horticulturist Gigi Brucker at the entrance to the Children's Garden for a tour of the plants and trees. 

Vehicle-Free Biking
5:30 p.m. to sunset
Enjoy biking our nine miles of roads at the Arboretum free of cars.  LEARN MORE 

Check out our Bloom report for the most up-to-date bloom information. LEARN MORE

Fees and Admission

Enjoy discounted admission on National Public Gardens Day

$10 Adults ages 18–64
$9 Seniors ages 65+
$7 Youth ages 2–17

Children 1 and younger are free

Members always free

Become a member and save! join now


Troll Hunt is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency

Illinois Arts Council Agency logo

Drop-in Family Adventure Program Sponsor

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