Sculptures, upcoming events, and summer fun at The Morton Arboretum

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Summer is in full swing at The Morton Arboretum. NCTV17 spoke with Arboretum staff about what makes the 1,700-acre site unique, the new ‘Of the Earth’ exhibition, the Children’s Garden, and upcoming summer events.

What makes The Morton Arboretum unique?

The Morton Arboretum offers 16 miles of trails around the site located at 4100 IL-53 in Lisle, Illinois.

“The first thing we like people to understand is that this is not a public park,” said Tari Marshall, director of PR and social media at The Morton Arboretum. “It’s a nonprofit organization, and an arboretum is an organization that commits to caring for the trees on its site. It’s about educating the public and caring for the trees.”

Marshall recommends people check out the visitor’s center to speak with site experts before embarking on their arboretum journey.

“I would suggest people go to our website and look around before you come,” said Marshall. “(The visitor center) can help you plot out your visit, there’s so much to see here, you could spend hours on our grounds.”

Children’s Garden offers fun for all ages

The Children’s Garden includes four acres of immersive play, accessible design, and hands-on learning on the arboretum grounds.

Although the front entrance is getting a fresh coat of paint, the Children’s Garden is open to visitors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“(It’s) specifically designed for children to explore nature, to play outside, have a good time, experience everything the seasons have to offer and really establish a positive emotional connection with nature while growing up,” Emilian Geczi, manager of early childhood programs at The Morton Arboretum.

The Children’s Garden also offers a program for teenagers looking to give back to the community.

“Our four-acre space requires a lot of hands to keep running,” said Geczi. “And we are very glad to offer a youth volunteer program. We have over 100 middle schoolers (and) high schoolers who help us keep everything going every year, every summer here at the garden.”

‘Of the Earth’ sculptures around the Arboretum

Five new large-scale sculptures have been installed throughout the arboretum’s grounds for the ‘Of The Earth’ exhibition. ‘Of the Earth’ is the Arboretum’s first major sculpture installation by a woman.

Polish-American artist Olga Ziemska used reclaimed tree branches and other natural materials to create the pieces.

“A lot of the materials in these sculptures were actually collected by our volunteers several weeks in the wintertime,” said Kara Silva, PR and Social Media Specialist at the Arboretum. “They helped the creation of this work.”

The ‘Of the Earth’ exhibition will be on display through spring 2025.

“One is in Arbor Court, the main area right by the visitor center,” said Silva. “We have three more on the Arboretum’s east side, and the fifth sculpture is on the west side.”

Upcoming summer events

The arboretum is hosting its first non-alcoholic tasting event – Mocktails and More – on Friday, July 21 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

“We’re going to have about 20 vendors right here in the Grand Garden, sampling all different types of nonalcoholic spirits, wines and beers,” said Kate Fitzgerald, Special Events Planner at the Arboretum.

Though the arboretum doesn’t allow dogs every day of the week, furry friends will be welcome on select days throughout the summer.

“We just opened up Tuesdays to dog admission day,” said Fitzgerald. “So any Tuesday you can bring in your canine companion for $5. We also have additional days throughout the year that are usually Sundays.”

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