Disappear into the extensive woodland and leafy gardens of the Morton Arboretum, an expansive green space in western Chicago.
Spreading out over 1,700 acres (688 hectares) and encompassing several different landscapes, the gardens feel a world away from the skyscrapers of the Windy City. Wander through the arboretum to enjoy a moment of peace and to see a collection of trees from over 40 countries.
The arboretum is named after its founder, Joy Morton, a business owner who opened the gardens in 1922. Joy Morton’s father, J. Sterling Morton, was the founder of Arbor Day. Marvel at the hundreds of trees scattered throughout the arboretum, which was designed with the mission of studying and learning about trees from all around the world.
Join one of the hiking trails that cross the park. Way-marked routes make the arboretum easy to navigate. It is also possible to drive or cycle through the park on the 9 miles (14 kilometers) of paved roads that wind through it. Take a rest by the ponds and lakes in different corners of the gardens.
Pause by any tree that piques your interest. The arboretum hosts over 41,000 labeled specimens, ensuring that you will learn about the environment as you go. One way to learn about the trees is to take a guided tram tour on the Acorn Express, which runs regularly through the park.
Visit the different themed gardens that make up the arboretum. Get lost in the Maze Garden and breathe in the delightful scents of the Fragrance Garden. The Children’s Garden features two play areas that are designed with an educational slant. Regular programs and learning experiences are also put on for younger visitors.
Morton Arboretum is located in the Lisle neighborhood, west of central Chicago. Drive here in about 35 minutes from the Downtown district and use one of the many on-site parking lots.
Come any time between dawn and dusk to explore the arboretum and visit in winter to take snowy hikes through the woods.