A national holiday to commemorate trees, Arbor Day is particularly significant at The Morton Arboretum. Established by the Morton family, Arbor Day dates back to 1872 and is celebrated the last Friday of April—this year it falls on April 28. The day is an opportunity to learn about the critical role trees play in our day-to-day lives, from improving the quality of our air and water to imparting a greater sense of physical and emotional well-being for people in the company of trees.
The Morton Arboretum will celebrate Arbor Day on Friday and through the weekend with a series of events highlighting trees, including the opportunity to dress like a tree for free admission, fun tree-focused activities all weekend, and the popular annual Plant Sale.
Arbor Day Events: Friday, April 28
Dress Like a Tree, Get In Free!
Those who visit The Morton Arboretum on Arbor Day dressed as a tree will gain free admission all day! Outfits can range from a green or brown T-shirt and hat or participants can “branch” out and come dressed in a costume masterpiece. Costumed visitors are invited to pose for pictures in our photo booth.
Arbor Day Tree Planting with Curious George
Celebrate Arbor Day with a visit from Curious George and The Man in the Yellow Hat at the Arboretum.
Enjoy a group reading of “Curious George Plants a Tree,” and join in a tree planting in the Children’s Garden. This celebration will also feature an interactive music show from the kid-friendly Wendy & DB with the Funn Band. The event starts at 11 a.m.
Arbor Day Weekend Events: Friday, April 28-Sunday, April 30
Arbor Day Weekend Celebration in the Children’s Garden
Plant tree seeds and hunt for five unique trees throughout the Children’s Garden all weekend long.
NEW! Draw Attention to Trees Coloring Display
Children and adults are invited to color a 20-foot-long tree-themed display, which will take up residence at the Arboretum beginning on Arbor Day. Participants can use supplied markers to add bright color to several images, graphics and words that highlight the importance of trees in our world. The display will feature trees as they grow in urban, suburban, and rural areas as well as in the wild and will showcase various tree species as well as wildlife and other parts of a woodland ecosystem. The display will remain up through Arbor Day weekend and beyond.
Arbor Day Plant Sale – April 30
Shoppers will find more than 100,000 trees and plants specially chosen by Arboretum experts during the Arbor Day Plant Sale. The sale will include more than 200 species of trees, shrubs, and flowers available for purchase. Shoppers with questions about plants best suited for their landscape can consult with roaming Plant Geniuses. The sale opens to the public Sunday, April 30, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Morton Arboretum and Arbor Day
Arbor Day is a nationally-celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care—a special day set aside for planting trees. The Morton Arboretum has a unique connection to Arbor Day. Arbor Day was founded by J. Sterling Morton, father of Joy Morton, the founder of the Arboretum. J. Sterling Morton moved to Nebraska in 1854 and found the newly formed territory relatively devoid of trees. To encourage tree planting, he proposed that the state declare April 10 as Arbor Day in 1872, and his proposal was accepted. On that first Arbor Day, it is said Nebraskans planted one million trees. In 1885, Nebraska declared J. Sterling Morton's birthday, April 22, as Arbor Day and made it a legal holiday. Today, all 50 states as well as many countries around the world recognize Arbor Day.