Watch our Illumination video
Program includes a map of the path through the event and information about each stop along the way. Illumination Event Program.pdf
We welcome guests at any time between 5:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., with lights out on the exhibit at 9:30 p.m. We have noticed a rush of visitors in the first hour of the evening. You may benefit from postponing your entrance until 7:00 p.m or a bit later.
Illumination is a popular event, so plan for extra time to park and walk to the entrance.
If you need handicap parking, simply let the parking attendants see your parking placard. Also, you can drop off any member of your party in our Welcome Circle, and then proceed to the parking lots.
Dress for the season and for walking. When it is cold, layer your clothing so you can add or remove layers to maintain your comfort level. A hat and gloves are highly recommended.
Illumination includes eleven stops along a mile-long pathway through the forest, over hills, and around a small lake. Some people enjoy it at a brisk pace. Others stop at each interactive elements, read the signs, take in the environment, warm up at one of the many fire pits, and listen to the nearly 10 minutes of music at Symphony Woods.
Just like at any other museum exhibit, you will find the pace that pleases your group. (The weather will impact your preferences, too!)
Our advice is to resist the urge to rush. There are surprises scattered throughout the landscape, and one of the pleasures of any walk through the Arboretum is slowing down and sharing the stillness of our trees.
At a comfortable pace, and allowing time to sample the interactive stations, we recommend giving yourself between an hour and 90 minutes on the Illumination path. Of course, with food, shopping, and activities in the Visitor Center, you will find reasons to visit with us even longer.
Tuesdays: Festive Sweater Night
Wednesdays: Champion Gear Night
Thursdays: Glow Wear Night
Dress for the theme on the night you visit. Show your apparel to the Membership Desk to receive a coupon for one free general admission and be entered into a prize drawing. There will be one winner from each night.
Share your apparel selfie on our Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram with #saytrees for a chance to win a $100 Morton Arboretum gift card.
Enjoy a cozy fire, a snack, or rest at one of three warming areas along the Illumination path.
Menu varies by food service location.
Specialty Illumination Drinks
Nov 27-Dec 3: Chocolate Indulgence–Hot chocolate, Bird Dog Chocolate Whiskey, whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles
Dec 4-11: Hot Apple Toddy–Warm apple cider with Bird Dog Apple Cider Whiskey
Dec 11-17: Salted Caramel Cocoa–Hot chocolate, Saint Brendan’s Salted Caramel Liqueur, whipped cream, and caramel drizzle
Dec 18-23: Hot Chocolate, Peppermint Bark Cocoa Liqueur, whipped cream, and crushed peppermint
Dec 26-Jan 2: Red Hot Cider–Warm apple cider with Bird Dog Cinnamon Whiskey
For additional interpretive information about the experiences of Illumination, download the free Morton Arboretum Apple® app and launch the Illumination Tour.
How bright are you? While at Illumination, let Glowman test your tree knowledge. Available as a free download on your iPhone® or iPad®. Download ARIS from the Apple® App Store®. Click “Allow” when the app asks whether you want ARIS to access your current location. Tap "Create Account." Add your player name and photo. Once you've arrived at Illumination, select "Illumination: The Game" from the list of nearby games, and start playing!
Illuminating treasures can be purchased at concessions areas and within The Arboretum Store.
Enjoy live musical performances in the Ginkgo Room from 5:45 p.m.-9:00 p.m. and roaming carolers along the trail from 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. on select nights.
- Saturday, December 5- White Saddle Band in the Ginkgo Room
- Sunday, December 6- Blue Aura in the Ginkgo Room
- Saturday, December 12- Blue Aura in the Ginkgo Room
- Sunday, December 13- SODA in the Ginkgo Room
Friday, December 18- Frank & Dave in the Ginkgo Room
- Saturday, December 19- Summer Son in the Ginkgo Room and the Frozen Robins carolers along the trail
- Sunday, December 20- R-Gang in the Ginkgo Room and the Frozen Robins carolers along the trail
- Monday, December 21- The Frozen Robins carolers along the trail
- Tuesday, December 22- The Frozen Robins carolers along the trail
- Wednesday, December 23- The Frozen Robins carolers along the trail
- Saturday, December 26- SODA in the Ginkgo Room and the Frozen Robins carolers along the trail
- Sunday, December 27- Guitarra Azul in the Ginkgo Room and the Frozen Robins carolers along the trail
- Friday, January 1- Ask Your Folks in the Ginkgo Room and the Frozen Robins carolers along the trail
- Saturday, January 2- R-Gang in the Ginkgo Room and the Frozen Robins carolers along the trail
Enjoy an intricate model railroad winding through a four-season display. January 15- February 21, 2016 LEARN MORE
The Arboretum thanks the following sponsors of the 2015 Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum