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Parenting in Chicago Alone # 7: Morton Arboretum
This is number seven in my series of “Parenting Alone In Chicago.” My hope is that my clients or my readers can use these posts as a list of places to enjoy with their children after their divorce, separation or even just a weekend where they have the kids by themselves. Being a parent isn’t easy and being a single parent is even harder so these locations will help get the kids out of the house and burn off their energy.
Located in Lisle, Illinois the Morton Arboretum is a botanical garden devoted to trees. It is 1700 acres (6.9 square miles) of trees and prairie land. There are over 200,000 cataloged plants on the property.
The Morton Arboretum was founded in 1922 by Joy Morton (of the Morton Salt Company). Joy Morton’s father, Julius Sterling Morton, was the founder of Arbor Day (a day people plant trees. It used to be a big deal before Earth Day became a thing)
Admission is $ 15 for adults and $ 10 for children. Wednesdays have discounted prices at $ 10 and $ 7, respectively.
The Morton Arboretum is open from 7 AM to Sunset every day. The buildings within and their respective activities have specific hours, however. Almost all of them open at 9:30 AM.
Most people don’t go to the arboretum to just look at trees, though. There are hiking trails, biking paths, an interactive children’s garden and a maze.
The visitor center is a great first stop to find out what’s available at the arboretum that day.
The Morton Arboretum is so big that a tram can pick you up at the visitor center and give you a tour of the entire grounds.
The Sterling Morton library provides exhibits and resources for anyone who is interested in biology, conservation, forestry or environmental studies.
One thing that is fun is “the troll hunt” which is six wooden statues of trolls hidden on the property. The statues are enormous so it’s not just searching the horizon for the ugly statues. They are all located within three quarters of a mile from the parking lot.
Dogs are not allowed except for special “dog days” during the fall and the winter.
While visiting the Morton Arboretum may seem like an activity for the summer, spring and fall, it’s actually a great winter activity. You can walk through the quiet snow-covered forest only hearing the snow crunch beneath your feet or you can drive through the arboretum on the driving paths and enjoy some wooded scenery.
The maze garden is a lot of fun for kids to explore and has a platform at the center that you can climb to see the entire maze from above.
There are tons of activities and workshops available and almost all of them are kid friendly. Whether it’s a guided tour or library exhibit, be sure to check out everything the arboretum has to offer.
There is no good public transportation to the Morton Arboretum. You’ll have to drive to get there. The Morton Arboretum is located 26 miles from my Chicago, Illinois law office. Directions below.