Champions of Trees – Morton Arboretum

IMG_3845No visit to my parents’ house west of Chicago is complete without a visit to the Morton Arboretum. 1,700 acres of beauty, and self-proclaimed “champions of trees”. What’s not to like?

We have a standard route through the Arboretum. Start out in the parking lot, wander around Meadow Lake exploring whatever is their special exhibit–one year it’s giant bugs, then Lego creations, then this year it’s huge origami placed not only around the Lake but on hillsides, around corners.

Origami 2017
I confess to recycling this photo of the twins from 2013. Bug is still giant.

We then usually stop into the Children’s Playground which has now become a little *young* for my two, but we cannot escape the nostalgia and the rope bridge. It used to take us 2 hours to go through–stop to chuck rocks into the squirty frog rock waterfall (I could do marketing for the Morton, no? Come on, you weren’t expecting squirty), open up the water pump thingy and soak all your clothes on a hot July day, then go down the ant farm slides (umm, not real ants, but like you are one–do ants have slides? They should). Up to the rope bridge and then the bridge through the trees. Wait no, first a stop at the tadpole pond to wade and terrorize the baby frogs. Now it takes the kids about 20 minutes to be done and ready for ice cream.

We then go to the maze that the twins have long since memorized, making it less than exciting for them, but exciting for me as I have not memorized it and I get left in the dust by these dudes, then call out pitifully for their help. They are not so sympathetic. Oh all right, let’s go off into the main part of the Arboretum to see the Japanese garden, the azaleas, the everything.

I admit that I have one twin, let’s call him Twin A, who does not appreciate fully walking around the Japanese garden and marveling at the trees. He is a man of action. So this time, instead of dragging his whining self around, my dad rented bicycles and they were off down the paths on the far side of the Arboretum. I doubt Twin A could identify an evergreen or a rhododendron but he enjoyed whistling over the hills.

Our favorite tree in Brazil: the araucaria. Made Twin B cry to see it as endangered.

Twin B, mom and I hit the conifers. Not literally. It was an area I have never explored and was flabbergasted by the variety of their collection. Even some poor Brazilian trees probably hating the February Illinois weather were now enjoying the July heat. We then posed by the giant columns (yeah, pretty much every year, just like posing in front of Sue at the Field Museum), and walked through the acres.

I would have to classify the Morton as one of the least known delights right outside of Chicago. Yes, you need a car to get there. Get one. It’s so worth the trip–especially if you have kids.










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