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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bounding Through Tree Houses at the Morton Arboretum

Determined to not let today's sauna-like weather deter us from going outside, we set out early and spent some time at the Morton Arboretum. The Arboretum opened a new Tree House Tales Exhibition last month. Since we had yet to see it, we decided to take a look today.

The idea behind the Tree House Tales Exhibition is to allow children to learn about trees through play and hands-on experiences. The exhibit is set up in a tree-filled spot a bit of a walk from the Visitor's Center. (Normally, the walk would not have phased us, but the sauna did slow us down.)

When we arrived at the exhibit, my daughter immediately darted around between the little houses. The exhibit has six houses spread out with plenty of room for kids to wander. The houses are small and cute -- very appealing to kids! They each represent a type of tree and have a little explanation about some of the uses for that particular tree.

White Oak Cabin
Example of the explanations.








Bur Oak Clubhouse

I think that the Arboretum did an awesome job with this new exhibit. My daughter was engaged the entire visit and remembered many of the facts she learned when I asked her about them later in the day. Since she was so engaged with the exhibit through play, she was more interested and absorbed more about the exhibit. Also, the Arboretum did a great job of giving the children a little information about each tree rather than overloading them. My daughter does not seem to retain as much if she is overstimulated, so the experience is less meaningful.

Silver Maple House, Bur Oak in the background
Throughout the summer (August 29th), the Arboretum will have guides in the Tree House area on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays 12:00Pm-3:00PM. The Arboretum will be adding to this exhibit and 4 new houses are expected in 2013! The Tree House Exhibit also has some picnic tables--a beautiful place for lunch! There are also port-a-potties nearby. The Visitor's Center and Children's Garden are both a little walk away.

We love going to the Morton Arboretum! It is a gem! For more information on our past explorations, check this past post.

If you decide to go to the Arboretum, admission is currently $12/adult, ($8 on Wednesday, ages 18-64), $11/senior, ($7 on Wednesday, ages 65 and over) $9/child ($6 on Wednesday, ages 2-17), and under age 2 is free. Parking is free.  A year membership for a family of four is $115  and includes discounts on events, items at the store, and admission for guests.  Also, members are in a reciprocal program which will give you discounts at other arboretums and botanic gardens across the nation.  As part of the reciprocal program, you get free parking to the Chicago Botanic Gardens. We have used the reciprocal programs in several states--which is great when you are traveling!

For more information about hours, admissions, and programs, check out the Morton Arboretum website.

***Disclaimer:  Opinions presented in this post are purely my own.  I did not receive anything for making this post.

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