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Visiting Tips

Mature oak trees in the Oak Collection

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention

The Morton Arboretum is currently reopening its grounds and buildings in phases, with adjusted hours and operations aimed at protecting public health during the ongoing response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The Visitor Center, The Arboretum Store, The Children's Garden, The Maze Garden, and the Ginkgo Restaurant and Café are open with modified operations. Please see the Phased Reopening of Buildings page for full details. For printable maps of the grounds and directions to the Arboretum, visit the Maps and Directions page. 

Stay connected with the Arboretum during this time through online learning opportunities, and by following Arboretum FacebookTwitter, and Instagram social media channels.

Check this Arboretum webpage for ongoing updates.

Visiting Tips

We hope you take advantage of our expansive grounds, and explore the diversity of tree collections offered. Before you visit, please read through our list of what you do and don't need and how to keep safe to maximize your enjoyment while on the grounds.

What to bring

  • Face masks (Guests over the age of two are required to wear masks inside all Arboretum buildings in accordance with the current State of Illinois requirements. In accordance with CDC recommendations, this includes those who have already received their COVID-19 vaccinationMasks are also required at the gatehouse and outdoors in spaces and situations when people cannot maintain a social distance of six feet or greater with people not in their visiting party).
  • Wheelchair, if needed (Wheelchair rental is not available during modified operations)
  • Printed maps of the Arboretum grounds (Please visit the Maps and Directions page for printable maps and directions to the front gate).
  • Binoculars or telephoto lenses to observe wildlife
  • Walking shoes, water-repellent shoes or boots for inclimate weather
  • Layers of clothing so you can add or remove layers to maintain your comfort level
  • Sun hats and sunscreen if you will be in the sun
  • For children:
    • Masks are required for children over the age of two in designated areas
    • Play clothes—children are likely to get wet and possibly dirty
    • An extra set of clothes
    • Sandals or aqua shoes for the Secret Stream and Wonder Pond
  • Light-colored, long sleeve shirts and slacks for insects and poison ivy
  • Insect repellent containing DEET for ticks

To learn more about avoiding and removing ticks before your visit, check the following Illinois Department of Public Health web sites:

Prevention & Control: Common Ticks
Lyme Disease

In case you need something you didn't bring, The Arboretum Store has long-sleeve shirts, rain ponchos for adults and children, hand and toe warmers, sunscreen, insect repellent, and hats. 

What to leave at home:

  • Pets: Dogs and other pets ARE NOT PERMITTED in vehicles or on the grounds, except for on specially designated days or as service animals.
  • Balls, kites, rollerblades, segways, scooters or skateboards
  • Tobogans, sleds, snowtubes, and ice skates
  • Bathing suits
  • Fishing equipment
  • Drones and other remotely controlled aircraft
  • Tobacco, e-cigarettes, alcohol, glass containers, and grills
  • Firearms--The State of Illinois enacted legislation to allow permitted and trained individuals to carry a concealed firearm. The statute also outlines places where this practice is prohibited, including museums. The Morton Arboretum is an accredited museum where concealed carry of firearms is statutorily prohibited. Concealed carry permit holders are lawfully allowed to store their firearms in a case within a locked vehicle or locked container out of plain view within the vehicle while on the Arboretum grounds.

While you are here

We want all guests to be safe and enjoy the grounds to the fullest. Please visit the Know Before You Go webpage for all the newest precautions for staying safe while visiting the Arboretum.

Please follow our list of "Do's and Don'ts" to maximize your experience:

  • Pedestrians and hikers are asked to walk on the designated paved paths and chipped trails and stay off the roadways. 
  • Bicyclists and runners are asked to travel on the far right of the roadways, in the same direction as car traffic and stay off the paved paths and trails. Please be advised that during the winter months, cyclists and runners should reduce their speed and exercise extreme caution (particulalry on curves and hills) during snowy or icy conditions, as the Arboretum uses sand on its roadways instead of salt.
  • Please do not climb on trees or hang from branches.
  • Trash should be placed in garbage receptacles provided.
  • Park only in one of the Arboretum's 33 designated parking lots. 
  • Be aware of your footing and the terrain if you go off trail. Watch for poison ivy. Avoid plant damage by refraining from walking through garden beds.
  • Please do not swim or fish in the Arboretum lakes or ponds.
  • Please do not pick anything off the trees and plants. Picking up leaves, seeds, or cones that have fallen to the ground is permitted.
  • Collecting plant samples, seeds, fruits, nuts, acorns, fungi, and mushrooms at the Arboretum is allowed for the following:
    • Children's leaf collecting projects (from the ground only)
    • Arboretum class-sponsored collecting projects
    • Professional purposes, with prior permission from the Collections and Grounds program
  • You'll observe more animals in their natural behavior by remembering these rules:
    • Please do not feed the wildlife.
    • Enjoy wildlife at a distance. (If you cause an animal to move, you are too close!)
    • Stay quiet and minimize noise.
    • Never get close to nests or other sensitive habitat.

By your presence, you grant permission for your likeness to be included and used in any and all media by The Morton Arboretum and you release The Morton Arboretum from any claims or liability connected therewith.