4100 Illinois Route 53
Lisle, IL 60532
Admission: Adults (18–64) $11, Senior (65+) $10, Children (2–17) $8, Under 2 Free
Memberships Available, Discounts on Wednesdays
Hours: Daily, 7 a.m. to sunset
The Morton Arboretum is a true treasure of nature, located right here in the western suburbs. While staying true to its mission of planting and conserving trees, the internationally acclaimed arboretum offers learning opportunities for all ages, wide open spaces dotted with hundreds of varieties of trees and art exhibits by local and national artists. The 1,700-acre Arboretum also offers 16 miles of hiking and biking trails.
You’ll want to spend at least a half day here, even if there are no special activities. Admission is with discounts on Wednesdays. Memberships are available. The Arboretum is open 365 days a year, but the Visitor’s Center and Children’s Garden and some other amenities have special hours and holidays.
November – February: 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
March – October: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Free with Arboretum admission
The four-acre Children’s Garden is where you and your family will want to spend most of your time. Interactive exhibits, ponds, a hedge maze, and learning spots make the Children’s Garden one of the best parts of the Arboretum. The “Family Explorer Backpack” program is a great way to explore the Children’s Garden. Backpacks can be rented in the Visitor’s Center and include science tools, guides and props.
There are several spots where kids can get wet, so you may want to dress appropriately. Kids love to take off their shoes and wade through the ponds or splash through the watering spots. There are also climbing ropes, bridges, sand pits, and experimental gardens, so be prepared for some hands-on fun.
Program Registration – 630-719-2468
Fee for some programs
With such a variety of trees, there’s no place like the Arboretum to see such amazing fall colors. Throughout September and October, the Arboretum will have educational programs and fun activities to celebrate fall. Many activities are free with arboretum admission. Families can register for a bee tour bike ride, hike or brunch that centers around bees and their hives.
For five weekends in October, the AutumnFest is a showcase for the autumn foliage and all things fall. The “Fall Color 5K Run and Walk” is a challenging race through the Arboretum grounds on October 2. On October 12 and 13, view more than 2,000 hand-blown glass pumpkins with traditional fall hues of the autumnal color palate mixed with sparkling new shades, then return to purchase one on October 14 – 16. It’s “Garden Story Time” on Fridays at 11 a.m. in October, when everyone can gather In the Children’s Garden to hear a nature-themed story while sitting under the beautiful rainbow of colors in the trees. Daily crafts and activities are also available.
To register: 630-725-2066
Adults: $12 Member ($19 Non-member) Children (2-17): $8 Member ($13 Non-member)
From June through October, the Arboretum offers outdoor theatre every weekend, through the beautiful arboretum grounds. The scenes of the plays are enacted by professional troupes of actors along a two-and-a-half mile walk. While these family-friendly evenings may not be right for your smallest children, kids and adults will truly enjoy being entertained while walking through the nature paths. Sunday hikes are lower-impact, designed for strollers, walkers and wheelchairs.
Sterling Morton Library
Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Located in the Research center, the Sterling Morton library was designed by Chicago architect Harry Weese and has it’s own garden – the perfect spot to grab a book and read outside on a crisp fall day. The Library also holds it’s own events like literary and artistic exhibits.
Free with Admission
Hours: 9:30 a.m. – Sunset
The one-acre maze is open and a fun adventure for all ages—be warned—it’s not easy and the arboretum changes the puzzle every season. If you’re more of the voyeuristic type you can climb to a 12 foot-high lookout platform carved into a Sycamore tree and check out your pals or even strangers trying to find their way out.