UPDATE: Check the Morton Arboretum website for current information on the next Illumination light show and other special events.
It’s one thing to drive through a decorated subdivision to admire the festive lights.
It’s quite another to stroll through a darkened forest that surrounds you with a spectacle of light and sound. That’s what “Illumination: Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum” in west suburban Lisle, Illinois, is about. Visitors make their way along a one-mile paved trail around a small lake, over gentle hills and among stands of giant trees. The landscape is painted with a rainbow-hued palette of beaming, chasing, twinkling, cascading and rolling lights.
A different sensory experience awaits at each of 11 stops. At various points, lights are programmed to music, and trees respond to human interaction. You will view the earth, water and sky in a different light, perhaps sipping a cup of cocoa as you marvel.
Here’s a sampling of the winter wonderland:
* Symphony Woods: A synchronized light-and-sound show accompanied by selections from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” pre-recorded by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
* Ornament Hill: Arrangements of glowing orbs in varying sizes and colors create a glittering vista from many locations on the trail.
* Crystal Promenade: A dark grove of first illuminated by two dozen delicate crystal chandeliers.
* Tree Harmony: Singing to the trees activates programmed LED lights that “rain” down like shiny strands of crystal.
You’ll also meet up with warming fire pits, hot beverage concessions and free-range holiday carolers. At the end of your tour, relax with light fare and beverage at the Visitors Center. The glass-walled dining room offers a panoramic view of the light show, and live musical performers entertain on weekends.
Morton Arboretum is a 1,700-acre tree collection, museum and research center in west suburban Lisle, Illinois. Now in its third year, “Illumination” has welcomed more than 210,000 visitors from 40 states. The display is created with energy-efficient, eco-friendly LED lights connected by nearly 400 fixtures and 20 miles of cable.
Now, get out of the car, and create a new relationship with the winter landscape.
PAM’S TIPS: Crowds are heaviest the first hour after the gates open at 5 p.m. Try to arrive a little later. You’ll still have plenty of time to tour and then warm up with a specialty holiday cocktail.
WHEN: Through January 2, 2016. Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and most Mondays. Gates open at 5 p.m. Last entrance at 8:30 p.m. Lights out at 9:30 p.m.
TICKETS: Advance purchase is recommended. Tickets are limited and date-specific. No refunds. Cost varies, depending on date, but range from $17 to $20 for adult non-members and $11 to $13 for child non-members. Order online at www.mortonarb.org/illumination.
4100 Illinois Rt. 53
Lisle, Illinois 60532