fbpx Know Before You Glow | The Morton Arboretum

Know Before You Glow

Hemlocks are transformed into a screen of abstract shapes
Illumination includes dazzling experiences and entertainment.
November 27, 2018

Make the most of the Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum experience with these tips.


Purchase tickets in advance

More than 162,000 people came out for Illumination in 2017, and we're looking at another outstanding season. The Morton Arboretum highly recommends purchasing tickets in advance; many nights sell out. The easiest way to get tickets is by purchasing online. Other options include calling our ticket line at 630-725-2066, open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or by stopping in the Visitor Center during open hours. The time on the ticket is the start of your half-hour entry window, with the last admission taking place at 8:30 p.m. Once admitted, you can stay as long as you'd like until the exhibition closes at 9:30 p.m.


White sculptures bathed in pink light
This Illumination season includes the debut of the new Crown of Light experience.

Look for new experiences and entertainment 

An amazing one-of-a-kind art installation, Crown of Light wows visitors as they travel the trail. Created exclusively for Illumination by arts collective HYBYCOZO, the piece uses sculpture and light to evoke a crown of trees. Five steel geometric pieces, measuring between nine and 12 feet tall, stretch into the night sky, their sides etched with intricate, laser-cut patterns featuring silhouettes of ginkgo, oak, and birch leaves. Lit from within, the sculpture casts eye-catching shadows on the ground below. 

The first experience along the path, the new Woodland Wonder surrounds visitors in thousands of pinpoint laser lights, accompanied by ethereal sounds.


Visit on a weeknight 

During the week, visitors enjoy complimentary entertainment in the Ginkgo Restaurant. Spend some time with Santa and his elves on Tuesdays, listen to live music on Wednesdays, and try samples of beer, wine, and spirits on Thursdays. Weeknight attendance also means discounted prices and lighter crowds. 

Dress for the weather

The Illumination experience takes place entirely outdoors on a one-mile walking path. For the best experience, bundle up with a coat, hat, gloves, and winter boots made for walking. Need to warm up? We've got you covered with concession tents offering hot beverages and snacks. Purchase a s'mores kit and roast marshmallows at one of the toasty firepits stationed along the trail. 

Make a night of it

Stop in the Ginkgo Restaurant for a full selection of dining options, including savory sandwiches such as the cauliflower burger as well other delicious choices like the quinoa bowl or BBQ chicken flatbread. And try the new tantailizing drink featuring Nocino liqueur distilled from black walnuts grown at The Morton Arboretum. Other beverages include gourmet hot chocolate, available with peppermint shavings and peanut butter cup crumbles, and hot cider.

Before calling it a night, shop a wide array of nature-inspired gifts at The Arboretum Store

Share on social 

Share your Illumination photos with us on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter! When you use #IlluminationTMA, you'll have the opportunity to win great prizes as part of the Lights, Camera, Illumination Photo Contest