VISIT & explore


LISLE, Ill. (March 13, 2014)—This May and June, The Morton Arboretum offers a “tree-mendous” array of events, entertainment and classes to ring in summer. Acclaimed author Amy Stewart visits the Arboretum on May 15, sharing insight and recipes from her New York Times best-seller “The Drunken Botanist” in Cocktails with The Drunken Botanist. Also in May, dogs take center stage at the Arboretum as Tails on the Trails returns.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra returns to the Arboretum in late June with a series of outdoor concerts, while the Arboretum’s new Drive In Nights: Movies at the Arboretum offers a unique chance to see popular movies among the Arboretum’s treescape. Also new at the Arboretum June 20 and June 21 is our Drink it in: Wine Fest where participants can enjoy sampling wine from more than a dozen wineries along with great food and live music. A complete list of May and June events and details is below. For more information, visit www.mortonarb.org/events.


May-June Highlights


NEW! Cocktails with The Drunken Botanist
Thursday, May 15, 6 p.m.
$55 for members, $60 for nonmembers 
Join us for a cocktail party in our Ginkgo Restaurant with Amy Stewart, author of “The Drunken Botanist.” Stewart is an award-winning writer of several books including four New York Times best sellers. Her research for “The Drunken Botanist” included years of visits to the world's distilleries, wineries and bars where she explored an exciting array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits and fungi used to make different kinds of alcohol over the centuries. The combination of biology, chemistry, mixology and more come together to offer drink recipes and growing tips for gardeners, promising to make anyone “the most popular guest at any cocktail party.” Enjoy her exciting presentation, heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks right out of the pages of her book.


Tails on the Trails
Saturday, May 24, 7 a.m.-sunset
$5 per dog with Arboretum admission
The popular Tails on the Trails day returns to the Arboretum this spring. For two days this year (also September 13), we open the Arboretum to our four-legged friends! Enjoy a day out with your pet as you meander down the Arboretum’s 16 miles of hiking trails. Then, check out canine demonstrations, dog adoption agencies, shelters and local vendors. All dogs must be current with vaccinations, be social with other dogs and be kept on a leash at all times. Please note, dogs will not be allowed inside buildings, the Children’s Garden or the Maze Garden.


NEW! Drive In Nights: Movies at The Arboretum
Friday, June 6 and Saturday, June 7
Enjoy a night out under the stars during The Morton Arboretum’s first-ever drive-in movie series! Featuring new films and old classics, we invite you to grab a seat in our “living room” for a relaxing movie night surrounded by stunning landscapes. Top the evening off with food and beverages from our concession stand. Please visit mortonarb.org for film titles and further information.


NEW! Drink it in: Wine Fest at The Morton Arboretum
Friday, June 20 and Saturday, June 21
Sample wine from more than a dozen wineries while soaking in the beautiful setting of The Morton Arboretum on two of the longest nights of the year! Bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy wine tastings with your souvenir wine glass! The event will feature mouth-watering food and live music. Case and bottle sales will also be available. Tickets go on sale April 15.


Wednesdays, Woods & Wine
Wednesdays in June, 5:30-8 p.m.
$10 for members, $15 for nonmembers, Arboretum admission fee is waived after 5 p.m.
Wednesday is the new Friday! Unwind after work with intimate live music, drinks and light fare. A menu offering an assortment of tapas plates and beverages will be available for purchase. No advanced registration. Ages 21+.


Chicago Symphony Orchestra Concert Series at The Morton Arboretum
Thursday-Saturday, June 26, 27 and 28
The Morton Arboretum will again host the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a series of concerts amid the magnificent trees and lovely landscape of the Arboretum. The Thursday performance will feature excerpts from popular Academy Award-nominated films. The Friday performance will feature masterworks from the familiar classical repertoire including Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides Overture, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. The final performance on Saturday will begin with Brahms’ Hungarian Dances Nos. 17-21 and continue with Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 and more. Tickets go on sale March 24 at cso.org/morton.


Summer Science Camps
Monday, June 9-Friday, August 8
This year’s Summer Science Camp lineup features more than 100 camps for kids in kindergarten-8th grade. Favorites from previous years like Fishing Fun, Bike & Hike and Forest Forts will be back, along with more than a dozen new camps to choose from. Each week-long session will engage and educate kids as they explore bizarre bugs, wriggling frogs, fairy worlds and more. Morning and afternoon supervised play as well as supervised lunch in between half-day camps will once again be available for an additional fee.


Dining Events


Mother’s Day Brunch
Sunday, May 11, Seatings at 9:30 a.m., noon and 3 p.m.
$49 for adult members, $34 for children members, $58 for adult nonmembers, $40 for children nonmembers, children under 4 are free
Treat mom to a fabulous Mother’s Day brunch in our Ginkgo Restaurant overlooking the beautiful blooming backdrop of Meadow Lake. Adults 21+ can enjoy a complimentary mimosa or glass of champagne. General admission tickets now on sale.


Mother/Daughter Tea Party
Saturday, May 17, 10-11:30 a.m. and 2-3:30 p.m.
$20 for members, $28 for nonmembers
Enjoy a cup of tea and sweet treats as we celebrate spring with a tea party in the Thornhill Education Center’s Founders Room. Discover which parts of trees and plants make the best teas and create a fragrant keepsake to take home. This is a perfect outing for grandmothers, mothers and daughters to enjoy together! Recommended for children ages 2 and older.


Father’s Day BBQ
Sunday, June 15, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Treat dad to a southern BBQ featuring baby back ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork and roasted chicken. Plus, explore our Tree House Tales exhibition as a family. Food will be available for purchase a la carte with pricing ranging from $6 to $11.


Arboretum Store Events


Jewelry Trunk Show: Nancy Neill
Saturday, May 3, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Shop a dazzling and colorful array of sparkling treasures by Nancy Neill at The Arboretum Store. Her jewelry will be on display for purchase at The Arboretum Store and makes a perfect gift for mom or any special lady. Also browse unique nature-inspired décor and gifts.


Garden Art Sale
Saturday, May 17 and Sunday, May 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Accentuate your lawn and garden with colorful garden art including garden stakes, artwork, bird feeders and much more. Dress for the weather as this event will take place rain or shine on the West Lawn.


Youth & Family Programs


Acorn Express Adventures
Wednesdays and Fridays in May and June, 11-11:45 a.m.
$4 for members, $5 for nonmembers
Join us on the Acorn Express tram for an adventure through the Arboretum! We’ll seek out fun destinations, make a craft, and explore new topics each week. Recommended ages:  Families with children age 2 and older. Weather permitting.


Tree Pose Yoga
Wednesdays in May and June and Saturdays, May 17 and June 14, 10 a.m.-11 a.m.
$10 for members, $17 for nonmembers
Experience nature from a new angle through fun tree and animal yoga poses! Young students will learn about the environment while stretching, moving and breathing like the creatures around them with a certified YogaKids instructor. We’ll practice outdoors if the weather allows. Recommended for ages 4-6 (though open to all ages) with adult. Note: This class requires a yoga mat (available for rent).


Tree House Tales
Daily in May and June, 7 a.m. -sunset
Free with Arboretum admission
Play in the Empress Tree Castle or the Bur Oak Clubhouse Hideaway at Tree House Tales at The Morton Arboretum! This imaginative and entertaining exhibition comprises six kid-friendly, fun-filled and educational tree houses. Each house celebrates the story and significance of a species of tree. Play-to-learn is the underlying design concept that runs through the exhibition, and it’s why every tree house is a house full of activity, adventure and excitement.


Family Explorers Backpack
Daily in May and June, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
$4 for members, $5 for nonmembers
Looking for a new experience in the Children’s Garden? Reserve a self-guided family backpack. Choose between the Sensory Backpack or Discover Backpack.  Backpack rental includes science tools, guides and fun props. Recommended for families with children 2-6 years old.


Beaks are Back
Weekdays in May, 1-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Would a beak by any other name eat as neat? What a bird can eat depends on the size and shape of its beak. Experiment with different tools to explore how birds eat in this self-guided hands-on discovery activity in the Children’s Garden.    


Bird is the Word
Weekends in May, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Come explore the world of baby birds! Match bird moms to bird babies, play with nest materials and make a baby owl call to take home. This activity will take place in the Children’s Garden. 


Froggy Picnic
Saturday, May 3, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
$18 for members, $25 for nonmembers
Visit the frogs near their homes, view live tadpoles, learn to recognize different frog calls and make some froggy music of your own. A picnic lunch will be included, and picnic blankets are welcome. Recommended for families with children 2 and older.


Pond Explorers: 18-35 Months
4 Tuesdays, May 6-27, 9:30-10:45 a.m.
$65 for members, $78 for nonmembers
Kids will use all of their senses to connect with nature’s springtime rhythms in this 4-week program about pond life. Each day we will hike, read stories, make a nature-related craft and play games all relating to pond life. Adults will receive tips to continue exploration at home. Recommended for ages 18-35 months with adult.


Pond Explorers: 3-5 Years
4 Thursdays, May 8-29, 9:30-11 a.m.
$70 for members, $83 for nonmembers
Kids will use all of their senses to connect with nature’s springtime rhythms in this 4-week program about pond life. Each day we will hike, read stories, make a nature-related craft and play games all relating to pond life. Adults will receive tips to continue exploration at home. Recommended for ages 3-5 with adult.


Family Twilight Adventures
Fridays, May 9 and June 13, 7-9 p.m.
Saturdays, May 17 and June 7, 6-8 p.m.
$16 for members, $19 for nonmembers
Come out to The Arboretum for a fun-filled after-hours adventure, designed for families with children 2 and over. 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! The May theme will be Turtles; the June theme will be Shadows. Children must be accompanied by adult registrant. Please plan to have at least one adult per five children and dress for the weather.


Race Horses of the Sky
Saturday, May 31, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Did you know that pigeons are incredible animal athletes? Meet Matt Wiesbrock in the Children’s Garden as he showcases his racing pigeons and talks about his fascinating backyard hobby.


Mud Painting
Daily in June, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Come join us in the Children’s Garden for some fun with mud. We will be painting with mud and looking at some of the animals that live in the dirt.


Wonderful World of Water
Daily in June,  11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Water covers more than half of the Earth’s surface and is part of every plant and animal in the world.  Find out fascinating facts about water and even splash around while painting with water in the Children’s Garden.


Family Fishing
Sundays, June 8 and 29, 7:30 a.m.-10 a.m.
$10 for members, $17 for nonmembers
Spend the morning getting hooked on fishing at the Arboretum's Lake Marmo! This 25-foot deep lake contains a wide variety of fish including bluegills and bass. Catch and release fish from the banks as you learn about the fish living in the lake and how they are perfectly adapted for a life in the water. Notes: Fishing pole required, bait provided. State fishing license required if 16 years of age or older. Recommended for families with children 4 and older.


The Toothy Truth about Animal Teeth: 3-5 Years
Tuesday, June 10, Wednesday, June 18 or Thursday, June 19, 9:30-11 a.m.
$18 for members, $25 for nonmembers
Learn about the different ways animals use their teeth to eat and survive in the wild. We will hike, read stories and play games in this interactive, sensory-based program. Recommended for ages 3-5 with adult.


The Toothy Truth about Animal Teeth: 18-35 Months
Wednesday, June 11 and Tuesday, June 17, 9:30-10:45 a.m.
$15 for members, $22 for nonmembers
Learn about the different ways animals use their teeth to eat and survive in the wild. We will hike, read stories and play games in this interactive, sensory-based program. Recommended for ages 18-35 months with adult.


Children’s Garden Campout
Friday, June 20-Saturday, June 21, 6:30 p.m.-9 a.m. (rain date June 21-22)
$30 for members, $37 for nonmembers
Join us for a campout designed especially for families complete with hands-on activity stations, snacks, night hikes and bedtime stories! Pitch your tent on the lawn inside the Children’s Garden and get ready for a night filled with fun. Notes: Tents are not provided; please bring your own tent. Light evening snacks and light breakfast included, but consider bringing your own snacks as well. Recommended for families with children 2 and older.


Wiggling Water
Saturday, June 28 and Sunday, June 29, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
What’s that wiggling around in the water? Use microscopes to discover all of the magnificent microscopic creatures that call Wonder Pond home. Available in the Children’s Garden. 


Adult Programs and Events


Vanishing Acts: Trees Under Threat Exhibit
Daily in May and June, 7 a.m.-sunset
Free with Arboretum admission
Come learn about the gifts that the world's endangered trees give us and how you can join the Arboretum in saving them. This award-winning outdoor exhibit shows how the trees that we know and love are endangered in the wild. By protecting them, we help ourselves and the entire planet. Vanishing Acts was developed by The Morton Arboretum. The exhibit is located in the Conifer Collection, just a short stroll off the Conifer Walk.

May is Invasive Species Awareness Month and you can learn more at our Discovery Cart, located in the Vanishing Acts exhibit on Wednesdays from noon-2 p.m. and Sundays from 1-4 p.m.


The Morton Arboretum Photographic Society (MAPS) Photography Exhibit
Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Enjoy original nature photography, many of which are of The Morton Arboretum grounds. No registration is required for this exhibit which takes place in the Sycamore Room.


Spring Woodland Wildflowers
Saturday, May 3, 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
$16 for members, $23 for nonmembers
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. Cindy Crosby, Arboretum instructor and certified interpretive guide, will lead the walk. Please dress for the weather and for walking on chipped trails.


Warbler Workshop
Sunday, May 4, 8:00 am-12 p.m.
$55 for members, $65 for nonmembers
Brightly-colored warblers are one of the highlights of spring. In this intensive workshop, enjoy the spring warbler migration while learning about identification, arrival dates, migration patterns, habitat preferences and daily feeding techniques. Please dress for the weather and for hiking on uneven terrain. Participants should bring binoculars, your favorite field guide, water and a snack.


Monitoring and Managing Insect Pests
Monday, May 5 and Thursday, May 8, 6:30-9 p.m. and Saturday, May 10, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
$65 for members, $75 for nonmembers
Learn the life cycles, signs, symptoms and methods of control for the most common insects in our landscapes. Get up-to-date information on easy, less toxic strategies for managing insects and when treatment would do more harm than good. Participants will become acquainted with current seasonal insect threats and experience identifying them in the field. Please dress for the weather and for hiking off-trail on the Saturday session.


Landscape Plants: Late Spring Trees & Shrubs
2 Wednesdays, May 7 and May 14, 6-9 p.m. and Saturday, May 17, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
$105 for members, $123 for nonmembers
Learn to recognize and grow a variety of small ornamental trees and shrubs, including crabapples, dogwoods and redbuds that are at their peak in late spring and are appropriate choices for our regional landscapes. Participants will learn to recognize and know the culture of more than 250 different plants.


NEW! Chef’s Table: Cooking Classes at The Morton Arboretum
Thursday, May 8, and Thursday, June 19, 6-8 p.m.
$55 for members, $60 for nonmembers
Join us as we continue our new monthly Chef’s Table cooking classes! During these interactive classes, guests will assist the Arboretum’s chef, Jean-Louis Clerc, in preparing a themed meal. In May, participants will learn to make a fun summertime brunch. Afterwards, engage in a Q&A session with the chef and enjoy your culinary creation. All participants will leave with the recipe. Space is limited.


Art & Science Dinner Party
Saturday, May 10, 6 p.m.
$375 per ticket
Help support our mission of creating a greener, healthier and more beautiful world by attending The Morton Arboretum’s annual Dinner Party: Art & Science. Our grounds and collections are breathtaking, but they are only made possible by the many researchers, scientists, groundskeepers and horticulturists who use science daily to make our facilities a beautiful place to enjoy. Spend the evening celebrating The Morton Arboretum's extraordinary balance of art and science in the splendor of 1,700 acres of beautiful scenery with live music, dinner, exciting raffle prizes and an after party!


The Language of Flowers
Saturday, May 10, 2-4 p.m.
$35 for members, $43 for nonmembers
Make a floral arrangement for Mother’s Day! Did you know that the Victorians created an elaborate language based on flower symbolism to circumvent strict social protocols? You too can learn to speak the language of flowers and use it to express your own subtle messages by creating a Victorian nosegay to take home.


3rd Annual ISAM Workshop
Thursday May 15, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
$15 for members and nonmembers
May is Invasive Species Awareness Month and the 2014 theme is “Invasive Species Affect Everyone.” This year’s workshop will focus on pests and pathogens of conifers along with a look at Callery pear, a growing invasive species in Illinois. Guest speakers from a variety of universities and also the Arboretum will be contributing to the workshop. Lunch and snacks will be provided.


ISAM Field Tour
Friday, May 16, 8-11:30 a.m.
$20 for members and nonmembers
Professor Dennis Fulbright of Michigan State University will lead a tour on the Arboretum grounds continuing the discussion of the Invasive Species Awareness Month workshop topics of the day before. Field identification of conifer pests and pathogens will be the highlight of this tour. Please bring a hand lens and wear appropriate gear for the weather.


Spring Bird Walk
Saturday, May 17, 8-10:30 a.m.
$8 for members, $10 for nonmembers
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! Please dress for the weather and bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them.


Engaging the Public
Saturday, May 17, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
$50 for members, $59 for nonmembers
Learn how to develop meaningful interpretive programs through hands-on activities and applications for program use. This workshop is recommended for volunteers, stewards, and people who work in conservation, restoration and want to provide engaging education during programs, events or work days. This class is held both indoors and outdoors. Please bring your lunch and a beverage.


Spring Ikebana
Saturday, May 17, 1-3:30 p.m.
$35 for members, $43 for nonmembers
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, and each student will create an arrangement to take home.


Advanced Invasive Plant Identification
Sunday, May 18, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
$35 for members, $43 for nonmembers
Learn to identify invasive plants when they are first emerging in spring. Invasive plants are a persistent and difficult threat to our natural habitats.  Identifying them early in the season can be critical to successful management.  Learn the identification skills to control invasive plants, and practice your skills in the field with guidance from a local plant expert. Please dress for the weather and wear sturdy walking shoes. Please bring a water bottle, a snack, materials for taking notes and a hand lens.


Adobe Photoshop™ II
5 Mondays, May 19, and June 2-23, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
$198 for members, $229 for nonmembers
In this second course of the Photoshop series, participants will apply techniques from the first class to their own nature images and will use Photoshop tools to import optimally RAW images into Photoshop. Additional added skills will include image cropping, straightening, clean-up and much more.


Perennial Maintenance Walking Tour
Tuesday, May 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
$25 for members, $33 for nonmembers
Most perennial gardens look their best when given a bit of care throughout the growing season. Walk through the Arboretum's perennial groupings to talk about maintenance chores such as cutting back, pinching, deadheading, deadleafing and disease and insect control on a wide variety of perennials.


Bird Conservation
3 Wednesdays, May 21 and June 4-11, 6:30-8:30 p.m. and 3 Saturdays, May 24 and June 7-14, 8-11 a.m.
$160 for members, $188 for nonmembers
Explore issues surrounding the preservation of bird life and diversity in Northern Illinois through classroom discussion and field study. Investigate how bird populations are naturally affected by habitat, competition and predation. Field-work observing the birds nesting in local grasslands, savannas, and wetlands will focus on regional conservation plans developed to increase nesting and reproductive success for at-risk species. Notes: Held indoors and outdoors. Binoculars and field guides will be useful.


About The Morton Arboretum
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized outdoor tree museum on 1,700 acres. Plant collections, scientific research and education programs support the mission to plant and conserve trees and other plants for a greener, healthier and more beautiful world. Designed with natural landscapes, the grounds include the award-winning, four-acre interactive Children’s Garden, the one-acre Maze Garden, plus specialty gardens, 16 miles of trails and nine miles of roads. Visitor experiences include the open-air tram ride, guided walks, Arbor Day celebrations, concerts, art shows, Fall Color Festival and special exhibits. The Arboretum welcomes more than 800,000 visitors annually and serves more than 35,600 members. Located 25 miles west of Chicago in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open daily 7 a.m. until sunset. Learn more at mortonarb.org.


Admission Rate 
Nonmember admission rates to The Morton Arboretum are $12 for adults ages 18-64 ($8 on Wednesday), $11 for seniors ages 65 and over ($7 on Wednesday), $9 for children ages 2-17 ($6 on Wednesday) and free for children under age 2. Parking is free with admission.