The one-of-a-kind winter experience, Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum, opens Saturday, November 17 to awe and delight visitors to The Morton Arboretum with all-new experiences and returning favorites.
Through January 1, 50 acres of the Arboretum’s majestic trees will glow in electrifying hues of blue, green, purple and magenta. Along a wooded one-mile path, visitors will find a series of experiences that highlight the many ways trees are a gift to people and communities.
“Illumination is celebrating its sixth season with dynamic new experiences that draw attention to the gifts trees give us,” said Sue Wagner, vice president of education and information at The Morton Arboretum. “By capturing the beauty and value of trees in radiant light and color and through special effects, Illumination is an unforgettable wintertime event full of fresh surprises and beloved experiences.”
New Experiences for 2018
This year’s exhibit offers several unique new displays and added entertainment on weeknights.
Created exclusively for The Morton Arboretum by Smithsonian-featured arts collective HYBYCOZO, the five sculptures in the Crown of Light experience evoke a crown of trees. Each of these giant sculptures—measuring between nine and 12 feet tall—feature intricate, laser-cut patterns calling to mind nature, harmony and trees. Visitors can look on as vivid light from within the pieces simultaneously beams skyward and spills through the patterns that adorn the sides, creating shadows on the ground below.
The new Woodland Wonder experience takes visitors through a grove of trees, surrounding them in pinpoint laser lights that dance to ethereal music.
New Weeknight Entertainment
Visit Illumination on Tuesday through Thursday for discounted prices, lighter crowds and a slate of entertainment on select evenings, including visits with Santa on Tuesdays, live music on Wednesdays and beer, wine and spirits tastings on Thursdays.
Visitor Favorites are Back
Popular experiences are back for the upcoming season, including:
- In Treemagination, surreal projections cast across a grove of hemlocks make trees appear to come to life. This year, new projections will highlight trees’ root systems and the important connections that take place underground.
- New this year, the lights in Symphony Woods will dance to popular renditions of The Nutcracker’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from various artists, including Pentatonix and Lindsey Stirling.
- Reimagined for 2018, Meadow Lake Magic features tendrils of light that extend from two shores of the lake, weaving together as they meet on the water’s surface.
- Fantasy Forest is designed to represent a grove of trees, as several structures provide the setting for beams of light that sweep through the landscape and toward the sky as music plays.
- At Hug a Tree, visitors can wrap their arms around one of three hickory trees and watch it respond with bright, pulsating light.
Two concession tents along the trail will offer snacks and hot beverages, including gourmet hot chocolate. Visitors can also stop in the Arboretum’s Ginkgo Restaurant, which will offer a full dinner menu every night of Illumination.
The upcoming season will also feature a new party rental space. Guests will enjoy an exclusive Illumination experience in the Arbor Court Pavilion.
Event Dates and Ticket Prices
Illumination tickets range from $18 to $23 for adults and $12 to $15 for children. Discounts apply for Arboretum members. Tickets are available online, at the Arboretum’s Information Desk or by calling 630-725-2066 ($5 handling charge for phone orders). Advance reservations are highly encouraged as nights sell out.
2018 Illumination is generously supported by Invesco QQQ and ComEd.