Exhibitions

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum

Explore 50 acres of the Arboretum’s majestic trees during this one-of-a-kind spectacle of color, light, and sound.

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See Trees in a Different Light

Join in celebrating the tenth annual Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum during the Arboretum’s 100th anniversary year. Explore 50 acres of the Arboretum’s majestic trees during this one-of-a-kind spectacle of color, light, and sound featuring six dazzling new displays as well as returning favorites. You will be awed and delighted by the first Illumination display in The Gerard T. Donnelly Grand Garden, leading to a spectacular laser-light finale.

Also, new this year is Electric Illumination, a late-night experience for adults 18 and older with a curated mix of trance and progressive house music, synchronized to the breathtaking light displays. Be the first to be part of this exciting, limited run: 9:30-11:00 p.m., December 16, 23, and 30! (Please note: all tickets for Electric Illumination are now sold out). 

Craft beer lovers won’t want to miss IllumiBrew, on November 17 and 18. This 21-and-over event provides a first look at Illumination while sampling local brews along the trail.

During Illumination, you’ll journey along a one-mile paved walking path amid festive music and lighting effects that highlight the beauty of trees in winter. Warm up by a crackling fire and roast marshmallows for s’mores, or stop in one of the concession tents for a snack and beverage.

Tickets for all Illumination are now available. Advance purchase is recommended, as many nights will sell out. Please note that any ticket purchases made on-site during Illumination will be credit card only.

 

 

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Ticket Prices

Member Tickets (Prices valid November 1-January 7)

Standard: Adult – $22, Child (2-17) – $14
Discount: Adult – $17, Child (2-17) –$11

Discount nights:
November 22-23, 29-30
December 1, 6-8, 13-15
January 2-5

Standard nights:
November 19-20, 25-27
December 2-4, 9-11, 16-23, 26-31
January 1, 6-7

Closed: Event is closed November 21, 24 (Thanksgiving), 28; December 5, 12, 24 (Christmas Eve), and 25 (Christmas Day)

Guest Tickets (Prices valid October 1-January 7)

Standard: Adult – $27, Child (2-17) – $19
Discount: Adult – $22, Child (2-17) – $16

Discount nights:
November 22-23, 29-30
December 1, 6-8, 13-15
January 2-5

Standard nights:
November 19-20, 25-27
December 2-4, 9-11, 16-23, 26-31
January 1, 6-7

Closed: Event is closed November 21, 24 (Thanksgiving), 28; December 5, 12, 24 (Christmas Eve), and 25 (Christmas Day)

Make sure to check the Illumination FAQ for available discounts.

AnyDay Tickets For Members – SOLD OUT

Members had the exclusive opportunity to purchase AnyDay tickets for $35 during the October 1-31 early-bird member discount period. These special single-use tickets can be used once by either an adult or a child, at any entry time, on any day of Illumination.

A limited number of tickets were available. Members could purchase up to 10 AnyDay tickets per membership. PLEASE NOTE: AnyDay tickets will have one date indicated, but they are valid for any Illumination date.

 

Museums for All

A limited number of reduced-rate Illumination tickets are available on discount nights including weeknights (Monday through Thursday) and January 2-5 for guests with a state-issued EBT card (also known as a LINK card) or a valid WIC card, through the Museums for All program.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children and can be purchased online or in person, as long as the date is not sold out. When purchasing on-site, purchasers are required to show a valid LINK or WIC card to receive the discounted rate.

When purchasing online, purchasers will receive an email confirmation and will be required to show a valid LINK or WIC card when showing their tickets the night of the event.

This Illumination-specific discount is an extension of the popular Museums for All program, a partnership between the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), which has allowed more than 3,600 low-income and under-served individuals to visit the Arboretum since 2016.

When purchasing online, purchasers will receive an email confirmation and will be required to show a valid LINK or WIC card to pick up their tickets the night of the event.

 

Purchase Museum for All tickets >

Illumination Accessibility

The Illumination trail is a one-mile paved walking path that includes one large incline (Frost Hill) approximately halfway through the exhibition, and several smaller inclines and declines. We advise guests to keep the length and hilly nature of the trail in mind. The exhibition is not fully accessible to visitors with limited mobility.

Guests have the option to skip the second half of the exhibition, bypassing the large incline at Ornament Hill, by heading back toward the Visitor Center on the tram road.

The Arboretum has a small number of non-motorized wheelchairs available free of charge in the Visitor Center on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests must leave a driver’s license or other photo ID to check out a wheelchair. Because our supply is limited, we recommend bringing a wheelchair to the Arboretum, if needed. Personal mobility scooters may also be used on the trail.

Arboretum staff make best efforts to clear the path of ice and snow. Crowds are generally lighter on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday making it easier to navigate the trail.

Please be aware that Illumination features moving and flashing lights along the trail, in case a member of your party is sensitive to these effects.

The Morton Arboretum welcomes visitors with service animals to Illumination. (However, please note, pets are not permitted at the Arboretum except on special dog admission days.)

The exhibition is not visible by car. Parking is available near the entrance for those with a disability placard on their vehicle—as it will be dark outside, please notify the parking attendant as you drive in. Otherwise, parking is first come, first served, and is directed by parking attendants.

Guests directed to a secondary lot (P-21) at Thornhill can take advantage of a shuttle bus that will transport them to the main event area (please note that this is the only shuttle bus running in this manner during Illumination and it only runs between P-21 and the Visitor Center). If you do not have a disability placard and someone in your party has mobility concerns, you are also welcome to drop off passengers in our circle drive, adjacent to the Visitor Center, before you park. Again, please notify our parking attendants and they will direct you accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my AnyDay ticket include a date?

AnyDay tickets will have one date indicated, but they are valid for any Illumination date.

Are there any Illumination ticket discounts available?

Morton Arboretum members always receive a discount.

A limited number of weeknight tickets are available at a reduced rate to guests with a state-issued EBT card (also known as a LINK card) or a valid WIC card, through the Museums for All program. Tickets can be purchased online using this link or in person at the Arboretum, as long as the date is not sold out. When purchasing on-site, purchasers are required to show a valid LINK or WIC card to receive the discounted rate. When purchasing online, purchasers will receive an email confirmation and will be required to show a valid LINK or WIC card to pick up their tickets the night of the event.

This Illumination-specific discount is an extension of the popular Museums for All program, a partnership between the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), which has allowed more than 3,600 under-served individuals to visit the Arboretum since 2016.

PLEASE NOTE: All available tickets using the COMEDLIGHTS2022 discount code are sold out.

I want to change my tickets. What is the refund and exchange policy?

Illumination ticket purchases are non-refundable. However, guests may be able to exchange tickets in advance for a fee of $1 per ticket, depending upon event capacity and at the discretion of the Arboretum. Tickets can be rebooked (prior to their original start time) using the Arboretum Rebooking Tool; guests who need additional assistance can also email the help desk or call 630-725-2066. If the Arboretum cancels a night of Illumination (in whole or part), we will accommodate ticket holders according to the cancellation policy.

Can I get passes or tickets for an Arboretum day visit and Illumination tickets in the same transaction?

Event tickets may always be added to general admission reservations, however, we encourage you to purchase Illumination tickets in a separate transaction, if possible, to ensure that the scan codes are kept separate.

Can I walk/snowshoe at the Arboretum during the day on Illumination dates?

On days with four or more inches of snow, we invite you to bring your own snowshoes or cross-country skis to the Arboretum during our usual daylight hours. During Illumination, the East side of the Arboretum will close at 3:00 p.m. to prepare for Illumination opening each evening at 4:30 p.m. Only the West Side is available for skiing or snowshoeing prior to mid-January (when Illumination equipment is removed on the East Side). Once Illumination is over (January 7, 2023), rentals will be available based on snowfall.

If Illumination is canceled due to weather, can I get a refund?

Because Illumination is an outdoor event in winter, on very rare occasions the Arboretum may cancel an evening or temporarily close the event until weather passes. Many factors are considered, including predictions from the National Weather Service and other weather services, before making a decision that has an impact on guests. If Illumination is canceled or temporarily closed for part of an evening, ticket holders will be notified via email, and notice will be posted to the Arboretum’s website homepage. We will honor tickets on alternate nights, schedule permitting. For more information, email or call the ticket line at tickets@mortonarb.org or 630-725-2066 between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. daily (except holidays).

If I have tickets and decide not to go to Illumination due to weather conditions, can I get a refund or exchange my tickets for another date?

Ticket holders who make the choice not to attend Illumination based on their personal circumstances may request a ticket exchange, depending on schedule and ticket availability, for a $1 fee per ticket. Refunds are not available. For more information, use the Arboretum Rebooking Tool, email the help desk, or call the ticket line at 630-725-2066 between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. daily (except holidays).

Can I enter/use the Arboretum before the time on my Illumination ticket?

Illumination ticket holders may enter the Arboretum after 4:30 p.m., but will not be able to access the Illumination trail or Visitor Center until the time listed on their tickets. Due to often cold weather conditions, we encourage ticket holders to arrive as close as possible to the time on their tickets for the best experience.

Is the Illumination trail accessible for those with physical disabilities?

The Illumination trail is a one-mile paved walking path that includes one large incline (Frost Hill) and several smaller inclines and declines. Wheelchairs are available free-of-charge at the Visitor Center on a first-come, first-served basis, or guests may bring their own. Personal mobility scooters may be used on the trail. Guests have the option to bypass Frost Hill and skip the large incline during the second half of Illumination by heading back towards the Visitor Center on the tram road.

Tickets: Print your ticket email or retrieve it on a mobile device before arriving at the Arboretum to ensure a smooth check-in process.

Timing: The time on your ticket is the start of your half-hour entry window. Last entry is at 8:30 p.m. Once admitted, you may stay until the exhibition closes at 9:30 p.m. Please note you will not be admitted to Illumination or any buildings before the time on your ticket.

DirectionsFind directions and the best way to get to the Arboretum.

Parking: Allow plenty of time. You may have to walk a distance from the parking lot. Based on your parking location, you may be transported by bus to the Illumination entrance.

MapPreview the map; remember you must stay on the paved path for your safety.

Prepare for the Outdoors: Wear winter gear including hats, gloves, scarves, and practical shoes or boots.

Refreshments: Snacks and hot beverages (with optional cordials) will be served in two concession tents along the route. S’mores are available for roasting on the fire pits. Inside the Visitor Center, a full dinner menu will be available from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., including sandwiches, salads, and soups, along with assorted alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Accessibility: The trail is a one-mile paved walking path that is not fully accessible to guests with limited mobility. More accessibility details.

Photos: There are many opportunities for photos along the Illumination experience and in Arbor Court. Due to health and safety considerations, Arboretum staff and volunteers are not available to assist with photos.

Pets: All pets must be left at home. Service animals are always welcome.

The Morton Arboretum is now offering a way for members and guests to make changes to their existing ticket reservations for Illumination and Electric Illumination ticket holders. You can use this rebooking tool if you are changing your tickets from one date to another, even if there is a cost difference between the two dates. Only dates and times that are still available will show during the rebooking process.

To look up an existing order, enter your order ID and last name in the field below. You can find your order ID listed on the “Order Summary” email that was sent to you from tickets@mortonarb.org.

Please note that there will be a $1 charge per ticket for any changes made to Illumination tickets, plus any changes in the price of the tickets.

If you have questions, you can contact the ticket line by email at tickets@mortonarb.org or by phone at 630-725-2066, Monday–Sunday (excluding holidays), 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Please note that this tool is currently only available for use when rebooking Illumination or Electric Illumination tickets.

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