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Animal houses at Morton Arboretum

April 07, 2009 at 07:41 AM

LISLE – A one-of-a-kind summertime experience beckons nature lovers. The “Animal Houses” exhibition highlights The Morton Arboretum offerings in June.

Eleven, human-scale dwellings for animals are on display in the Arboretum woodlands, wetlands, and prairie, allowing visitors to imagine what it’s like to live in a pond, or climb up to a squirrel’s home, or explore a coyote’s den. “Animal Houses” will spark curiosity about how animals–including humans–live and interact with trees, building appreciation for the role of trees in their lives. Artists will use environmentally-friendly products where possible, ensuring the project has minimal impact on the environment. Sara Lee Foundation is the Healthy Lifestyles Supporting Sponsor of Animal Houses.

May 22–November 15:  7 a.m.–7 p.m. or sunset, whichever is earlier

Leave the driving to us on “Animal Tram” for a two-hour tour of the Animal Houses. The tram stops for 20 minutes each at the woodlands, wetlands, and prairie, allowing visitors to explore all the Animal Houses at these habitats. Tickets are $9/adult, $8/child; discounts for Arboretum members. All Ages, Visitor Center area.
Daily through August: 1–3 p.m.

Help the birds make their homes in the drop-in activity, “Bird Bags.” Create a bird bag ‘o supplies to take home for the feathered friends in your neighborhood, and then watch and see what materials you supply actually wind-up in birds nest! All ages, the Children’s Garden Workshop.
Daily in June: 11 a.m.–4 p.m. (weather permitting)

Play a fun guessing game to see if you can find out which bird or other animal made certain nests, in the drop-in activity, “The Best Nests.” All ages, the Children’s Garden Workshop.
Daily in June: 11 a.m.–4 p.m. (weather permitting) 

See a live raptor–a meat-eating bird–and marvel at its sharp talons and beak in “Bird is the Word.” Experts from The Little Red Schoolhouse of Cook County will share their knowledge about birds of prey, and visitors can look to the trees to search for birds who visit this area. All ages, the Children’s Garden.
June 7: Noon – 3 p.m. (weather permitting)


“Meet” racing pigeons, and learn about these incredible athletes. In the drop-in activity, “Race Horses of the Sky,” race enthusiast Bill Mitiu of Brookfield showcases his fabulous racing pigeons and talks about this fascinating backyard hobby. All ages, the Children’s Garden.
June 20: 11 a.m.–4 p.m. (weather permitting)

Who goes there? Find out what animals and plants live in and near the Animal Houses in the Bur Reed Marsh area of the Arboretum when nature guides explain it all in “Habitat Happenings.” All ages, Bur Reed Marsh.
June 20-21: 11 a.m.– 2 p.m.

Enjoy the beauty of artful depictions of animals, animal signs, and animal habitats in “Animal Houses and More: An Art and Photography Show.” Students in the Arboretum Botanical Art and Illustration and Nature Photography certificate programs created the works. All ages, Special Events Room.
June 20-21: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Get ready to explore the Animal Houses exhibition with your children or grandchildren.
Join us for discovery-based exploration of the wetland houses. Tickets, $12 per person, are available at 630-719-2468 or All ages, Bur Reed Marsh Parking lot.
June 21: 1–2:30 p.m.


Did you know that some flowers have “landing strips” which bees can see under ultraviolet light, guiding them to their pollen and nectar “rewards?” Find out how flowers evolved interesting structures to adapt to changing habitats in “A Darwinian Perspective On Floral Function and Evolution” with Dr. Spencer C.H. Barrett, one of the foremost authorities on floral evolution. 2009 marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth. Darwin’s studies in his own garden shape the discussion of plant evolution today. All ages, Sterling Morton Library. Tickets are $16. Register at 630-719-2468 or
June 2: 7–9 p.m.   

Immerse yourself in natural beauty as you dine on fine cuisine and relax amid soothing music during “The Enchanted Forest,” the Arboretum’s major annual fundraising dinner party. Enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the Hedge Garden followed by a delicious meal with a view of lovely Arboretum landscapes.  Proceeds from the event support the important mission programs of the Arboretum. Tickets are $350/person, available via .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
June 20: 6:30 - 11 p.m.

Enjoy the stirring and inspirational life story of one of our country’s most famous naturalists, in the June “Theatre-Hike,” Mountain Days–The John Muir Musical. The show reveals the Sierra Club founder and national park system advocate as a conflicted man, trying to balance his love of family with his compulsion for the outdoors while being unwillingly drawn into the politics of preservation. The show, featuring poetic lyrics and a sweeping score, is presented in multiple locations; the audience hikes to each spot to see a new scene. All ages, Thornhill Shelter. Tickets, ranging from $10-$25, are available at or 630/725-2066. Mountain Days–The John Muir Musical, Book and Lyrics by Mary Bracken Phillips, Music and Orchestrations by Craig Bohmler.
Weekends in June: 3 – 5:30 p.m.

Oscar- and Tony Award-nominated playwright David Mamet’s work The Duck Variations is this year’s “Theatre-Bike” performance. Two men in their 60s meet in a park and strike up a conversation about the ducks before them, a discussion that shifts to law, friendship, death, and the dimensions of human nature. After the play, the audience enjoys cocktails and snacks. This show is suggested for mature audiences only. Attendees must bring their own bicycle. The cast presents a scene in one location, after which audience and cast bicycle to a second location for a second scene, and the process repeats. Tickets, $17-42, available at 630/725-2066 or The Morton Arboretum gratefully acknowledges Bicycles Etc., the Theatre-Bike sponsor.
June 6, (low impact), also June 7, July 5, August 2, and September 6: from 5–7:30 p.m.

Take a trek with us beyond the Children’s Garden gates during the drop-in activity, “Into the Wild.” Explore the natural habitats that surround the garden, while singing songs, playing games and pretending to be animals.  Hikes will last approximately 45 minutes. 
All ages, the Children’s Garden.
June 4 and 18, July 2 and 16, and August 6 and 20: 1–1:45 p.m. (weather permitting)

Come one and all to join the Children’s Garden staff for “Anything Goes,” a drop-in activity that’s full of fun and variety. Each day is a surprise: possibilities include an insect hunt, outdoor games, and nature-inspired crafts. All are unique and educational.
Tuesdays and Thursdays in June, July and August: 1–1:20 p.m. (weather permitting)

Serious birders know that Swarovski binoculars are simply the best in the world.  Meet representative Keith Hagen and see for yourself the brilliant optical performance, revolutionary functionality and uncompromising ergonomics of these exceptional products.
June 20: 11 a.m.–3 p.m.

Take your friends to hear a fun story in “Arbor Reading.” All ages, the Children’s Garden amphitheater.
Fridays in May; Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays June–August: 11 a.m.–11: 20

The Morton Arboretum gratefully acknowledges ComEd, sponsor of Youth and Family Programs for 2008/09.

Unless otherwise specified, all Arboretum events and destinations including the Children’s Garden are free with Arboretum admission. The 2009 rates are:
$11/adult, ($7 on Wednesday), ages 18-64 $10/senior, ($6 on Wednesday), ages 65 and over $8/child ($5 on Wednesday), ages 2-17 Under age 2 is free Parking is free

The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized 1,700-acre outdoor museum with collections of 4,117 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum’s beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission – the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time or sunset, whichever is earlier. The Children’s Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through October, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through February. Visit, click About, and then Press Room, or call to learn more.

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