Events

Destination Asia Festival

Explore the diverse cultures of Asia through music, dance, food, and trees.

Content Detail

Bring your family and friends to be transported across the globe as you explore the beautiful cultures and traditions of Asia. Taste delicious food from local vendors, experience new music, and take in traditional dances and performances that pay homage to this part of the world. This family-friendly weekend will be the cultural event of the summer!

The Destination Asia Festival celebrates the cultures of Asia, where many trees and plants at The Morton Arboretum originated. The Arboretum’s scientists and arborists continue to work with colleagues in countries such as Myanmar, China, and Taiwan to support research and encourage policies that improve the conservation and management of forests and trees in the face of rapid changes in these countries’ economy, ecology, and culture.

Ticket Details

Admission to the Destination Asia Festival is included with Arboretum general admission.

Nihon Night

This summer, bring the whole family to the Arboretum for an evening of fun and educational activities that celebrate Japanese culture and cuisine, from paper lantern crafting to karaoke. Nihon Night activities take place on Thursday, July 25, 2024, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Children’s Garden, Arbor Court, and The Gerard T. Donnelly Grand Garden.

Event Details

The Destination Asia Festival celebrates the cultures of Asia, where many trees and plants at The Morton Arboretum originated. From its founding in 1922, The Arboretum’s collection has included Asian plants. Since the early 1990s, Kris Bachtell, vice president of collections and facilities, and colleagues have traveled to China and other Asian countries frequently, collecting specimens of paperbark maple and other plants. The Arboretum collects plants, including endangered trees, from the wild for study and conservation. Research teams then add these plants to the Arboretum collection and preserve the species for the study and enjoyment of tree champions in future generations.

The Arboretum’s scientists and arborists continue to work with colleagues in countries such as Myanmar, China, and Taiwan to support research and encourage policies that improve the conservation and management of forests and trees in the face of rapid changes in these countries’ economy, ecology, and culture. The Destination Asia Festival celebrates Asian cultures and plants as the Arboretum champions trees in Illinois and around the globe.

Nihon Night

This summer, bring the whole family to the Arboretum for an evening of fun and educational activities that celebrate Japanese culture and cuisine, from paper lantern crafting to karaoke. Nihon Night activities take place on Thursday, July 25, 2024, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Children’s Garden, Arbor Court, and The Gerard T. Donnelly Grand Garden.

Bonsai Show and Workshops

Bonsai is the Japanese art of growing and developing trees and other woody-stemmed plants in pots. The Prairie State Bonsai Society is proud to present an exhibition of bonsai at The Morton Arboretum’s Destination Asia Festival. View a display of mature bonsai trees and trees in training at the Bonsai Show on Saturday, August 3, and Sunday, August 4, 2024, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Bonsai Workshops

Discover the art of bonsai, develop your styling and wiring skills, or receive advice on your own bonsai tree. Bonsai workshops take place on-site at The Morton Arboretum on Saturday, August 3, and Sunday, August 4.

Introduction to Bonsai Workshop: Chinese Elm
Saturday, August 3, 9:00 a.m. to noon

Dwarf Alberta Spruce Bonsai Workshop
Saturday, August 3, 9:00 a.m. to noon

Kusamono Bonsai Workshop
Saturday, August 3, 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Tiger Bark Ficus Bonsai Workshop
Saturday, August 3, 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Introduction to Bonsai Workshop: Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper
Sunday, August 4, 9:00 a.m. to noon

Japanese Black Pine Mikawa Bonsai Workshop
Sunday, August 4, 9:00 a.m. to noon

Bring Your Own Tree Bonsai Workshop
Sunday, August 4, 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Singapore Holly Bonsai Workshop
Sunday, August 4, 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Schedule of Events

Details on the festival schedule will be available closer to the event date.

Food Options

Bakery items, salads, and sandwiches may be purchased until 6:00 p.m. at the Ginkgo Café. Espresso beverages, hot tea, and drip coffee are also available.

Food trucks will be on-site for the duration of the event. Participating vendors include:

Yum Dum Truck
Hello Boba

A complete vendor list will be available close to the event date.

Accessibility

The Destination Asia Festival takes place along the paved walking paths of the Visitor Center area, Meadow Lake, and the Conifer Trail. These paths are fully accessible for wheelchairs and walkers but do include a few hills. The stages will be stationed on the grassy areas near these walking trails.

View the Accessibility Guide for more detailed information.

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