It's the Great Animal Houses Adventure at The Morton ArboretumFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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IT'S THE GREAT ANIMAL HOUSES ADVENTURE AT THE MORTON ARBORETUM
Three Habitats, Eleven Animal Houses, One Whimsical Adventure
LISLE, IL (June 25, 2009) - Anyone who loves animals or trees will love this!
Visitors can see, touch, and explore 11 whimsical, imaginative "Animal Houses" from now through November 15. This new outdoor exhibition, the first of its kind in the Chicago area, invites you to experience every nook and cranny of the enormous animal houses, all built to human scale. The houses are designed to help visitors learn the ways that trees provide habitat to animals, and to reinforce the importance of appreciating and protecting trees.
"Animal Houses will allow children and adults to see, experience, and learn how animals interact with trees and the environment. We're encouraging them to explore these dwellings from the animal's perspective," says Anamari Dorgan, Arboretum Manager of Interpretation and Exhibits.
Professional designers and architects created the 11 houses, 10 in three habitats: woodland, wetland and the prairie. The Pollywog Pond, Beaver Lodge, Skunk Den, and Great Blue Heron Rookery are in the wetland near Bur Reed Marsh. At the Schulenberg Prairie, it's the Spider Web, Ant Colony, and Coyote Den. The Raccoon Den, Fallen Log, and the Squirrel Drey are in the woodland near Big Rock Visitor Station. An eleventh house near the Visitor Center is The Guest House, a house for humans where visitors can find an introduction to the exhibition along with some of the hidden neighbors that share our homes and backyards.
Visitors can let their imaginations run wild in climbing the Squirrel Drey, tunneling through the Ant Colony, perching in a Heron Rookery, tiptoeing through a Coyote Den, and playing in a Pollywog Pond. Youngsters can pretend they're spiders by crawling on The Spider Web that's suspended above the ground.
The Raccoon Den is approximately 24 feet high! The Beaver Lodge has an "escape route" and kids can pretend they're under water. The Skunk Den will have the whole family laughing as it has fun with this animal's notoriously bad eyesight!
The Fallen Log is a surprising, amazing animal version of an apartment complex. Visitors will see how a squirrel, raccoon, and even insects might live all in one place. The experience "is like turning over a rock, anything could be there," Dorgan says. There are also benches inside, so human "guests" can pause and take in the whole experience.
Frequently, Animal Houses builders used environmentally-friendly products. Some houses include sculpted elements made of papercrete, a paper product that's very strong and substitutes for concrete. One house is made of woven willow, and several incorporate brush cleared from the Arboretum during routine management.
When arriving at the Arboretum, visitors will receive a map to locate the Animal Houses, and an Adventure Guide in which they solve word games, find hidden animals in pictures, and note the different kinds of animals they see in the prairie. There's also a ballot to vote for their favorite Animal House. Those casting ballots are automatically entered in a monthly drawing, and the winners receive special prizes! (Limit of one entry per person, per month.)
On select weekends, there are opportunities to get up close to live bats, coyotes, and other live animals under the care and protection of professionals, as we continue to explore the ways in which many animals rely on trees as their habitat. These opportunities highlight the many offerings-guided walks, exhibits, adult and family education programs, Children's Garden drop-in programs, animal-related merchandise, and even animal-themed meals-all designed to enhance the visitor experience. (See separate activity and class lists)
Animal Houses is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or sunset, whichever is earlier. It is free with Arboretum admission, which is $11/adult, $10/senior, $8/child ages 2-17, and under age two is free. Wednesday is discount day. Parking is free.
The Sara Lee Foundation is the Healthy Lifestyles Supporting Sponsor of Animal Houses.
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized 1,700-acre outdoor museum with collections of 4,117 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission - the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time or sunset, whichever is earlier. The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through October, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through February. Visit Press Room at www.mortonarb.org, call to learn more.
Media Contact: Gina Tedesco, (office) 630-725-2103,