After all, it is December 5th. In the Chicago area, the temperature was 27 degrees early this morning; officially, we’re about two weeks away from winter, although I’m not sure this past Sunday my feathered friend just outside the kitchen window knew whether winter was coming or going any more than Mother Nature did.
I know you know Joy Morton, founder of the Arboretum, at least in a manner of speaking. His claim to fame, sometimes called ‘white gold’, certainly made him a rich Chicago businessman in his time and a frequent dinner guest in homes across America to this day.
Almost 100 years later, the Arboretum has grown to 1700 acres (wow, those trees really got big), its mission “to collect and study trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world, to display them across naturally beautiful landscapes for people to study and enjoy, and to learn how to grow them in ways that enhance our environment.”
Our mission was the Children’s Garden
And if that’s not enough, there’s Breakfast with Santa and the Easter Bunny, but of course, not at the same time; and concerts for those who like to listen to the call of nature. I could go on, but you could also go to this link to discover for yourself the acres and acres of beauty and activities hidden in this wooded wonderland. Feeding our love of nature and nurturing the same in our grandchildren is a priceless gift. As the twig is bent, so is the tree inclined.
We had about four hours before we’d be barking up the wrong tree with one exhausted wood nymph and a very cranky elf.
And speaking of woodland creatures, the Children’s Garden was covered in gnomes! Sixteen, to be exact, but I lost count after five or six.
After all, money doesn’t grow on trees, even Joy Morton’s trees.
The bottom line on The Morton Arboretum:
Verdict: I just want to hug a tree every time I visit this place! Maybe it's all the fresh air, but there's certainly more here than meets the eye. We usually make a day of it, when we go, depending on the kids’ stamina and interests, although occasionally just Jim and I will go for a walk, bike ride or special event.
How to Get There: The Arboretum is located 25 miles west of Chicago at 4100 Illinois Route 53 (sometimes known as Lincoln Avenue or Lincoln Highway) in Lisle, IL 6053, just west of Interstate 355 and north of I-88. The Arboretum is two miles from the Metra train station in Lisle (Burlington Northern stop). Cab service is available through advance arrangements.
Westbound I-88: Exit north onto Route 53. Proceed north ½ mile to entrance
Eastbound I-88: Follow signs onto southbound I-355 and exit immediately to westbound
Ogden Avenue (Route 34). Continue west on Ogden Avenue to Route 53 north. Proceed
north one mile to entrance.
I-355: Follow signs and exit onto westbound I-88. Exit north onto Route 53; proceed
north ½ mile to entrance.
Insider Information: Membership is the only way to go unless your money grows on the trees in your own back yard. The day we visited, we (Jim and I; my daughter and her husband) discovered our memberships had expired. Total cost for 4 adults and 2 kids was $68. We stopped in the Visitor’s Center and applied the cost of admission towards rectifying our oversight and renewing our membership with no extra charges incurred. They're such nice people at the arboretum. I think it's all those trees causing a sense of calm. I know I sound like I'm getting paid for this endorsement, but I'm not!
Nearby Food: The Ginkgo Restaurant inside the Visitor’s Center offers excellent gourmet food from seasonal menus daily from 11-2 with breakfasts on weekends starting at 9:00 a.m. Cafeteria style dining is also available offering a variety of sandwiches, quiches, pizza, salads and sweets the kids always love (and grandpa). The floor-to-ceiling windows make the most of the beautiful view of the arboretum. The Ginkgo Café is open year round and sells snacks, Starbucks coffee, beverages, pre-made sandwiches and an assortment of snacks. There is ample seating for dining both inside and outside the Visitor’s Center.