VISIT & explore


The Morton Arboretum wraps up its TREE-mendous Summer of events with a new festival, returning favorites, engaging classes and fun family outings. On September 6-7, visitors can discover old-world cultures and their charms in our new Passport Europe Summer Festival. Enjoy a hive of activity during Honey Bee Weekend at the Arboretum, September 20-21, and grab a leash and your pup as Tails on the Trails returns on September 13.

Cheers to the beautiful fall season with our Drink It In Beer Festival. This new event will feature local craft beers, with brews to satisfy every taste, October 4. The second weekend of October features the last in this year’s series of Drive-In Nights. Share a blanket and pass the popcorn while watching family-friendly Halloween flicks underneath the stars. From Oct. 16-20, guests can take in glass-blowing demonstrations and gaze at our Glass Pumpkin Patch, thousands of handcrafted pieces available for sale. A complete list of September and October Arboretum events and details is below. For more information, visit www.mortonarb.org/events.

September-October Highlights

NEW! Passport Europe Festival
Saturday, September 6 and Sunday, September 7, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Immerse yourself in the diverse cultures of Europe with culinary delights, authentic musical performances, impressive dancing demonstrations, and more. Hike the trails and explore the Arboretum's collections of trees and plants native to central and northern Europe, some of the oldest collections on the Arboretum grounds.

NEW! Drink It In Beer Festival
Saturday, October 4, 4-9 p.m.
Fill your mug with all the Arboretum has to offer with our new Drink It In: Beer Festival. Join us as the leaves turn to shades of gold, red and orange to sample local, unique craft beers. Check back at mortonarb.org for participating breweries.

Tails on the Trails
Saturday, September 13, 7 a.m.-sunset
$5 per dog with Arboretum admission
Back by popular demand, Tails on the Trails returns to the Arboretum. 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.

11th Annual Fall Color 5K Run & Walk
Sunday, October 5, 6:30 a.m. race day registration and packet pickup, 8 a.m. 5K Run/Walk
5K Run/Walk pre-registration:  $25 for members, $30 for nonmembers
Day-of registration: $35 for members and nonmembers
Kids Dash pre-registration: $10 for child member, $12 for child nonmember
Kids Dash day-of registration: $15 for members and nonmembers
The  Fall Color 5K Run & Walk will follow our challenging U.S.A. Track & Field-certified course along the East Side Main Route through a rolling terrain studded with the first signs of magnificent fall color. Participants will receive a ChronoTrack B-Tag timing system, Technical t-shirt, free Arboretum admission, recovery food and awards for top overall male and female winners in each age division. The Kids Dash is designed for those 2 to 10 years old and will take place on a loop course. Races will be staged in heats according to age and all participants will receive a t-shirt and finisher’s ribbon. New this year is the Virtual Runner/Walker category. Those who can’t make the race but would like to show their support will receive a race shirt for a contribution of $25.

NEW! Drive-In Nights: Movies at The Morton Arboretum
Friday, October 10 and Saturday, October 11, 8 p.m.
$30 for members, $40 for nonmembers, by the carload
Enjoy a nostalgic family movie night under the trees during our new drive-in movie series, complete with your favorite theater-style concessions available for purchase. October will feature Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” on Friday and “Hocus Pocus” starring Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker as Salem witches on Saturday.

Fall Favorites/Halloween Events

Fall Color Festival
Daily in October, 7 a.m.-sunset
Free with Arboretum admission
This month-long celebration kicks off with the 11th Annual Fall Color 5K Run & Walk, Oct. 5. Visitors can take in trees ablaze in autumn color throughout October by traveling our 16 miles of trails or nine miles of roads. Enjoy the fall season as its most stunning.  Build-your-own taffy apples and other fall favorite treats will be available for purchase.

Scarecrow Trail
Daily in October, 7 a.m.-sunset
Free with Arboretum admission
The popular Scarecrow Trail returns to the Arboretum for the 10th year this fall!  Take a walk around our Meadow Lake to see nature-themed scarecrows, each one uniquely decorated by local Girl and Boy Scouts, and vote on your favorite.

Fourth Annual Glass Pumpkin Patch
Wednesday, October 15 to Sunday, October 19, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
This October, visit the Arboretum for the unique chance to see top artisans from around the country and the intricate art of glassblowing during The Morton Arboretum’s fourth annual Glass Pumpkin Patch. Watch as top glassblower Shannon Jane Morgan of Girl Glass Studio in Sacramento, Calif. and more than 15 local artists create stunning autumnal works of art including pumpkins and gourds, then purchase your own unique work of art. Demonstrations and a glass exhibition take place daily at 1 p.m., while the Glass Pumpkin Sale – with more than 3,000 handmade pieces to choose from – takes place from 1 p.m. October 17 through 5 p.m. October 19. Each piece is unique and made exclusively for The Morton Arboretum’s event.

Theatre-Hikes® at The Morton Arboretum
Weekends in October and Monday, October 13, 1 p.m.
$10 for adult member, $20 for adult nonmember, $5 for child member, $10 for child nonmember
In October, hikers can follow along to “Resurrected: Grave Tales of Chicagoland.” Profiling five famous Chicago scary tales— Resurrection Mary, Devil Baby of Hull House, Julia Petta, the Italian Bride and Francis Levy's Handprint— these eerie stories are strung together by the Wynkoop Murder investigation and include audience participation. We recommend participants wear comfortable shoes, weather-appropriate clothing and bring a chair or blanket, water bottle and insect repellent.

Full Moon Tram Tour: Nature at Night
Saturday September 6, 7-9:30 p.m.
$8 for members, $10 for nonmembers
Discover what happens at the Arboretum at night when no one is around. With the moon shining through the trees a tram ride reveals a captivating symphony of sounds, mysterious spaces, and wildlife on the move.  The evening will include a discussion of night ecology and stories of moon lore.

Trick or Trees
Weekends in October, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Visit the Children’s Garden to play tricky games, fashion fun fall crafts and plant a tree seed to take home as your treat.  Small pumpkins to paint will also be available for purchase.  Weather permitting. 

Tales from the Tram
Friday, October 31, 7:30-9 p.m.
$8 for members, $10 for nonmembers
Board the Acorn Express for an evening of spooky storytelling. This Halloween, glide through the woods of The Morton Arboretum after dark, hear bone-chilling tales and listen for creatures of the night.


Celebrate the Honey Bee

Honey Bee Weekend
Saturday, September 20 and Sunday, September 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Honey Bee Days will include a host of activities celebrating the honeybee. Visitors can check out an expo of honey-related products to sample and purchase, meet honey and bee experts, and attend free, informal talks on bees, beekeeping, honey, pollinator-friendly plants, and more. The weekend will also feature fun activities for families and children.  

Busy Bees
Weekends in September, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Make a bee mask and find out what all the buzz is about in this self guided hands-on discovery activity in the Children’s Garden.

Happy Bee-day!
Saturday, September 20 and Sunday, September 21, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Celebrate the Children’s Garden’s ninth birthday by making a bee mask, meeting a real bee keeper and checking out the hives the Children’s Garden. Weather permitting.

Family Honeybee Hikes
Saturday, September 20 and Sunday, September 21, 45-minute hikes starting at 11:30 a.m. Last hike at 3 p.m.
$5 for members, $6 for nonmembers
Join us on a fun, family-friendly hike to learn all about honeybees, their favorite flowers, and how honey is made. Hike includes a viewing of the beehives on the grounds and a sampling of Arboretum honey. Hikes are suitable for families with children 2 and older.


Dining Events

NEW! Chef’s Table: Cooking Classes at The Morton Arboretum
Thursday, September 18 and Thursday, October 16, 6-8:30 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 culinary staff in preparing a themed meal. In September, guests learn to cook traditional French cuisine. October will bring a barbeque fit for tailgates to the chef’s table. Afterwards, engage in a Q&A session with the chef and enjoy your culinary creation. All participants will leave with the evening’s recipes. Space is limited.


Arboretum Store Events


Annual Bulb Sale
Saturday, September 27 and Sunday, September 28, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Shop dozens of varieties of Dutch bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, iris, alliums, crocus, fritillaria, and more. Prepare your yard for a colorful spring bouquet. Arboretum members, bring your membership card to receive a discount.


Youth & Family Programs

Theatre-Hikes® at The Morton Arboretum
Weekends in September and October and Monday, October 13, 1 p.m.
$10 for adult member, $20 for adult nonmember, $5 for child member, $10 for child nonmember
Taking place throughout September, “Enchanted April” is based on Elizabeth von Arnim’s novel, and tells the story of four dissimilar women in 1920s England who leave their damp and rainy environments to go on a holiday to a secluded coastal castle in Italy. We recommend participants wear comfortable shoes, weather-appropriate clothing and bring a chair or blanket, water bottle and insect repellent.

Acorn Express Adventures
Wednesdays and Fridays in September and October, 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 House Tales
Daily in September and October, 7 a.m.–sunset
Free with Arboretum admission
Play in the Dogwood Doghouse and the White Pine Ship 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.

Awesome Apples
Weekdays in September, 1-4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
There are more than 7,000 varieties of apples grown in the world.  Come to the Children’s Garden and learn about a few of them, and make some fun apple print charms to take home in this self guided hands-on discovery activity.  Weather permitting.

Garden Story Time
Fridays in September and October, 11 a.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
Gather in the Children’s Garden for story time and fun.

Family Explorers Backpack
Daily in September and October, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
$4 for members, $5 for nonmembers
Reserve a self-guided family backpack to enhance your experience in the Children’s Garden.  Choose between the Sensory Backpack or Discover Backpack.  Backpack rental includes science tools, guides and fun props.  This activity is suggested for families with children 2 to 6 years old.

Go Crow Go
Weekdays in October, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
What stands in a field and scares crows all day?  Why a scarecrow of course!  Learn about scarecrows and even make a mini one of your own in this self guided hands-on discovery activity in the Children’s Garden.  Weather permitting.

Adult Programs & Events

NEW!  Stroller-Based Fitness
Fridays in September and October, 9:45-10:45 a.m.
$10 for members, $17 for nonmembers, fee includes Arboretum admission
Come experience the Arboretum’s beauty as you get fit with your little ones along for the ride. A certified fitness expert will lead you in a fitness program that will help you become as strong, flexible and enduring as the Arboretum trees.  No umbrella strollers please.

Vanishing Acts: Trees Under Threat Exhibit
Daily in September and October, 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.

Leafing Through the Pages Member Book Discussion
Thursday, September 11 and Thursday, October 9, 10 a.m.-noon
Open to Arboretum members only
Enjoying an opportunity for community and connectivity, the Leafing Through the Pages Book Club explores works of fiction and non-fiction relating to natural history, ecology and gardens. In September, members will discuss A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction by Joel Greenberg and, in October, the discussion will turn to The Solace of Open Spaces” by Gretel Ehrlich.  Participants need to obtain books and read each month's selection prior to the gathering to fully share in the conversation.

Woodland Conservation & Management
Thursday, September 4; Tuesdays, September 9-October 7, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; and Saturdays, September 6-October 11, 8-11 a.m.
$150 for members, $176 for nonmembers, fee includes Arboretum admission
Using woodlands as a model ecosystem, this course will introduce the basics of restoration ecology and equip you with the knowledge of woodland ecology, plant identification, and management planning that you need to manage natural areas. This program is held indoors and outdoors, so participants are encouraged to dress for the weather, wear sturdy footwear and bring a water bottle, clipboard, and pencil to each session.

Tree ID and Ecology
Saturdays, September 6-13 and September 27-October 11, 1-4 p.m.
$178 for members, $209 for nonmembers, fee includes Arboretum admission
Learn to identify the trees you see every day in the woodlands and neighborhoods of the Chicago region as you enjoy their brilliant fall colors. You will examine 70-80 trees, learn the skills to identify them, and discuss their biology and ecology. Classes will meet indoors and outdoors. Participants are advised to dress for the weather, wear shoes for light hiking, and bring a water bottle.

Openlands Treekeepers™ At The Morton Arboretum
 Tuesdays, September 16-October 7, 6-9 p.m. and Saturdays, September 20-October 11, 
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
$128 for members, $150 for nonmembers, fee includes Arboretum admission
Anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 trees can die in the Chicago area in a single year from storm damage, drought, insect pests and other causes. Openlands TreeKeepers™ work to keep area trees healthy, administering proper care and promptly recognizing and reporting harmful pests. Train to be a TreeKeeper this fall with classes at the Arboretum. Learn to identify, plant, care for and prune trees in hands-on classes with regional professionals. Then put those skills into action through volunteer work in your community.

Paint, Click, Garden, and Sip
Wednesday, October 1, 7-9 p.m.
$35 for members, $43 for nonmembers, fee includes Arboretum admission
Enjoy a glass of wine and choose one of three options: create a colorful expressionistic painting, learn composition tips and tricks for landscape photography, or design a cocktail garden. All supplies and a glass of wine are included in the program.

Native Seed Collection
Saturday, October 18, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
$35 for members, $43 for nonmembers, fee includes Arboretum admission
Learn how and when to collect seeds from your favorite native plants. Walk through the prairie to  identify the wildflowers, grasses and tree fruits that are ready for collection and storage. The program will explore different methods of collecting and cleaning seed, while learning how to store and propagate the seed for growing healthy native plants.

New Ways with Perennials
Saturday, October 11, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
$25 for members, $33 for nonmembers, fee includes Arboretum admission
Author and horticulturist Noel Kingsbury will discuss a variety of contemporary approaches to using perennials. The author of numerous books, including “Natural Garden Style, The New Perennial Garden, and Hybrid: A History and Science of Plant Breeding,” Kingsbury is known for promoting naturalistic and sustainable planting design. Gain new insights into how to create naturalistic landscapes and take home winning ideas for perennial combinations. An opportunity for book signing will follow the program.

Begin to Draw Nature
Mondays, October 27 to November 24, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
$160 for members, $188 for nonmembers, fee includes Arboretum admission
Learn the basics of drawing in a class designed for true beginners. Everything from how to hold your pencil to what kind of paper to use will be discussed and participants will have time to work on drawing skills in a no-pressure setting.

Out of the Box
Wednesday, October 29, 6:30-9:30 p.m., and Saturday, November 1, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
$65 for members, $76 for nonmembers, fee include Arboretum admission
Learn how to use the basic functions of a point-and-shoot camera straight out of the box. We will go over the manual in this very introductory class to learn the basic functions.


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, the Fall Color Festival, Illumination and special exhibits. The Arboretum welcomes 885,000 visitors annually and receives support from 38,600 member households.  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. Members receive free general admission all year long.