Returning for its seventh year, Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum is a one of-a-kind interactive spectacle of color, light and sound that will awe and delight visitors with all-new features and returning favorites.
From November 23, 2019, through January 5, 2020, 50 acres of the Arboretum’s majestic trees will be transformed with lights and music. Embracing the Arboretum’s tree-focused mission as the champion of trees, this exhibition will take visitors on a journey along a winding, paved path through light-filled experiences that highlight the many ways trees are a gift to people and communities.
Prior to the public opening, Illumination will kick off on Friday, November 22, with IllumiBrew, a ticketed, pre-opening event that allows guests 21 and older to be among the first to see the 2019 exhibition while enjoying beer tastings along the trail.
In addition to family favorite features such as Treemagination and Symphony Woods, this year’s exhibition will offer several new experiences such as Tree Fascination, a brilliant digital projection of immersive color and pattern on a grove of eastern white and scots pine trees.
This year’s event will also debut a new route with a more spacious pathway.
New features in 2019:
- 2019 marks the debut of Tree Fascination. A mixture of art and science, this experience uses video projection to demonstrate research techniques that use photogrammetry to scan trees for scientific study.
- A new route and expanded pathway will enhance the experience for visitors. Illuminated words such as “Champion,” “Tree” and “Breathe” will guide and inspire visitors along the trail that is more than one mile long.
- The young and the young at heart will find favorite interactive experiences including Hug-a-Tree, where visitors can hug a tree and watch it respond with pulsating light; Tree Harmony, where individuals or groups can watch the lights glow and move to the sound of their singing; and Ornament Hill, where visitors can control the color of giant, glittering orbs.
Entertainment and Special Events:
- IllumiBrew, Friday, November 22
- As they enjoy beer tastings along the Illumination trail, guests 21 and older will be among the first to see the 2019 exhibition during this pre-opening, ticketed event. Illumination will open to all visitors beginning Saturday, November 23.
- Santa Visits, Tuesdays, December 3, 10 and 17
- Every Tuesday between Thanksgiving and Christmas will offer an opportunity for children to visit with Santa.
- Troll Hunt, daily
- Throughout Illumination, visitors will have the opportunity to see a lit-up “Alexa” and “Joe,” two of the giant wooden sculptures from the popular and beloved Troll Hunt exhibition.
- Concession tents and cozy fire pits along the Illumination trail will feature snacks and beverages, including gourmet hot chocolate. Visitors can also enjoy a full dinner menu every night of Illumination at the Ginkgo Restaurant and Ginkgo Café.
- Created exclusively for The Morton Arboretum by Smithsonian-featured collaborative installation arts collective HYBYCOZO, the Crown of Light experience features five steel sculptures with laser-cut patterns that beam lights of brilliant, vivid color. If weather permits, guests will be able to venture off the path for close-up views of the pieces.
- Meadow Lake Magic has been enhanced with tendrils of light that change color in response to the wind as they meet on the water’s surface.
- Symphony Woods, a beloved and joyful favorite set to well-known seasonal music, has been refreshed with new music for 2019.
- In a new, secluded location, visitors can experience the magic of Woodland Wonder, where they will be enveloped by a visual interplay between thousands of luminous, rotating points of laser light and starlike sparkles from dozens of gently rotating mirror balls.
- Silhouetted by brilliant up-lighting, The Champion Tree—a stunning, iconic honey locust—provides the axis around which Illumination rotates.
- The Crystal Promenade offers the deep quiet and beauty of a grove of conifers, lit with chandeliers.
- In the Enchanted Forest, visitors can push buttons to make light and colors skip from tree to tree.
- Using a grove of trees as a viewing screen, Treemagination features dramatic projections that drench the trees with saturated fields of color, amazing geometric patterns and simulated movement.
- For the grand finale, a redesigned Fantasy Forest energizes the Hedge Collection with music and spectacular dancing lights.
"This year's Illumination combines guest favorites with new features and installations,"said Sarah Sargent, Manager of Interpretation and Exhibits at The Morton Arboretum. "Whether visiting for the first time or as part of an annual tradition, visitors will find surprising and awe-inspiring experiences."
Tickets to Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum are on sale now. Ticket prices range from $13 to $23 for adults and $7 to $15 for children, with special early bird pricing available for members through October 31. To purchase tickets, visit mortonarb.org/illumination.
Illumination is generously supported by Invesco QQQ and ComEd.
About Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum
Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum invites visitors to see trees in a different light on a path just over one mile, surrounded by 50 acres of the Arboretum’s trees and brought to life with LED lights, interactive elements and sound. With accolades from local and national media including Condé Nast Traveler and USA Today, Illumination has quickly become a winter tradition, welcoming visitors from around the world. The event is built in partnership with noted experiential lighting designers Lightswitch and production company Intelligent Lighting Creations (ILC), and features energy-efficient, eco-friendly LED lighting.