Arboreta were originally invented as plant playgrounds to create a safe environment for static frolicking and games of Climb Up the Brick Wall. Tread among sprightly seedlings with today’s Groupon: for $5, you get one general-admission ticket to The Morton Arboretum in Lisle (up to an $11 value). Children under 2 enter for free.
With nearly a century of conservation experience, the Morton Arboretum displays more than 4,000 types of trees, shrubs, and flowers in their natural abodes. Nature lovers explore a sprawling 1,700 acres crisscrossed by 16 miles of walking trails of woodlands, wetlands, and colorful gardens. Puzzle lovers meander through the seasonally changing maze garden, passing lofty shrubs while following the subtle gravitational pull of the 60-foot sycamore tree at its center. The Children's Garden enriches budding babes with an interactive mix of playsets and learning stations that teach about nature and rudimentary slide physics. After navigating the exquisitely manicured foliage of the gardens, greenery-ganderers can venture through more than 500 acres of natural wooded areas on the park’s east side, interspersed with looping trails and razor-thin portals into parallel dimensions.
The Arboretum also treats the mind’s eye starting May 20 with Nature Unframed, a contemporary-art exhibition that showcases the outdoor sculptures of 11 international artists. The Arboretum uses proceeds from admission and purchases to preserve endangered trees, plant new saplings in local communities, and study plants from around the world. The arboretum opens daily at 7 a.m. and, like your neighborhood sundial dealer, closes at sunset.
The Morton Arboretum
Each season, more than 222,000 plants change color at The Morton Arboretum–an internationally recognized outdoor tree museum located 25 miles west of Chicago in Lisle, Ill. They originate from 40 countries in the northern hemisphere, which means an exploration of the arboretum's 1,700 acres is like a trip across America, China, and Europe. Throughout the year, scores of tree-focused events, activities, and services for adults, children, and professionals keep nature enthusiasts engaged and educated. The sights along its 16 miles of walking trails and nine miles of roads evolve yearly from rich greens in the spring and summer to a rainbow of yellow, orange, and red in the fall, before clearing its canvas in winter. Seasonal attractions, including Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum, grant guests with a unique, interactive experience that includes dazzling light projections and electric splashes of color. Such events help summon more than 800,000 annual visitors to the grounds and more than 36,000 member households, all of which visit between 7 a.m. and sunset, daily.