9 ways to celebrate spring at the Morton Arboretum

The list of things I need more of in the weeks ahead includes fresh air, exercise, time in nature and plants. Thankfully, the Morton Arboretum offers all that and more. A jewel in Chicago’s western suburbs, the Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized outdoor tree museum on 1,700 acres. The expansive space isn’t overwhelming to families, though, because the arboretum provides amazing space for little ones in the interactive Children’s Garden.

If you go

Morton Arboretum

Where: 4100 IL Rt. 53, Lisle, IL 60532.

Admission: adults, seniors and kids ages 2 and up.

Parking: included with admission


It’s not surprising the Morton Arboretum has big plans for celebrating Arbor Day, but all of April is chock full of fun family activities at the Morton Arboretum. It’s a perfect place to welcome spring.

Trash to Treasure
Weekdays in April, 1-4 p.m. Free with arboretum admission

Introduce kids to the world of recycling through fun games, and make a recycled craft of your own to take home in the Children’s Garden, weather permitting.

Tree-rific Trees
Weekends in April, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.Free with arboretum admission

Visit the Children’s Garden to discover interesting facts about trees, and plant your own tree seed to take home in this self-guided hands-on discovery activity, weather permitting.

Garden Story Time
Fridays in April, 11 a.m. Free with arboretum admission

Gather in the Children’s Garden for storytime and fun every Friday.
Family Explorers Backpack
Daily in April, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $4 members, $5 nonmembers, in addition to arboretum admission

Rent a self-guided family backpack to enhance your visit to the Children’s Garden. Backpacks include science tools, guides and fun props to explore nature as a family for those with children 2 to 6 years old. Backpacks are available in the Visitor Center. One pack is suggested for up to 5 family members.

Acorn Express Adventures
Wednesdays and Fridays in April, 11-11:45 a.m. (no program on April 24)$4 members, $5 nonmembers, in addition to arboretum admission

All aboard the Acorn Express tram for a family friendly journey. Adventurers will seek out fun destinations to hike, make a craft and explore new topics each week. This program is suitable for children age 2 and older with an adult.

Flower Petal Tea Party 
April 11, 10-11:30 a.m. and 2-3:30 p.m. $21 members, $29 nonmembers

Celebrate spring with your special little girls by enjoying tea and sweet treats, learning about which parts of trees and plants make the best teas and planting some herbs to take home and grow. Recommended for children 2 and older.

Arbor Day Tree Planting
Friday, April 24, 11 a.m.Free with arboretum admission

Hooray for Arbor Day! The arboretum will be celebrating in a variety of ways. Get free admission when you dress like a tree. The good folks at the arboretum say it can be a basic green shirt or something more elaborate. Don’t miss the Tree-rific Kids’ Costume Contest at 10:30 a.m. in Arbor Court. Curious George and The Man in the Yellow Hat will visit the Children’s Garden at 11 a.m. for storytime, followed by a tree planting.

Arbor Weekend

April 25 and 26, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

The celebration lasts all weekend long with self-guided hands-on discovery activities such as investigating tree cookies and hunting for five unique trees throughout the garden, weather permitting.

Arbor Day 10K 
April 19, registration and packet pickup begins at 6:30 a.m., Race at 8 a.m.$35 members, $45 nonmembers if registered by April 10$45 on race day, spots might be limited

Lace up your running shoes for the Arbor Day 10K. Race participants will travel a USA Track & Field-certified course of scenic, rolling terrain on the arboretum’s east side. Runners receive a short-sleeve technical T-shirt, recovery food, admission to the arboretum and a post-race party that includes live music and a complimentary post-race beer for those of age. The 10K is geared toward adults, but younger runners and people with strollers can participate.

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