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Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum Returns on November 17

Illumination is back for its fifth season with new experiences and returning favorites.
August 8, 2017

Celebrating its fifth year, the one-of-a-kind winter lights experience Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum returns November 17 to The Morton Arboretum.

From November 17, 2017 through January 1, 2018, 50 acres of the Arboretum’s majestic trees will glow in mesmerizing hues of blue, green, purple, and magenta. Along the wooded one-mile path, visitors will discover a series of experiences that encourage them to see trees in a different light. Visitors can see a grove of hemlock trees’ color transform from green to technicolor hues, and catch a glimpse of trees that appear to be gently breathing.  Additionally, visitors can hug a tree and watch it respond or enjoy a dazzling show of lights that appear to dance in the trees in time to music. 

New for 2017
This year’s event includes new features to wow event-goers, including a new way to experience Illumination! Become part of the Illumination experience by wearing programmed interactive pendants that light up in sync with the event. Also new this year will be timed admission tickets, allowing visitors to enter every half hour throughout the event.

Returning Favorites
Many returning fan favorites are back for the upcoming season, including:

  • Treemagination – Guests will marvel at projections on the trees that make it seem as though the trees are "breathing" one moment, drenched with saturated and surreal fields of color the next, only to be transformed again with amazing geometric patterns.
  • Fantasy Forest – Redesigned for 2017, this experience showcases grouped white columns rising up between manicured hedges. Representing groves of trees, these structures provide the setting for sweeping beams of light that extend across the landscape and skyward in time with spirited music. 
  • Ornament Hill – Visitors will encounter a breathtaking and glittering vista of hundreds of giant glowing orbs nestled in the landscape and surrounded by thousands of points of LED light.
  • Symphony Woods – Updated for 2017, lights dance in the trees to classical music during this popular experience.
  • Crystal Promenade – 24 ethereal chandeliers adorn a forest of Douglas fir and spruce trees in this fairy tale-like spot. 


Three concession tents scattered throughout the trail will feature snacks and hot beverages, including gourmet hot chocolate and visitors can stop in The Morton Arboretum’s Ginkgo Restaurant, offering a full dinner menu every night of Illumination.  Additionally, visitors can enjoy a cozy fire and a break at one of the warming areas along the Illumination path.

“We are looking forward to our fifth season of encouraging our visitors to see trees in a different light, with visitors’ favorites, new features and ticket options to enhance the Illumination experience for our guests,” said Sue Wagner, vice president of education and information at The Morton Arboretum. “Illumination will again surprise and delight visitors with luminous color, light, and sound that will transform 50 acres of trees into something truly magical.” 

Illumination tickets range from $18 to $22 for adults and $12 to $14 for children and go on sale October 2, 2017. Members of The Morton Arboretum receive discounted ticket prices to Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum. Learn more about savings on Illumination tickets and the many other benefits of membership at mortonarb.org/join-support.  For more information and to purchase tickets for Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum, visit mortonarb.org/illumination.

The Morton Arboretum thanks PowerShares QQQ by Invesco and ComEd for their support of 2017 Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum. 

About Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum
Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum brings light and nature together for a wintertime walk in the woods like no other. Illumination invites visitors to see trees in a different light on a one-mile walk surrounded by 50 acres of the Arboretum’s trees, brought to life with LED lights, interactive elements and sound. Live entertainment and warming stations add to the wintertime experience. With accolades from local and national media including Condé Nast Traveler and USA Today, Illumination has quickly become a winter tradition, welcoming more than a half-million visitors from throughout the United States as well as Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany since its 2013 debut season. The event is built in partnership with noted experiential lighting designers Lightswitch and production company Intelligent Lighting Creations (ILC), and features energy-efficient, eco-friendly LED lighting.