Find Family Fun Under the Treetops at the Morton Arboretum

Explore an award-winning children’s garden, play nature mini golf and find more outdoors activities at The Morton Arboretum this summer.

The Morton Arboretum is a lush, green oasis about 25 miles west of Chicago. The arboretum features award-winning gardens, 16 miles of hiking trails, tons of nature-based activities for kids and unique events for families that love spending time outdoors. 

Quick details about the Morton Arboretum

Photo credit: The Morton Arboretum

  • Address: 4100 IL-53, Lisle
  • Hours: 9 a.m.- sunset daily
  • Cost: $17/adults 18-64, $15/seniors 65+, $12/children 2-17, free for children ages two and under. Visit on Wednesdays for a few dollars off regular admission. 
  • Parking: Free! 

In every season, the Arboretum offers scenic landscapes, seasonal events and activities and more outdoor fun for families. 

Use the arboretum’s handy visitor guides to start planning your family’s day at the arboretum. Their guide for visiting with children offers helpful tips, and the Wonder Woods Explorers Guide is awesome for older kids. The Wonder Woods guide lays out a fun, kid-friendly tour based on the arboretum’s educational mini golf game of the same name. 

Download a map or visitor guide before you go, and read on to discover some of the arboretum’s award-winning outdoor experiences and even more helpful tips for visiting The Morton Arboretum with kids. 

Things to do with kids at the Morton Arboretum

Morton arboretum mini golf
Photo credit: The Morton Arboretum

  • Play, splash and explore at the four-acre Children’s Garden, an imaginative nature playground that includes climbing structures, secret streams, accessible paved paths and wooden bridges and much more for your little explorers to discover. 
  • Take on a challenge by visiting the Maze Garden, a living puzzle made of shrubs. There’s also a toddler maze that offers an age-appropriate challenge for little ones. 
  • Ride the Acorn Express Tram and tour the arboretum’s woodlands, wetlands and prairies on a one-hour guided tour. Great for little legs that aren’t up for walking the trails for too long! There is a $6-10 fee per person to join the tour. 
  • Through Sept. 2, practice your putt putt skills at Wonder Woods mini golf. The adorable nature-themed course has nine holes that feature environmental science fun facts. Mini golf requires an additional $6-$10 ticket. 
  • See Of the Earth, an outdoor art exhibition that features five sculptures made of found materials. 
  • Visit on Thursday Family Nights for discounted admission. Some Thursday evenings have cultural celebrations that include crafts, food and opportunities to learn about different cultures. 
  • Catch live music in the arboretum on select evenings during Arbor Evenings
  • Check the calendar for a variety of family and children’s programming, including gardening classes, family hikes, summer science programs and even seasonal baking classes.

Tips for visiting the Morton Arboretum with kids 

kid-friendly bike trails chicago
Photo credit: The Morton Arboretum

  • Guests must purchase tickets online before they arrive. 
  • Looking for family fun on a budget? Admission is discounted on every ticket on Wednesdays. 
  • Pick up a printed map, or download a map and/or a visitor guide to your phone before you go. 
  • Bring sun protection, including sunscreen, sunglasses and/or visors and hats. 
  • Wear sturdy walking shoes, preferably weather-proof ones. You never know when unreliable Chicago weather will muddy the trails. 
  • Wearing long-sleeved clothing and long pants and socks can help prevent contact with poison ivy and insect bites. Don’t forget the bug spray! 
  • If you need snacks or a lunch break, bring a picnic or a brown bag lunch. A full menu and concessions — including vegan and gluten-free options, coffee and alcohol — are also available for purchase at the Ginkgo Restaurant and Cafe
  • There are a few interactive water exhibits that kids can enjoy, but they are not meant to be all-day splash pads. While sandals and aqua shoes are fine for splashing around, it’s best to leave the swimsuits and other swim gear at home. 
  • Personal strollers are allowed, but there are no rental strollers available. Scooters are not permitted.

Other things to do with kids nearby

  • Looking for more opportunities for outdoor play? The Sensory Garden Playground is thoughtfully designed for children of all abilities. Follow walking paths, explore the fully-accessible treehouse, play at the horse-themed playground and discover sculptures, music and more.
  • Splash around at the Sea Lion Aquatic Park, a water park with a Tot Pool, water slides, sand play area, zero-depth pool and more.
  • Order food from a local eatery and enjoy it at Bubblehouse Brewing Company, a kid- and dog-friendly taproom that has board games to keep the little ones entertained while you enjoy a drink.

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Nikki Roberts
Nikki Roberts
Nikki Roberts is the assistant editor on the Chicago Parent team. She is always on the lookout for the coolest and trendiest new attractions, restaurants and events for Chicagoland families. Her newsletters, online family guides and exciting digital content keep families informed on all the latest happenings around town.

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