This holiday season, The Morton Arboretum’s landscape will be transformed into an interactive kaleidoscope of color and light during its first-ever winter lights event, Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum. From November 22, 2013 to January 4, 2014, Illumination offers a holiday experience far beyond traditional twinkling lights, engaging the senses with dazzling projections, trees that respond to touch and sound, and vivid, electric colors throughout.
November 22, 2013 – January 4, 2014. Tickets go on sale October 1, 2013, at mortonarb.org/illumination.
WHAT YOU’LL SEE:
Illumination takes visitors on a mile-long, paved walking trail winding around the Arboretum’s Meadow Lake and down its Conifer Walk, to see a series of dazzling light experiences along the way. At this event you can:
- View and interact with spectacular trees that are lit up like no others in the area
- Hug a tree to make it grow brighter
- Sing to a tree and watch it change color
- Interact with light and color with a swipe of your hand
ABOUT THE LIGHTS:
Built in partnership with top lighting designers Lightswitch, Illumination features energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly LED lighting technology. This lighting provides beautiful, powerful color while consuming only half the power of traditional incandescent lighting.
SPECIAL EVENT NIGHTS:
Illumination will feature a full slate of programming, including live music, wintertime food, and activities for families, couples and kids. An updated schedule is available at mortonarb.org/illumination.
EVENT DATES AND PRICING:
November 22 through January 4. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., last entry at 8:30 p.m.
The event will be closed November 28 and December 2, 9, 16, 24 and 25.
- Nonmember prices: $15/adults, $10/children 2-17 years old
- Member prices: $10/adults, $5/children 2-17
- The event is free for children under 2
More on The Illumination Experience
Visitors will begin their journey with a view across Meadow Lake, where projection technology turns a majestic tableau of 50-foot tall evergreens into a giant screen for a series of moving images that trick the eyes.
Walking along Meadow Lake, guests will find a space filled with Shadow Lanterns, gently moving in the wind, creating shimmering patterns of light and shadow on visitors and trees.
Moving on, visitors will walk through the Tinsel Colonnade, where bright strands of colorful light glimmer brightly from the branches like tinsel on the trees.
As visitors head up the Conifer Walk, they will encounter Harmony Trees, black walnut trees bathed from all sides with vivid, saturated light that makes them appear to shift and move. On closer inspection, guests will discover the lights are responding to the sound of their voices and they’re invited to sing and call out to the trees to make them glow brighter.
Moving on to the top of Frost Hill – one of the highest points at the Arboretum – visitors are immersed in an incandescent glow as they gaze at a series of Crystal Chandeliers, a series of crystal chandeliers suspended within a grove of trees. From there, guests can turn to enjoy the grand vista of the iconic Four Columns sculptures, which appear to gently rotate.
Next, it’s on to the Island of Light, a tree island on which visitors control the projection of color and brightness of lights.
Continuing down the Conifer Walk, visitors encounter the Personalitrees, two different experiences that let visitors create their own light show on a tableau of towering evergreens. In one, guests can move their hands over a sensor to conduct a 30-foot-high display of falling snowflakes, flower petals or leaves projected onto a grove of evergreens. The other allows guests of any age to look into a camera and see their own image, in a giant projection on the trees.
Simply hugging a tree can bring joy to anyone, but what if the tree responded? Hug A Tree invites guests to interact directly with nature by hugging a tree, with a twist. Each of the three huggable trees controls the lighting of the entire grove in a different way. The first tree controls brightness, the second changes the color and the third affects how quickly the light shifts from tree to tree.
Walking back toward Arbor Court, pencil beams of light shift horizontally and vertically, penetrating the night sky and outlining the geometry of the Hedge Garden.
Along the walking trail, guests will be able to rest and refresh at three concession areas, including a make-your-own s’mores station, and outdoor fire pits to help visitors warm up by the firelight. Special event nights will include musical groups, children’s activities and more. An updated calendar of events will be available at mortonarb.org/illumination. In addition, visitors can stop by the Enchanted Railroad, an intricate model train traveling through an indoor winter wonderland at the Visitor Center. In its 12thyear, the Enchanted Railroad is a popular holiday-themed display from the LGB Model Railroad Club.
WIN IT: (1) US winner will receive 4 tickets to Morton Arboretum “Illumination”
Need help entering a giveaway? Check out my blog post for some help!