All photos by Mike_Miley

Shake off the residual salt, frustration, and general pessimism that a long Chicago winter leaves behind and head over to the Morton Arboretum for some much needed TLC with trees! Spending a day within 1,700 acres of some the most beautiful and well-landscaped land in all of Illinois is not as far away as you’d think! Located about 30 minutes from Chicago, The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL offers an extraordinary outdoor experience. It’s easy to forget you’re in the middle of a bustling suburb when you’re walking through a glade of daffodils or hiking among trees native to Japan and Korea.

April at the Arboretum will focus on activities with themes around spring, Easter, and Arbor Week. This year will be featuring artist Steve Tobin’s Steelroots. His huge, abstract, steel sculptures will be on exhibit among the Conifer Collection from April 9th through January 31st, 2011. On Easter weekend, bring the little ones and eat breakfast or brunch with the Easter Bunny at the Ginko Restaurant located in the Visitor’s Center. Fashionistas can join-in on the eco-friendly fun on April 24th and 25th for Sustainable with Style: A Green Boutique and Garden Expo. Homemade jewelry, cosmetics, and accessories will be made available by individuals and companies committed to using recyclables and found items to create their wares.

Weekends in July through October showcase theater-hikes. Audience members follow actors around the Arboretum’s grounds as they enact hour and a half plays such as Peter Pan and Our Town. Instead of a seat and a stage, your feet and summer and fall foliage provide the backdrop to these classic stories. Tickets are needed but make for an affordable theater experience coming in at $19 for non-members.

The changing seasons in Chicago allow for biking, jogging, hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, and just simply sitting and observing in this scenic space. Spring and summer aren’t the only seasons that offer activities.

The cooler weather doesn’t stop tree-lovers so don’t let it dissuade you! Fall is harvest season, and in the month of October the Arboretum plans activities for all ages. For children, the Maze Garden looks more like a maize garden (Lame joke? It’s okay, it’s for the kids.) Here children can run through a hedge maze while parents and friends can keep a lookout from 12 feet above the ground atop a platform built around a Sycamore tree. Free wine tastings and booths selling brats, burgers, and kettle corn are situated in an outdoor patio outside the Visitor’s Center. Handmade autumnal crafts are also available for purchase. Be sure to check the Arboretum’s website for the Color Report to ensure you catch your favorite trees at the peak of their fall palettes.

As the weather warms, make plans to come to the Morton Arboretum and participate in their many events. Admission is $11 for adults and $8 for children. Discount days are Wednesdays. For more information visit

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