Every winter, the Morton Arboretum in Lisle hosts a holiday lights walking experience at night, featuring thousands of lights set to classical and holiday music.
This 1,700 acre outdoor tree museum just down the road from us is world-renown for the mission of collecting, planting and studying trees to preserve endangered species and spread awareness of the importance of trees in our world.
"The Arboretum features plant collections and gardens amid natural landscapes of woodlands, prairie, lakes, and streams. Its living collections include 222,000 plant specimens representing 4,650 different kinds of plants.
Additionally, guests can enjoy 16 miles of hiking trails, nine miles of roads, a Children’s Garden, educational programs and exhibits, the Sterling Morton Library of botanical literature and art, a Visitor Center with a museum store and a restaurant, special events, and seasonal exhibitions. - mortonarb.org"
We have braved the cold two years in a row to ooh and ahhh over the intricately decorated displays. Some are strategically hung on the trees or placed on the snow-covered ground, some are projected onto the forest or sidewalks, and some are freestanding, like this swirling cloud of color-changing streamers.
They even incorporate the guest artist sculptures into the lightshow, like serene Hallow from the Human+Nature exhibition.
Near the entrance, we saw typical tree light wrapping like you might witness in your neighborhood at Christmastime. But as we wound our way around the pond and into the forest, the displays became more elaborate, with spotlights and disco ball reflections.
A field of stick lights created an otherworldly scene of blinding light in the inky darkness.
At the halfway point, we stopped at the concession tent for rich cups of hot chocolate. For an extra fee, visitors could spike their drinks with a creamy splash of Bailey's or a festive shot of peppermint schnapps.
Calming music and deep breathing sounds played at this installation while projectors duped us into thinking the forest grew in purples and blues, stripes and stars.
Walking past this display called "Winter Radiance," I had the feeling of entering Candyland, exploring the peppermint forest.
Our Illumination experience at the Morton Arboretum was pure magic. I look forward to going again next winter!
Click below to read about our other holiday adventures this year: