Arboretum Records Best Attendance EverBig Bugs Exhibition, Other Engaging Activities Fuel Increase
LISLE, IL (January 27, 2009) – The Morton Arboretum enjoyed a record year for attendance in 2008, with 786,231 visits to the tree museum–the highest level of visitation in its history. The figure means the Arboretum is the third most-visited public garden or arboretum in the United States, fourth in North America, and the most-visited in Illinois.
The 2008 attendance was approximately seven percent above the 2007 figure of 735,000.
“It appears that visitors are enjoying the Arboretum in all four seasons, and taking advantage of new or expanded offerings, such as bicycling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, Theatre-Hikes, and concerts, all amid the beautiful, majestic trees,” says Rick Hootman, Arboretum Director of Visitor Programs. He noted that Fall Color Festival and the Holiday Celebration are favorites as well.
Just last weekend, more than six thousand turned out for the annual “Husky Heroes” event featuring the “Dogsled Spectacular” demonstrations of dogsledding, a presentation on Siberian huskies, and opportunities to meet and pet huskies up for adoption.
Boosting 2008 attendance was David Rogers’ Big Bugs, an outdoor exhibition from April 25 to July 20 of a dozen, larger-than-life bugs such as 25-foot-long ants, and a 20-foot long praying mantis. The exhibition grew attendance by 17 percent over the same period a year ago.
Also popular was the annual Fall Color Festival in October, featuring the Arboretum’s collections of trees and other plants from more than 40 countries, sporting incredible, vibrant colors. October drew nearly 126,000 visitors to the Arboretum.
The award-winning, four-acre Children’s Garden remained a favored destination at the Arboretum as well. The Garden, where children explore trees and nature through play and hands-on learning, welcomed 378,285 visitors.
Research shows that, increasingly, people are seeking shared, enriching experiences in nature, especially as urban sprawl gobbles up green spaces. More and more, parents want to provide their children an alternative to video games or the mall, and adults are seeking refuge from hectic, multi-tasking lifestyles.
Arboretum offerings are designed to meet these needs through a unique mix of activities and experiences to help visitors learn about trees and nature, and spend more quality time with their families.
As Chicagoland residents look for affordable ways to fill their lives with joy, meaning, and wonder–close to their homes–they have continued to seek Arboretum classes, activities, programs, and experiences.
The Morton Arboretum is a private, nonprofit organization that relies on the support of visitors, members and donors to fulfill its goal of creating a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world.
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 www.mortonarb.org, click About, and then Press Room, or call to learn more.