VISIT & explore

May-June 2016 Events At The Morton Arboretum

Ribbit! The Exhibit is a great exhibit for all ages.
February 19, 2016

This May and June, The Morton Arboretum offers a spectacular line-up of special events, children and family programs and adult classes. On May 5, celebrate the holiday with our first-ever Cinco de Mayo Dinner. May also brings our popular Tails on the Trails, one of the few days dogs can enjoy the Arboretum.  Visitors can bring their pups for a day of hiking, pet demonstrations, and a pet expo.

Beginning in June, join us for live music on our patio during Wednesdays, Woods and Wine, or bring the family to listen to live music and explore the Children’s Garden in the evening hours during Thursday Family Nights.  Also in June, toast the trees and soak up the sun during our third-annual Craft Beer Festival on June 25, which features more than 40 breweries.

All summer long, visitors are invited to the whimsical world of Ribbit! The Exhibit . On display through September 25, this exhibit features 23 larger-than-life frog sculptures created from copper.  Look for Zenny, the meditating frog in the May T. Watts Reading Garden or Eduardo the Tree Frog perched in the branches of a majestic white oak.

A list of May and June Arboretum events and details is below. For more information, visit All prices listed are for the general public and information is accurate as of the date of this release, but we encourage media to check the website as times and dates may change.

May-June Highlights

Ribbit! The Exhibit
Through Sunday, September 25
Free with Arboretum admission
This summer The Morton Arboretum’s Ribbit! The Exhibit will showcase 23 whimsical, larger-than-life frog sculptures fashioned from copper. The copper sculptures are created by North Carolina artist J.A. Cobb. Each frog has his or her own name, story and personality.

Tails on the Trails
Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
$5 per dog, Arboretum admission applies
Enjoy a day out with your pup as you meander down the Arboretum's 16 miles of hiking trails. Shop from local businesses and organizations in the pet expo, test out the agility course, and join us for guided hikes. Meet dogs available for adoption and inquire about volunteering with local pet shelters. Sign your pooch up for dog-friendly games, including the crowd-favorite peanut butter licking contest. Don't forget to pick up your free pet bandana at the vendor expo. Events and programs will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. but dogs are allowed at the Arboretum all day, from 7 a.m. to sunset.

Growing Brilliantly Dinner Party
Saturday, May 21, 6-11 p.m.
$500 per person
Guests will be a part of the tree-focused work of The Morton Arboretum during the 2016 Growing Brilliantly Dinner Party. This signature fundraising event supports the Arboretum’s programs and its mission to plant and protect trees for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. To learn more, contact Natalie Knight, Donor Relations Manager, at 630-719-7976.

Wednesdays, Woods and Wine
Wednesdays throughout June, 5:30-8 p.m.
Wednesday is the new Friday. Unwind with live music and drinks on warm summer evenings in the Arboretum’s courtyard.

Thursday Family Nights
Thursdays throughout June, 5-8 p.m.
Enjoy live music, kid-friendly fare, and entertainment after-hours in the Children’s Garden. 

Summer Science Camp
Beginning June 6, Times vary
See website for pricing details
The Morton Arboretum’s Summer Science Camp promotes active learning and outdoor exploration all summer long. This season features more than 100 camps for kids in kindergarten through eighth grade. From June 6 through August 12, each week-long camp will immerse kids in the world of nature as they play the part of environmental avenger, build a forest fort or even wade through wetlands in search of critters that live underwater. For additional information and to register, visit

Craft Beer Festival
Saturday, June 25, 1-5 p.m.  or 12-5 p.m. for VIP ticketholders
$50 advanced purchase, $55 day-of
For VIP: $70 advanced purchase, $75 day-of (if available)
Toast to the trees with our third-annual Craft Beer Festival. Sip on local favorites and explore new beers from more than 40 breweries while enjoying the beautiful surroundings of The Morton Arboretum. Guest restaurants and Arboretum concessions will be available on-site for purchase. Bring a chair or lie down on a blanket to soak in the summer sun while listening to live music by the feel-good, country rock band Summer Son. VIP ticket allows for early admission at noon and early access to limited release and specialty cask beers.  The Arboretum also welcomes designated drivers for $15.

Dining Events

Cinco de Mayo Dinner
Thursday, May 5, 6 p.m.
Spice up your Cinco de Mayo at The Morton Arboretum. Dine and dance in the beautiful Ginkgo Restaurant at our first-ever dinner celebrating the holiday. Enjoy south-of-the-border flavors and live music. For more information, visit

Mother’s Day Brunch
Sunday, May 8, seatings at 9 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.
$59 for adults, $34 for children, children under 3 are free
The Morton Arboretum welcomes you to celebrate Mother's Day with a brunch in our beautiful Ginkgo Restaurant. Brunch offerings include an omelet and pasta station.

Arboretum Store Events

Garden Art Sale
Friday, May 13-Sunday, May 15, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Accentuate your lawn and garden with colorful garden art. Choose from furniture, garden stakes, wall art, outdoor pillows, statuary, birdfeeders, and much more. 

Children’s Garden Programs

Garden Explorers: Planting Rainbows  18-35 months
Tuesdays, May 3-24, 9:30-10:45 a.m.
Join us for this four-week outdoor adventure in the garden.  Each day we will play, hike, read stories, and make a nature-related craft.  Adults will receive tips to continue exploration at home. 

Garden Explorers: Planting Rainbows  3-5 years
Thursdays, May 5-26, 9:30-11 a.m.
Join us for this four-week outdoor adventure in the garden.   Each day we will play, hike, read stories, and make a nature-related craft.  Adults will receive tips to continue exploration at home.   

Frog and Toad visit The Morton Arboretum
Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Meet the classic Arnold Lobel storybook characters, Frog and Toad.  We'll also make crafts and read Frog and Toad stories throughout the day.

Frogs and Fairies and Mudpies...Oh My! 18-35 months
Thursday, June 16, Tuesday, June 21 or Wednesday, June 22, 9:30-10:45 a.m.
Enjoy stories, crafts, muddy games and play in this squishy, squashy, fairytale of a program.     

Frogs and Fairies and Mudpies...Oh My! 3-5 years 
Tuesday, June 14 , Wednesday, June 15 or Thursday, June 23, 9:30-11 a.m.
Enjoy stories, crafts, muddy games and play in this squishy, squashy, fairytale of a program.     

Family Programs and Classes

Tree Pose Yoga  
Mondays, May and June, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Experience nature from a new angle through fun animal and tree yoga poses. Young students will learn about the environment while stretching, moving, and breathing like the creatures around them. We’ll practice outdoors if the weather allows.  This class is recommended for children ages 3 to 6 though it is open to all ages. The fee is per child. Class will not be held on Memorial Day. 

Acorn Express Adventures
Wednesdays and Fridays in May and June, 11-11:45 a.m.
Join us on the Acorn Express for a family-friendly tram ride adventure through the Arboretum. We’ll seek out fun destinations to hike, make a craft, and explore new topics each week.  

Acorn Express Adventures-- Homeschool Journey
Monday, May 2 and Monday, June 6, 9:30-10:15 a.m.
Join us on the Acorn Express for a family friendly tram ride adventure through the Arboretum. We’ll seek out fun destinations to hike, make a craft, and explore nature topics.  Gather with homeschool families from the Chicago area and bring snacks to enjoy in the Children’s Garden picnic area after the program.  

Family Twilight Adventures
Fridays, May 13 or June 10 or Saturdays, May 28 or June 18, 7-9 p.m.
Join us for a fun-filled adventure after hours at the Arboretum. We’ll hike, do activities and roast marshmallows before going on a silent tram ride through the woods after dark.  Come and see what happens at the Arboretum at night. Children must be accompanied by adult registrant. Please plan to have at least one adult per five children and dress for the weather.

Children’s Garden Campout
Friday, June 24-Saturday June 25, 6:30 p.m.-9 a.m.
Join us for a campout designed especially for families. Pitch your tent on the lawn inside the Children’s Garden and get ready for a night filled with fun.  Visit hands-on activity stations, enjoy snacks, night hikes, and bedtime stories. When you get sleepy, retire to your cozy tent and snooze the night away. In the morning, wake to the sound of birds singing and then enjoy a light breakfast and a chance to explore the Children’s Garden with your family before it opens to the general public. The rain date is June 25-26.

Family Explorers Backpack
Daily in May and June, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Looking for a unique experience in the Children’s Garden? Rent a self-guided family backpack and enhance your visit. Backpack rental includes science tools, guides and fun props to explore nature as a family.

Wellness Programs

FIT4MOM Stroller Strides® 
Tuesdays, May 3-July 5, 10-11 a.m.
$21 per class or $135 for a series
Experience the Arboretum’s beauty as you get fit with your little ones along for the ride. Stroller Strides® is a stroller-based fitness program designed for moms with their children. Each 60-minute, total body workout incorporates power walking/jogging, strength, toning, songs and activities. Certified fitness instructors will help you become as strong, flexible, and enduring as the Arboretum trees.  No umbrella strollers please.

Adult Yoga  
Wednesdays, May 4-June 1, 6:30-7:30 p.m. or Thursdays, May 5-June 2, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
$19 per class or $85 for a series
Improve your health and well-being with yoga. We will practice poses, breathing and meditation in the tranquil setting of The Morton Arboretum.

Aviana Aerial Tree Yoga for Adults
Wednesdays, June 8-29, 9-10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. or Sundays, June 5-26, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Take advantage of the opportunity to experience aerial yoga at The Morton Arboretum.  Aerial yoga offers wonderful benefits to the body such as inversion therapy, myofascial release, lymphatic massage, core strengthening, and muscle lengthening.  The practice is entirely safe and easily accessible for a broad range of fitness levels and offers a unique opportunity to exercise, stretch, relax, and even meditate while cocooned in your own colorful hammock while in an oak tree.  The classes offered from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays are low-impact.

Learn about Nature

Curb Appeal for the Home Gardener
Wednesday, May 4, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Learn how to make the most of your home’s curb appeal. Whether it’s formal or informal, your front landscape creates a first impression about who lives there and ultimately impacts its resale value. Get simple and often inexpensive design ideas and update your home’s curb appeal this spring.

Frog ID Workshop
Thursday, May 5, 1-3:30 p.m. and 6:30-9 p.m.
Learn the names and ecology of the frogs that call in the spring. The Chicago area is home to eight fairly common frog species, with an additional four found in the further reaching collar counties.  Time will be spent indoors learning how to identify these amphibians by physical features as well as their distinct vocalizations. Then head outside to listen and search for species that call the Arboretum home.

Pruning Flowering Shrubs
Saturday, May 7, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Get the most out of your shrubs with proper spring pruning.  Flowering shrubs often require pruning in the spring. Find out which shrubs should be pruned before or after flowering, learn the methods for renewal and rejuvenation pruning and when to use them, and participate in live demonstrations with an Arboretum expert.

Advanced Spring Local Flora
Saturday, May 7, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. 
Learn the identification skills to manage, restore, or simply enjoy woodland and prairie habitats, including identifying plants early in the growing season. Enjoy the flush of the first spring blooms in the Arboretum woodlands and prairies and practice your identification skills in the field with guidance from a local plant expert.

Late Spring Trees
Friday, May 13, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
All trees produce flowers, but some trees produce masses of blooms in the spring. Magnolias, crabapples, fringetree, pagoda dogwood and the striking red buckeye are just a few of the trees that brighten our landscape. Discover showy woodland trees that make a nice addition to the home landscape.

Grow an Herb Garden
Saturday, May 14, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Fresh herbs make a great addition to the gardener-cook’s kitchen repertoire. Learn how to grow some of the most popular herbs—basil, cilantro, oregano, lemongrass, rosemary, and many others—and how to harvest and preserve them for extended use.

Basic Plant ID
Online class begins Thursday, May 5
In-person session meets Saturday, May 14, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Get the botany basics you need to identify plants. From the comfort of your home or office, use new, self-paced online learning modules to learn about plant identification. These narrated slides and interactive, no-pressure quizzes will help you learn the vocabulary to name plants and describe their structures and life histories. Then attend a one-day session at the Arboretum to apply these skills in the field while learning how to use a variety of field guides and tools with the guidance of an Arboretum plant expert.  Whether you are a gardener, naturalist, artist, or natural resources specialist or volunteer, this class provides the fundamentals you need to get started.

Spring Ikebana
Saturday, May 14, 1-3:30 p.m.
Capture the graceful curve of an unfolding bud, the surprise of new leaves, or the lightness of a cloud through Ikebana—the art of Japanese flower arranging. The instructors will demonstrate several techniques and then help you create your favorite version. All plant materials will be collected fresh from the Arboretum grounds. Each student will create an arrangement to take home.

Creating Intimate Spaces in the Garden
Thursday, May 19, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
There are many benefits to gardening in a small space such as around a deck, patio or townhome.  Learn ideas for creating captivating, low-maintenance plant combinations for the small space garden.

Full Moon Tram Tour
Thursday, May 19 or Friday, May 20, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Discover what happens when no one is around the Arboretum at night. With the moon shining through the trees, a tram ride reveals a captivating symphony of sounds, mysterious spaces, and wildlife on the move.   During our ride and short hikes, we will discuss night ecology, share stories of moon lore, and enjoy the magic of nature at night.

Late Spring Shrubs
Friday, May 20, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Late spring is the time of year when the air is filled with the vanilla-almond scent of viburnum and mock orange.  Discover the glory of flowering shrubs that offer multi-season interest and how to use them in the home landscape.

Guided Hikes

Perennial Maintenance Walking Tour
Thursday, May 19, 6-8 p.m.
Stroll the Arboretum's stunning perennial beds where you’ll learn about plant placement, dividing, transplanting, watering, fertilizing, mulching, and more. Knowing what to do and when to do it will help keep your perennial gardens looking good from spring through fall.

Spring Wildflower Walk
Saturday, May 7, 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Wander through the ever-changing array of blooms in our woodlands to learn how to identify wildflowers such as trillium, mayapple, and dog-tooth violet and hear about their folklore. Bring a friend and enjoy this fleeting spring pleasure.

Spring Twilight Hike
Saturday, May 7, 7-8:30 p.m.
Enjoy the unique sights and sounds of a spring evening. Walk through Arboretum woodlands and wetlands, feeling and hearing the differences between night and day. Listen for sounds of western chorus frogs and spring peepers, and be alert for signs of nocturnal animals.

Nature Photography

Morton Arboretum Photographic Society Exhibit
Sunday, May 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
From close-up details of trees to the landscape in which they grow, this photography exhibit captures the beauty of nature.

Photographing Spring Wildflowers
Wednesdays, May 4-11, 6:30-9:30 p.m., and Saturday, May 7, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. or
Tuesdays, May 10-17, 6:30-9:30 p.m., and Saturday, May 14, 7 a.m.-1 p.m.
Learn how to find early spring ephemeral flowers and how to best capture their delicate color. Ephemerals are wildflowers that appear briefly in the spring and then disappear from view after they bloom.

Smartphone Photography
Saturday, May 14, 1-4 p.m.
This class will cover the best ways to use your smartphone to capture attractive images, and recommend a selection of good starter apps for some basic post-processing of your photos.  We will demonstrate with an iPhone and iPad but the techniques and apps apply to most smartphones. Whether you are new to photography or an old hand, discover techniques for getting great nature images with your phone.

Basic Nature Photography
Tuesdays, June 7 and 14, 6:30-9:30 p.m., and Saturday, June 11, 8-11 a.m.
Increase your confidence in your nature photography. You will become familiar with your camera controls, learn basic composition, and how to transfer and edit your digital images.  The Saturday session will be spent practicing
in-field techniques.

Bird Walks

Warbler Workshop 
Thursday, May 5, 7-9 p.m. and Saturday, May 7, 8-12 p.m.
Brightly colored warblers are one of the highlights of spring. In this workshop, enjoy the spring warbler migration while learning about identification, arrival dates, migration patterns, habitat preferences, and daily feeding techniques.

Spring Bird Walks
Saturday, May 21, 8-10:30 a.m.
Celebrate spring by searching the Arboretum grounds for nature’s brightly colored pageant of spring birds. Eastern bluebirds, rufous-sided towhees, and eastern meadowlarks are among the many birds that return to or pass through Illinois on their way north. Join us to follow the spring migration through the season with an expert guide. If you've always wanted to learn about birds and weren't sure where to start, this is the program for you.

Bird Monitoring Techniques 
Saturday, June 4, 8-11:30 a.m.
Learn to monitor bird populations for conservation. Bird monitoring is used to understand the health and viability of bird species and habitat restorations. Learn how to establish a monitoring program at a site and how to participate effectively in bird monitoring.  

Botanical Art

Open Studio     
Mondays, May 2-May 23, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
$49 per class or $150 for the series
Work with an instructor on learning the basic techniques of a different medium each week. Advanced students may bring in a project they are working on for individual help and critique. Classes will cover graphite, colored pencil, scratchboard and watercolor.

Nature Journaling
Wednesday, May 4, 6-9 p.m.
Explore the changing face of spring through specific journaling techniques. Spring is a season of renewal and refreshment. Expand your creative horizons and enjoyment of the season by capturing your seasonal observations and reflections.

Plants in Watercolor
Wednesdays, May 4-11 and May 25-June 1, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
This introductory class will teach attendees how to handle watercolor, which is a classic technique used for botanical illustration. We will focus on the use of color glazing, specific brush techniques, and accurate rendition of details.

Mosaic Gifts for Mom’s Garden
Saturday, May 7, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Learn to make a personalized mosaic gift perfect for Mother’s Day. Choose a flower pot or picture frame and bring mementos to add to the mosaic such as beads, vintage jewelry or buttons.  A wide variety of spring shards will be available. Attendees will be given grout and easy instructions to finish on their own.

Watercolor in Botanical Art: A Library Exploration 
Saturday, May 14, 1-4 p.m. 
Discover the unique art treasures in the Sterling Morton Library collections. Learn about the history of watercolor and gouache, an opaque watercolor, and its use in botanical illustration. We will view original artworks from Barbara Deitzsch to contemporary botanical artists and discuss the mediums and techniques used. Tea and goodies will be served.

Visiting Artist Series: The Colors of White 
Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Learn to see and render the many colors in white objects. Working with white flowers and objects from your personal collection, we will compose a drawing and begin to render with colored pencil. Objects brought in do not need to be botanical in nature.

Arboretum Uncorked: Spring Scenes
Wednesday, May 18, 7-9 p.m.
Choose from one of two artistic activities. Enjoy a glass of wine and create a vibrant painting of the spring landscape. Choose your landscape from one of the three images offered in an instructor-led workshop. Attendees can also opt to work with a local artisan to create a flowering wine bottle planter. The ultimate in up-cycling, this creation is the perfect meld of design and nature.