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Visiting tips

Mature oak trees in the Oak Collection

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness and Prevention

The Arboretum grounds are open at this time for members and visitors to enjoy. In alignment with the state's recommendations to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), all Arboretum buildings and the Children's Garden and Maze Garden are closed through Tuesday, April 7. Please note the following adjustments in operations to help you plan your visit accordingly:

  • Adjusted hours: 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily (last entry at 5:00 p.m.)
  • Regular Arboretum admission rates apply. For staff safety, only credit cards and member cards will be accepted.
  • All indoor restrooms are closed. Please plan your visit accordingly. Portable restrooms for urgent needs only: Bus lot (Visitor Center parking area), Big Rock Visitor Station (Parking lot 13 - East Side), Prairie Visitor Station (Parking lot 25 - West Side)
  • Please leave dogs and other pets at home, except for on specially designated days. If you arrive with a dog, you will not be allowed to enter, and will be asked to leave if seen on the site (refunds will not be available).

In order for the Arboretum to remain open, visitors must practice social distancing recommendations for their own safety and the safety of others.

  • Remain six (6) feet from others
  • Pass in single file at the sides of trails and roads
  • Do not gather in groups around the Troll Hunt sculptures or other areas

Check this Arboretum webpage for ongoing updates and more visiting tips.

Visiting Tips

We hope you take advantage of our expansive grounds, and explore the diversity of tree collections offered. Before you visit, please read through our list of what you do and don't need and how to keep safe to maximize your enjoyment while on the grounds.

What to bring

  • Binoculars or telephoto lenses to observe wildlife
  • Walking shoes, water-repellent shoes or boots for inclimate weather
  • Layers of clothing so you can add or remove layers to maintain your comfort level
  • Sun hats and sunscreen if you will be in the sun
  • For children:
    • Play clothes—children are likely to get wet and possibly dirty
    • An extra set of clothes
    • Sandals or aqua shoes for the Secret Stream and Wonder Pond
  • Light-colored, long sleeve shirts and slacks for insects and poison ivy
  • Insect repellent containing DEET for ticks

To learn more about avoiding and removing ticks before your visit, check the following Illinois Department of Public Health web sites:

Prevention & Control: Common Ticks
Lyme Disease

In case you need something you didn't bring, The Arboretum Store has long-sleeve shirts, rain ponchos for adults and children, hand and toe warmers, sunscreen, insect repellent, and hats.

What to leave at home:

  • Pets (pets aren't allowed in vehicles or on the grounds, except for on specially designated days.)
  • Balls, kites, rollerblades, segways, scooters or skateboards
  • Bathing suits
  • Fishing equipment
  • Drones and other remotely controlled aircraft
  • Tobacco, e-cigarettes, alcohol, glass containers, and grills
  • Firearms--The State of Illinois enacted legislation to allow permitted and trained individuals to carry a concealed firearm. The statute also outlines places where this practice is prohibited, including museums. The Morton Arboretum is an accredited museum where concealed carry of firearms is statutorily prohibited. Concealed carry permit holders are lawfully allowed to store their firearms in a case within a locked vehicle or locked container out of plain view within the vehicle while on the Arboretum grounds.

While you are here

We want all visitors to be safe and enjoy the grounds to the fullest. Please follow our list of "Do's and Don'ts" to maximize your experience:

  • Pedestrians and hikers are asked to walk on the designated paved paths and chipped trails and stay off the roadways. 
  • Bicyclists and runners are asked to travel on the far right of the roadways, in the same direction as car traffic and stay off the paved paths and trails.
  • Please do not climb on trees or hang from branches.
  • Trash should be placed in garbage receptacles provided.
  • Park only in one of the Arboretum's 33 designated parking lots. 
  • Be aware of your footing and the terrain if you go off trail. Watch for poison ivy. Avoid plant damage by refraining from walking through garden beds.
  • Please do not swim or fish in the Arboretum lakes or ponds.
  • Please do not pick anything off the trees and plants. Picking up leaves, seeds, or cones that have fallen to the ground is permitted.
  • Collecting plant samples, seeds, fruits, nuts, acorns, fungi, and mushrooms at the Arboretum is allowed for the following:
    • Children's leaf collecting projects (from the ground only)
    • Arboretum class-sponsored collecting projects
    • Professional purposes, with prior permission from the Collections and Grounds program
  • You'll observe more animals in their natural behavior by remembering these rules:
    • Please do not feed the wildlife.
    • Enjoy wildlife at a distance. (If you cause an animal to move, you are too close!)
    • Stay quiet and minimize noise.
    • Never get close to nests or other sensitive habitat.

By your presence, you grant permission for your likeness to be included and used in any and all media by The Morton Arboretum and you release The Morton Arboretum from any claims or liability connected therewith.