October is a splendid time to visit The Morton Arboretum® in Lisle, Illinois (a western suburb of Chicago in DuPage County) due to the Fall Color Festival and Annual Bulb Sale. Remaining events include Trick or Trees and the 2018 Boo Breakfast. The Troll Hunt is ongoing.
The Fall Color Festival at The Morton Arboretum is a time to take in hundreds of thousands of trees from forty countries spread out over 1,700 acres in a blaze of orange, gold, and crimson. Hike or bike the trails or drive the scenic roads. The DuPage Medical Group is the presenting sponsor.
Figure 1 Caption: Please note this is a picture depicting autumnal foliage, but, to the best of my knowledge, it was not taken at The Morton Arboretum.
The Annual Bulb Sale started on Friday, September 21,2018 and runs through Wednesday, October 31, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at The Arboretum Store while supplies last. This is a chance to shop for dozens of varieties of spring-blooming bulbs ready for autumnal planting, including tulips, daffodils, iris, alliums, crocus, and fritillaria. Download the 2018 Bulb Sale List.
The Meadow Lake Trail is the Scarecrow Trail every day in October from 7:00 a.m. to sunset. Scout troops made the scarecrows. Vote on your favorite.
Trick or Trees takes place on weekends in October in the Children’s garden from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Kids can play tricky games, participate in arts and crafts, paint pumpkins available for purchase, and take home a tree seed to plant in your yard. This is covered by general admission. Costumes are encouraged.
The 2018 Boo Breakfast will be at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 28, 2018 at the Gingko Restaurant. [Please note that the Ginkgo Restaurant will be closed to the public during the Boo Breakfast.] Costumes are encouraged.
Tables will be preset with fruit platters and breakfast pastries. The 2018 Boo Breakfast Menu has “Spooky Scrambled” (fluffy scrambled eggs), “Possessed Potatoes” (crispy hash browns), “Scary Sausage” (pork sausage), “Full Moons” (pancakes served with warm syrup and whipped cream), “Vampire Teeth” (macaroni and cheese bites), and “Bewildered Brisket” (smoked brisket hash with mushrooms and potatoes).
Tickets are $33 for member adults (thirteen-years-of-age-and-older) and $38 for adult non-members and $27 for the children (ages three-to-twelve) of members and $31 for the children of non-members. Children under three-years-old are free. One can purchase tickets in person at the Visitor Center during open hours, over the phone by calling (630) 725-2066 Mondays through Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., or online by clicking here.
The Troll Hunt that began in the summer of 2018 is ongoing through the summer of 2019. Danish artist Thomas Dambo carved the six colossal wooden sculptures of trolls out of reclaimed wood. Five of them measure fifteen-to-thirty feet tall, and the reclining one is sixty feet long. Before you visit, check the Troll Hunt Adventure Tips Webpage, download the Troll Hunt Map, pick up a copy of the Troll Hunter’s Guidebook when you arrive, and then have hours of fun driving, hiking, biking the grounds in search of the trolls or ride the Troll Tram.
A Troll Tram ride takes 1 ½ hours. Call (630) 968-0074 for daily times. The fee is $8 for adult members or $10 for adult non-members (eighteen-years-of-age and over) and $6 for the children of members or $8 for the children of non-members (two-to-seven-years-of-age).
There is a unique book about the trolls in the Sterling Morton Library. It can be viewed from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
The Morton Arboretum was the brainchild of Joy Morton (1855-1934), the founder of the Morton Salt Company and eldest son of U. S. Agriculture Secretary Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902). [J. Sterling Morton High School District, headquartered in Cicero, Illinois was named in honor of him.] Julius Sterling Morton had created the civic holiday of Arbor Day in Nebraska. In 1921, when he was sixty-five year old, Joy Morton began the process of converting his estate in what is now Lisle, Thornhill, into an arboretum. The Thornhill estate became the core of what is now a 1,700-acre arboretum, home to about 3,300 kinds of living plants. For this project, he sought advice from Dr. Charles Sprague Sargent (1841–1927), Director of The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University for fifty-four years. Joy Morton’s conversion of his Thornhill estate into the Morton Arboretum should be seen in the context of both his father’s devotion to trees and his own membership in the Chicago Plan Commission.
Admission is $15 for adults (ages eighteen-to-sixty-four), except on Wednesdays, when it is $10; $13 for senior citizens (ages sixty-five-and-over), except on Wednesdays, when it is $9; and $10 for children (ages two-to-seventeen), except on Wednesdays, when it is $7. Babies and toddlers under two-years-old are free. Parking is free. Members always enter for free with valid credentials. The Morton Arboretum offers free general daily admission year-round to active-duty military servicemen and servicewomen with valid identification. It is a 2018 participant Blue Star Museums program. Pets are only welcome on specially designated days.
Click here to pre-purchase general daytime admission online. Visitors who purchase tickets this way will receive an e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org with a pdf file that will consist of a receipt and tickets. Each ticket purchased will be on a dedicated page and have its own barcode that needs to be scanned. These tickets can be printed out or displayed on a smartphone to be scanned. Tickets are valid for one year after the date of purchase.
The Morton Arboretum is open 365 days a year. The grounds are open from 7:00 a.m. to sunset. Click here to view 2018 Sunset Times. The Maze Garden is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to sunset.
The Visitor Center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. during January and February, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during March and April, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during May through October, and from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. during November and December. Naturally, it is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. It closes at 3:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Restrooms are open in the West Pavilion of the Visitor Center from 7:00 a.m. to sunset.
The Children’s Garden is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. March through October (except on Thursdays when it is open until 6:00 p.m.). It is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from November through February. One of the benefits of being a member is that the Children’s Garden is open exclusively to members on Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Severe weather may cause The Morton Arboretum to temporarily close the Children’s Garden. Naturally, it is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. It closes at 3:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
The Arboretum Store is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. January and February, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. March and April, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. May through October, and from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. November and December. Naturally, it is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. It closes at 3:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
The Plant Clinic is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday April through October and from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday November through March. It is closed on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, on Thanksgiving Day and the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.
The Ginkgo Restaurant is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. during the workweek and is open for breakfast from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. on weekends. It is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
The Ginkgo Café is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. November through February, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. March and April, and from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. May through October. It is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day and closes early at 3:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
The Sterling Morton Library is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays, Mondays, New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.
The Thornhill Education Center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. It is closed on New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day (and the Friday after Thanksgiving Day), Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve. The Education Registration office phone number is (630) 719-2468.
The Founder’s Room, located at the Thornhill Education Center, is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. It is intermittently closed for rental events.
Click here for more information about admission and hours. The address is 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, Illinois 60532. The phone number is (630) 968-0074.
 Riva Feshbach, “Morton Arboretum,” The Encyclopedia of Chicago. James R. Grossman, Ann Durkin King, and Janice L. Reiff, editors. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press (2004), p. 543