Press Release

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum returns to walking trail Nov. 20

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LISLE, Ill. (Nov. 17, 2021) — Those looking for a unique winter light show this year will find it in the ninth annual Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum, opening November 20 with five new features and a curated selection of music from around the world along the walking path.

Illumination attendees will find familiar favorite features from previous years, as well as the newly created experiences of the Arboretum’s 26-foot tall Human+Nature Hallow sculpture lit at night, a glittering entry gateway, passage through 150 colorful lanterns, a blanket of white lights across a hilltop meadow and a conifer trail lined with dozens of spectacularly colored light reeds.

Arboretum Vice President of Learning and Engagement Preston Bautista, Ph.D., said that the use of music throughout the trail will immerse guests in the outdoor experience from beginning to end, while creating a welcoming feel for those from a variety of cultures and with different musical tastes. The wide variety of 20 selections include seasonal classics from The Nutcracker, festive music from cultures worldwide, as well as Harry Potter and Frozen2 tracks.

Illumination runs from Nov. 20 through Jan. 2, 2022. Guests can warm up by crackling fires and roast marshmallows for s’mores, or stop in one of the concession tents for a snack and beverage. Also new this year is a special photo backdrop in Arbor Court. Returning favorites include Treemagination, Symphony Woods, Woodland Wonder, Ornament Hill, The Champion Tree, Enchanted Forest and Crown of Light.
The exhibition was custom designed and developed uniquely for The Morton Arboretum in partnership with international media and exhibit designers Lightswitch LLC and features energy-efficient, eco-friendly LED lighting.

Tickets are recommended to be purchased online in advance at, since many nights traditionally sell out and tickets may not be available at the door. Ticket prices range from $8 to $24 per person. Children under age 2 will be admitted free of charge. Questions about the event can be directed to the Ticket Line at 630-725-2066.

Illumination will open each evening at 4:30 p.m., with last entry at 8:30 p.m. Lights go out at 9:30 p.m. The exhibition is closed Nov. 22, 25 (Thanksgiving) and 29, and December 6, 13, 24 (Christmas Eve) and 25 (Christmas Day).

Illumination is generously supported by Invesco QQQ, ComEd, PNC and Duly Health and Care.