Illumination: Tree Lights brings back walking experience at The Morton Arboretum

by Attractions Magazine Staff

The ninth annual Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum will return to a walking experience this year in Chicago, complete with five new lighting features.

illumination: tree lights

From Nov. 20, 2021 through Jan. 2, 2022, guests can explore 50 acres of the Arboretum’s trees during a one-of-a-kind spectacle of color, light and sound. The exhibition takes guests on a journey along a one-mile paved walking path, surrounded by festive music and lighting effects among the trees. Along the route, guests can warm up by the fire and roast marshmallows for s’mores, or stop in one of the concession tents for a snack.

illumination: tree lights

“This year’s Illumination will include unique new features for those who have made it a holiday tradition year after year, such as the chance to see a Human+Nature sculpture lit at night,” said Preston Bautista, Ph.D., vice president of learning and engagement. “Returning to a walking trail will bring friends and families together again to enjoy a special seasonal lighting experience.”

Last year’s Illumination event was adapted to a driving-only experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s new experiences include:

  • A lighting display of Hallow, the iconic sculpture by artist Daniel Popper in the Arboretum’s Human+Nature exhibition.
  • Enchanted Gateway, a new entry portal of glowing lights leading to Meadow Lake.
  • Festival of Lanterns, where guests walk under 150 colorful lanterns at the top of Frost Hill.
  • Golden Glade, a meadow of lights at the top of the Conifer trail.
  • Winter Radiance, a new path leading back to the Visitor Center featuring colorful reeds.

Also new for this year is an Arbor Court photo-op and festive music throughout the entire trail. Returning favorites include Treemagination, Symphony Woods, Woodland Wonder, Ornament Hill, The Champion Tree, Enchanted Forest, and Crown of Light.

illumination: tree lights

IllumiBrew, a special pre-opening event happening Nov. 18-19, will invite guests ages 21 and up to be the first to see this year’s exhibition as they sample beer tastings along the trail.

Illumination tickets are on sale now, and members can receive early-bird pricing through Oct. 31. Prices range from $7 to $24 per person. Children under the age of 2 can get in free of charge. Tickets can be purchased online at MortonArb.org, in person at the Arboretum Visitor Center during operating hours, or on-site each night of Illumination: Tree Lights, as tickets remain available.


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