Logo

VISIT & explore

November–December 2013 Calendar

Illumination

 
Join us this holiday season as The Morton Arboretum is transformed into an interactive wonderland of color and light during its first-ever winter lights event, Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum. From November 22 to January 4, Illumination offers a holiday experience far beyond traditional twinkle lights, engaging your senses with dazzling projections, trees that respond to your touch and voice, and vivid, electric colors throughout.
 
Combining cutting-edge technology with the beautiful, wooded landscapes of the Arboretum, Illumination is not your typical holiday light show. The first experience of its kind in the Chicago area, Illumination invites visitors to see trees in a different light, along a mile-long, paved trail around the Arboretum's Meadow Lake and down the Conifer Walk.
 
As you walk, you'll be captivated by surprising and immersive light experiences along the way.
  • Hug a tree to make it grow brighter.
  • Play with colors and watch as trees light up at your command with a swipe of your arm.
  • Watch as cutting-edge projection turns towering evergreens turn into moving landscapes that trick the eyes.
  • Warm up next to fire pits while enjoying hot cocoa, s'mores, and other treats.
  • Visit the Enchanted Railroad and stop in to browse the holiday wares at The Arboretum Store.
 
Built in partnership with top lighting designers Lightswitch, Illumination features energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly LED lighting. LED lights provide beautiful, powerful color while consuming only half the power of traditional incandescent lighting.
 
Illumination will be open from 4:30 to 9 p.m. (last entry 8:30 p.m.) daily from November 22 through January 4. The event will be closed on three Mondays, December 2, 9, and 16, as well as on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
 
Event tickets go on sale October 1. For Arboretum members, prices are $10 for adults and $5 for children 2 to 17 years old, free for children under 2. Nonmember ticket prices are $15 for adults and $10 for children 2 to 17 years old, free for children under 2.
 
Illumination is presented in part by ComEd and BMO Harris Bank.
 

Youth & Family Programs

 
Just the Guys Overnight
Friday–Saturday, Nov. 1–2, 7 p.m.–9 a.m.
Cost: $40 member, $51 nonmember including Arboretum admission
 
Fathers and sons ages 5 to 10, take part in an overnight designed especially for you. In the evening, hike to Lake Marmo and listen for nighttime creatures. Afterward, enjoy s'mores around the campfire at the Shelter. In the morning, enjoy a light breakfast before a bird hike. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
 
Arbor Reading Adventures
Wednesdays and Fridays in November, 11–11:45 a.m. (except Nov. 29)
Cost: $4 member, $5 nonmember plus Arboretum admission
 
Children ages 2 to 6 and their parents are invited to the Sterling Morton Library interactive story time! We'll read stories, make a craft and then head out on the grounds for an adventure walk. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
 
New! Wilderness Skills 101
Saturday, Nov. 2, or Sunday, Nov. 10, 1–2:30 p.m.
Cost: $10 member, $17 nonmember including Arboretum admission
 
Could you survive in the wilderness? Could you navigate the woods, find and collect water, build a shelter, and start a fire? Don't just watch it on TV; get some hands-on practice at these essential skills with experts from REI! This class is designed for families with children ages 8 and up. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
 
Fall into Art
Tuesday, Nov. 5; Wednesday, Nov. 13; or Thursday, Nov. 14, 9:30–11 a.m.
Cost: $18 member child, $25 nonmember child including Arboretum admission
 
Falling seeds, colorful leaves and sleepy animals will be the inspiration for this art-based program. We'll create exciting artwork using seasonal changes and natural materials. For children ages 3 to 5, with adult. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
 
Art in Autumn
Wednesday, Nov. 6, or Tuesday, Nov. 12, 9:30–10:45 a.m.
Cost: $15 member child, $22 nonmember child including Arboretum admission
 
This sense- based program will draw upon the changing season's themes and fall shapes and colors. Crunchy leaves, tree seeds and a color hunt will be the inspiration for creating your very own work of art to take home. For children ages 18 to 35 months, with adult. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
 
Make Your Own Nature Ornaments
Saturday, Nov. 16, or Sunday, Nov. 24, 1–2:30 p.m.
Cost: $10 member, $17 nonmember including Arboretum admission
 
Create ornaments and mementos out of natural materials to decorate your home and garden. We'll take an outdoor photo of your family to incorporate! Get crafty and let nature inspire you to celebrate the season. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
 
New! Holiday Gnome Homes
Saturday, December 7, 10–11:30 a.m. or Sunday, December 15, 2–3:30 p.m.
Cost: $10 members, $17 nonmembers including Arboretum admission.
 
Take a hike to find out more about the personalities and hiding spots of gnomes among the trees at the Arboretum. Then make your own garden gnome home with natural materials to enjoy year after year. Each child will get a gnome home to decorate. For families with children ages 2 and up. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
 
Scarecrow Trail
Daily, Saturday, Sept. 28–Monday, Nov. 4
Free with Arboretum admission
 
Admire more than 40 nature-themed scarecrows created by local scout troops showcased around the Arboretum's Meadow Lake.. Pick up a ballot and vote for your favorite scarecrow.
 
Gnome Hunt
Daily, November–February
Free with Arboretum admission, weather permitting
 
The animals may be hibernating, but we still have gnomes. Can you find all of the gnomes hiding in the Children's Garden?
 
Cool Kids Winter Play
Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, December– February; 11-11:15 a.m. and 1–1:15 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission, weather permitting
 
Join us for some outdoor fun. This 15-minute guided session of outdoor play will depend on the day. Possibilities include snowman and snow fort building with natural materials or garden scavenger hunts for natural objects.
 
Enchanted Railroad
November 21–January 5
Free timed tickets with Arboretum admission; first come, first served
 
An intricate railroad travels through an indoor winter wonderland. Kick off your holiday festivities with a visit to the Enchanted Railroad.
 
Breakfast with Santa
Dec. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 9–11 a.m.
 
Enjoy a special holiday breakfast in the scenic Ginkgo Restaurant, complete with a visit from Santa! All children 12 years or younger will receive a gift from Santa. Purchase your tickets at mortonarb.org, in the Visitor Center, or by calling 630-725-2066.
 
Tree House Tales
Daily, 7 a.m. to 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.
 
Tales and Treasures
Tuesday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., through Dec. 31
Free with Arboretum admission
 
To celebrate the Sterling Morton Library's 50th birthday, Tales and Treasures showcases 50 rare and unique objects from the library's collections, each with a special story to tell. Displays of rarely seen objects, interactive games and a library-wide scavenger hunt will engage visitors of all ages in the rich legacy of the library. Visitors are invited to imagine what the next 50 years might hold for this and other libraries.
 

Adult Programs

 
Fall Bird Walks
Saturdays, Nov. 2, 16, Dec. 7, 8–10:30 a.m.
Cost: $8 members, $10 nonmembers plus Arboretum admission.
 
Search for birds across the Arboretum. Learn about fall migrants and year-round resident birds with an expert guide. Please be prepared to spend most of the class outdoors; no prior experience in birding is necessary. Children ages 12 and up are welcome with adult registrant. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
 
Your Urban Orchard: Backyard Fruit Tree Basics
Saturday, Nov. 2, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Cost: $69 members, $82 nonmembers including Arboretum admission
 
Thinking of adding fruit trees to your yard, or do you want to take better care of the ones you have? This class is for you! This full-day workshop will offer a comprehensive look at caring for your backyard orchard. Participants will learn basic tree identification, nursery specimen selection, desirable structure for mature trees, how to train young trees, pruning techniques, when in the year to prune each species and how to diagnose and treat the most common conditions affecting orchards. Integrated pest management strategies will be covered, with a focus on preserving beneficial insects. Evaluate tree placement in the yard and discuss strategies for effective irrigation and fertilization. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
 
Chamber Concert Series: Avalon String Quartet
Sunday, Nov. 3, 2:15–4:15 p.m.
$24 members, $29 nonmembers including Arboretum admission
 
Described by the Chicago Tribune as "an ensemble that invites you — ears, mind and spirit — into its music," the Avalon String Quartet has established itself as one of the country's leading chamber music ensembles. Performances are held in the Thornhill Education Center's scenic Arbor Room. After the performance, gather for a reception to meet the artists and fellow audience members in the splendor of the Founder's Room, the original library of the Arboretum's founder, Joy Morton.
 
Getting Your Feet Wet with Watercolor: Beginner's Watercolor Workshop
Saturday, Nov. 9, or Sunday, Nov. 10, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Cost: $35 member, $42 nonmember including Arboretum admission
 
Spend a morning learning the basics and create a watercolor painting of an autumn leaf. End the class with a stroll through the Nature Artists' Guild Holiday Exhibit. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
 
The Nature Artists' Guild of The Morton Arboretum Annual Holiday Exhibit of Natural History Art
Saturday, Nov. 9, and Sunday, Nov. 10, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
 
Enjoy original artworks, many of which are inspired by the grounds of The Morton Arboretum. Over 150 works in various media will be displayed. Artists will be demonstrating and sharing their techniques throughout the show.
 
Forest Ecology for Naturalists
Saturday, Nov. 16, 9 a.m.–12 p.m.
Cost: $35 member, $43 nonmember including Arboretum admission
 
Learn the basics of forest ecology and the options available to us for managing forests for natural values. Join Guy Sternberg, director of the Starhill Forest Arboretum and author of "Native Trees for North American Landscapes," to discuss forest types and habitats, components of the forest, factors influencing forest composition, natural succession and cycles, goals of management, threats to forest ecosystems, and the nature and value of urban and community forests. If weather permits, we'll explore the woodlands at the Arboretum to see these ecological principles in action. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
 
Design Your Own Quilt Top
Saturday, Nov. 16, and Sunday, Nov. 17, 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Cost: $128 members, $150 nonmembers including Arboretum admission
 
Learn to make a quilt design from your photographs! We will create our pattern and sew an appliqué quilt top. Design ideas must be submitted one week prior to class for approval. Note, basic sewing machine experience necessary. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
 
Holiday Wreaths and Swags
Saturday, Nov. 16, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Cost: $35 member, $43 nonmember including Arboretum admission
 
Just in time for the holiday season, learn how to incorporate evergreen branches and boughs into elegant wreaths and swags. Learn insider tricks, then design and create a Thanksgiving themed swag that can be updated to last through the winter holidays. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
 
Artist Trunk Show – Art by Rozanne
Saturday, Nov. 16, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
 
Shop for gifts with the endearing hand-painted Santa and snowmen themes created by local artist Rozanne Priebe. Her work will touch your heart and make your holiday decor truly special this year. Choose from greeting cards, prints, canvas art, painted fence boards, pillows, ornaments and more at The Arboretum Store.
 
Glaciers in Your Backyard
Sunday, Nov. 17, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
Cost: $55 member, $65 nonmember including Arboretum admission
 
What is a moraine, an esker, a kame and a driftless area? Why are there steep rock bluffs in the Illinois prairie landscape? Take an afternoon to see how glaciers have shaped your neighborhood and the Arboretum! Children ages 12 and up are welcome with an adult registrant. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
 
Mosaic Holiday Tree
Sunday, Nov. 17, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Cost: $83 members, $98 nonmembers including Arboretum admission and supplies.
 
Create a festive holiday tree plaque. This piece will be an indoor or outdoor decoration. Students are encouraged to bring any of their own additions in your favorite holiday colors. You will complete your project including grouting. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
 
The Morton Arboretum Urban Tree Care Conference: Selecting and Planting Trees
Monday–Tuesday, Nov. 18–19
Cost: $165 until Oct. 11; $185 Oct. 12–Nov. 13; $205 onsite or after Nov. 13; students $50. Cost includes Arboretum admission, refreshments, Monday reception, Tuesday lunch and program materials.
 
With millions of trees dying from emerald ash borer and Dutch elm disease, communities face a massive challenge to replant in the next few years. But how? An upcoming conference at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Ill., will offer expert advice on some nuts-and-bolts questions: Which species should you choose for city and suburban sites? How can you make your community's trees less vulnerable to the next big pest? What should you look for when selecting trees? How should you plant them so they have the best chance to live a long, healthy life with lower maintenance costs? Aimed at arborists, landscape contractors, landscape architects, municipal foresters, nursery growers, and other professionals, The Morton Arboretum Urban Tree Care Conference will be held Monday, Nov. 18, and Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL. For more information or to register, see mortonarb.org/urbantreeconference.
 
Herbal Holiday Baking
Saturday, Nov. 23, 9:30 a.m.–12 p.m.
Cost: $35 member, $42 nonmember including Arboretum admission and supplies.
 
This hands-on program will include how to craft herbal shortbread and cookies, candied herb flowers, tea breads and bread spreads, along with two methods for making scones. Each recipe will include herbs or edible flowers, including lavender and borage flowers, mints, thyme, savory and lemon herbs of all kinds. Participants will go home with at least one complete mix they can then make at home or give as a gift. Recipes, techniques to try and samples are all part of the experience.
 
Holiday Wreath Sale
Friday, Nov. 29–Saturday, Dec. 21
 
Shop The Arboretum Store's selection of all-natural outdoor holiday wreaths. Choose from the classic all-green wreath with eucalyptus leaves and berries; a rustic wreath with a blend of greens and pinecones; or the traditional red berry wreath with mixed greens and pinecones to dress the outside of your holiday home. Wreaths measure 24" and the fresh greenery will not only add beauty to your home, but also the smell of holiday greens. While supplies last.
 
Wonderful Winter Containers
Saturday, Nov. 30, 10 a.m.–12 p.m.
Cost: $35 members, $42 nonmembers including Arboretum admission
 
Want to add exciting containers to your deck, yard, or home? Creating beautiful containers is easy when you have the right tips! Learn which plants are best suited for containers, the principles of container design and correct potting strategies. Bring an empty container and plant a complete design to take home in this hands-on workshop. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
 
Patricia Locke Jewelry Trunk Show
Saturday, Dec. 7, 12–3 p.m.
 
The Arboretum Store is hosting the annual Patricia Locke jewelry holiday trunk show, offering a dazzling and colorful array of sparkling treasures. Free gift wrapping on all jewelry purchases included.
 
The Natural History of Christmas
Saturday, Dec. 7, 1:30–3 p.m.
Cost: $8 member, $16 nonmember including Arboretum admission
 
From mistletoe to "The Holly and the Ivy," Christmas traditions are steeped in botanical folklore. How old is the Christmas tree and just what is a yule log? Here is your chance to learn the history of these and many other winter plants. Join us for a festive look at the plants that make the season bright. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
 
Chamber Concert Series: The Newberry Consort
Sunday, Dec. 8, 2:15–4:15 p.m.
$24 members, $29 nonmembers including Arboretum admission
 
Beguiling and intelligent, provocative and classic, ravishingly beautiful and deliciously edgy, The Newberry Consort has been delighting audiences for nearly three decades. A concert of 17th- and 18th-century music of Italy and England will be presented at this concert by the Consort. Performances are held in the Thornhill Education Center's scenic Arbor Room. After the performance, gather for a reception to meet the artists and fellow audience members in the splendor of the Founder's Room, the original library of the Arboretum's founder, Joy Morton.
 

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.