Frog infestation takes over Morton Arboretum

If you haven’t been to Morton Arboretum in a while, it’s time to hop to it. Because while you’ve been goofing off (or, you know, living your life), the arboretum has had a frog infestation.

If you go

Ribbit! The Exhibit

Through Sept. 25

Free with arboretum admission

Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle


These frogs aren’t of the slimy green variety. Ribbit! The Exhibit features 23 people-sized frogs made out of sheets of copper—and doing all kinds of things that humans love to do.

The frogs are all situated on two paved, accessible loops that are ideal for families (they’re even stroller-friendly!). And the entire exhibit is designed with multiple generations in mind thanks to Ribbit! stickers the little ones love, a scavenger hunt for elementary-aged kids, and an app for the tweens and teens who are glued to their smartphones.

Of course, while you’re out hunting for frogs, you’ll also be introduced to some fun facts about trees (you are at the arboretum, after all), explore some parts of Morton’s 1,700 acres that you don’t typically visit, or keep an eye out for the living, breathing, hopping frogs who call the arboretum home.

“We really hope people will take away the idea that everything’s connected,” says Cindy Crosby, the interpretation program coordinator. “We have frogs, trees, and once you start paying attention, you’ll start seeing other amazing inhabitants of the material world. It’s an exercise in reacquainting ourselves in what’s out here.”

Crosby also shared some of the favorite frogs to look for when you stop by Ribbit! The Exhibit.

For your tiny dancers, Sasha the Ballerina is a popular pick. At 4 feet tall, she’s the smallest frog, and is modeled after a Degas sculpture.

Axel Grimm is a familiar face, inspired by the fairytale frog prince. He also guards The Sterling Morton Library, where kids can read books related to the exhibit and fold origami in the style of the frog sculptures.

For caffeine- and Instagram-addicted moms and dads, there’s Emerson, a coffee-drinking frog practically begging to be in a selfie. If you share pics on social media, use #RibbitTMA.

“[The frogs] really complement our mission and the aesthetic of the arboretum,” Crosby says.

“There’s so much bad news in the world, and people are so stressed out. … It’s just a respite from the chaos.”

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