fbpx November-December 2018 Events, Programs, and Classes | The Morton Arboretum

November-December 2018 Events, Programs, and Classes

Illumination private outdoor tent brought to life with innovative lights and decorations
Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum returns November 16.
September 21, 2018

This November and December at The Morton Arboretum will include festive events, classes and fun family programs for all ages. On November 16, visitors will once again be surrounded by color as they walk a one-mile paved path amid interactive lighting effects and exciting new features that highlight the beauty of trees in winter during Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum. New this year is IllumiBrew, a chance for adults to enjoy beer tastings as they travel the Illumination trail on the event’s opening night. 

Late autumn is a great time to prune trees, and classes such as Structural Pruning will help homeowners and others learn the proper tips and techniques to caring for their trees and shrubs. The class, Growing Greens Indoors, will allow people to extend the growing season and enjoy fresh microgreens even when there’s frost on the ground.

Holiday offerings including Breakfast with Santa and Supper with St. Nick, return in December, giving families fun ways to connect and enjoy the season together.

A complete list of November and December events is below. For more information, visit mortonarb.org/events. All prices listed are for the general public and information is accurate as of the date of this release, but we encourage media to check the website as times and dates may change.

November-December Highlights

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum
Friday, November 16, 2018 through January 1, 2019
Tickets on sale Monday, October 1
From November through January, the grounds of The Morton Arboretum will again glow with luminous, multi-colored LED light, mesmerizing projections, and trees that respond to touch and sound, as Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum makes its return. Celebrating its sixth year, Illumination surrounds visitors with color as they walk a one-mile paved path amid interactive lighting effects that highlight the beauty of trees in winter. This year offers new twists on favorite experiences and surprising new sights, including art from HYBYCOZO—amazing new treelike sculptures that spread intricate designs of light. On November 16, Illumination will be open exclusively to those with tickets for IllumiBrew, the new beer tasting event along the Illumination trail.

NEW! IllumiBrew
Friday, November 16
Kick off the new season of Illumination at our new IllumiBrew event just for adults. Be among the first to see Illumination’s newest features while you sample beer from more than a dozen top local breweries stationed along the Illumination trail. This event is open to those 21 and older only. Visit mortonarb.org for additional information. 

Dog Admission Day
Saturday, November 3, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
Hit the Arboretum trails with your furry friend. Fee includes a stylish Arboretum bandana for your pup.

Chamber Concert
Sunday, November 4 , 2:15-3:30
In this intimate concert, music-lovers will hear violin pieces by J.S. Bach from Francesca Anderegg. The artist will also perform the iconic “Sonata No. 3 in C major,” known for having been influenced by Bach's expertise as an organist.

Holiday Favorites

Nature Artists’ Guild Holiday Exhibit
Saturday, November 3 and Sunday, November 4, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Included with Arboretum admission
Enjoy works illustrations, painting and other works of art in this show from the Nature Artists’ Guild.

Thanksgiving Harvest Arrangement
Thursday, November 15, 7-9 p.m. or Saturday, November 17, 1-3 p.m.
Create a colorful autumnal arrangement for your Thanksgiving table or to give as a gift. In this hands-on workshop, you’ll create a table arrangement with fresh flowers, fruit, and berries. Learn design principles, tips, and tricks from an experienced instructor.

DIY Holiday Notecards
Saturday, November 17
Watercolor 9 a.m.-noon
Gelli prints 1-4 p.m.
Make personalized notecards using watercolor or gelli prints. An instructor will discuss types of paper, demonstrate techniques, and show you how to build color to create an image. Create 10 cards for any occasion in this beginner-friendly class.

Holiday Herbal Cocktails (21+)
Tuesday, November 27, 7-9 p.m.
Add some flair to your holiday party with festive holiday cocktails that incorporate flavorful herbs. Sip on a cocktail or two as you learn how to select, grow, and use herbs in cocktails with recipes that are sure to delight your guests during this entertaining and informative program.

Holiday Swags
Thursday, November 29, 7-9 p.m.
Create an elegant evergreen swag, a versatile cluster of winter foliage that can be placed almost anywhere around the house this holiday season. Working under the guidance of skilled botanical arrangers, you will learn design principles and techniques to incorporate evergreen branches and boughs into graceful, professional-looking pieces.

Essential Oils Holiday Gift Set  
Saturday, December 1, 10 a.m.-noon
Make four essential oil aromatherapy roll-ons and sprays that will provide a variety of wellness benefits. Learn about the variety of wellness benefits that essential oils provide and package your make-and-takes into a decorative tin.

Breakfast with Santa
Weekends in December through Sunday, December 23
Friday, December 21
9-11 a.m.
$42 for adults, $36 for children 3-12
Enjoy a special breakfast buffet in The Morton Arboretum's scenic Ginkgo Restaurant and a visit from Santa! Children can interact with Santa and his helpers and leave with some sweet treats to take home. Children under the age of 3 are free.

Felted Woodland Creatures
Saturday, December 8, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Discover the world of fiber arts and learn the basics of working with natural fibers to create a pair of woodland creatures, including a gnome or a hedgehog. Or, tap into the holiday spirit and craft a Santa Claus and elf. These five-inch fiber sculptures are full of charm. They make wonderful gifts and add character to your holiday displays.

Holiday Table Arrangement
Thursday, December 13, 7-9 p.m.
Create a festive, long-lasting botanical arrangement to display in your home during the holidays, using a wintery mix of greenery and flowers. Learn design concepts and skills you can apply to any arrangement, and take home a seasonal decoration that will brighten your table.

Holly and Hops (Ages 21+)
Thursday, December 13, 7-9 p.m.
Grab a drink and get into the spirit of the season with an evening of entertaining holiday-themed plant tales. The Sterling Morton Library will present stories about plants such as as mistletoe and poinsettia.

Supper with St. Nick
Thursday, December 20 through Sunday, December 23, 5-7:30 p.m.
$95 for adults, $80 for those 12-20, $65 for those 3 to 12
Make this holiday season special by joining us in the historic Thornhill Mansion for an elegant family supper. Enjoy a decadent buffet dinner and then head on over to the Founders Room for a special visit with Santa in front of the fireplace.

The Arboretum Store

Winter Clearance Sale
Friday, December 29 through Friday, January 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Discounts of 30 to 60 percent will be taken on select holiday merchandise, including home decor, jewelry, books, desktop, apparel, and more. Arboretum members receive their 10 percent discount on top of sale pricing when they present their member card at checkout.

Wellness Programs

Soap-Making Workshop
Saturday, November 3, 1-3 p.m.
Make your own naturally scented soaps using the cold-press process. We'll discuss how to formulate your own recipes, properly use and store lye, mixing lye and water, oils for soap making, and fragrance oils versus essential oils. All materials needed for class will be on hand. Class participants will take home two pounds of soap that will yield six bars to use or give as gifts.

Children’s Garden Programs

Winter Play
Daily in November and December, 11 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Included in Arboretum admission
Join us in the Children's Garden for winter time fun. We'll set out activities to complement the day.   Activities may include painting snow or building a fort. This self-guided hands-on discovery activity is available daily weather permitting.

Gnome Hunt
Daily in November and December, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Included with Arboretum admission
The animals may be hibernating, but gnomes can be discovered throughout our garden. Can you find all of the hidden gnomes in the Children's Garden?  

Arbor Reading Adventures
Wednesdays and Fridays in November and December, 11-11:45 a.m.
Join us in the Sterling Library for some interactive story time and fun. We’ll make a craft and then head out on the grounds for an adventure walk. This program is best suited for children ages 3 to 5.

Youth and Family Programs

Nature Art - 18-35 months
Wednesday, November 7 or Tuesday, November 13, 9:30-10:45 a.m.
Nature Art – 3-5 years
Tuesday, November 6, Thursday, November 8, or Wednesday, November 14, 9:30-11 a.m.
Children can use nature as their canvas in this hands-on, sensory-based program. We will hike, gather leaves, and use our imaginations to create unique pieces of art in the garden.

Fall Family Hike
Saturday, November 3 or Friday, November 23, 1-3 p.m.
What happens to the trees, animals, and insects in the fall? Come and find out on this fun-filled, guided family hike. Families can end their adventure with a cozy fire and marshmallow roasting.

Gnome Globes
Saturdays and Sundays in November and December, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
After taking a hike through the Children’s Garden to hunt for all of the hiding gnomes, create a keepsake, gnome globe of your own.

Gingerbread House Workshop
Saturday, November 17 or Saturday, December 8, 10-11:30 a.m. or 2-3:30 p.m.  
$13, $7 per gingerbread home
Take a winter walk, find out what sweet treats grow on trees, then decorate a keepsake, light-up, chipboard gingerbread house with natural materials to take home. This unique, crafty experience is fun for a pair or the whole family.

Adult Classes and Programs

Learn about Nature

Structural Pruning
Friday, November 2, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Late autumn is one of the best times to prune for plant structure. The foliage has fallen, revealing the limbs and form of the plant. In this workshop, you will learn structural pruning techniques for specimen shrubs, small ornamental trees, and young trees. Your goal is to maintain the plant's natural character and create a strong branch structure, eliminating future problems.

Growing Greens Indoors
Saturday, November 3, 1-3 p.m.
This winter, grow your salad indoors. Participants will learn how to set up their growing system, plant seeds, and grow and harvest. The class will also cover how to arrange a soil recycling system, and participants will have the opportunity to taste different varieties of microgreens.

Curious Encounters with the Natural World
Thursday, November 15, 7-8:30 p.m.
Writers Michael R. Jeffords and Susan L. Post have circled the globe and explored their own neighborhood collecting strange and beautiful curiosities from across the natural world. Join them for an evening lecture in which they open their personal cabinet of curiosities and share stories of their most unusual encounters with nature. The tales they will share will be selected from their book, “Curious Encounters with the Natural World,” a collection of essays and more than 200 photographs of phenomena that illuminate the diverse life inhabiting our planet.

Black Friday Guided Hike
Friday, November 23, 8-9:30 a.m.
Opt for the outdoors this Black Friday with a peaceful hike along the Arboretum’s quietest trails. Join this naturalist-led trek to discover favorite spots in the Arboretum. Learn a bit about the history of the grounds, and discover what the plants and animals are up to as winter approaches. Participants will end the morning with a warm cup of hot chocolate and a light snack.

Nature at Night Hike
Thursday, December 6, 7-8:30 p.m.
Gain a new perspective on familiar settings with the chance to see what happens in the Arboretum at night when no one is around. Whether the moon is peeking through the clouds or the stars are shining, a fall evening reveals a captivating symphony of sounds and mysterious spaces as we hope to spot wildlife darting through the darkness. During our hike, we will find out how animals are adapted for the night and how they prepare for winter, all while enjoying crisp autumn air and crackling leaves.

Nature Photography

Nature Photography: Intro to Light and Exposure
Thursdays, November 1, 8, and 15, 6:30-9:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 3, 8-11 a.m.
Learn to creatively use light in your photography. Improve your results by considering the quantity, color, and quality of light found during the course of the day and throughout the seasons. Discuss the various qualities of light that photographers encounter in shooting the natural landscape. Through practice in the field and classroom reviews, learn to use different natural lighting creatively and effectively, what filters to use, and how to get correct exposures in each light quality.

Smartphone Photography II
Saturday, November 10, 1-4 p.m.
Smartphone cameras are constantly improving, and a knowledgeable photographer can do a number of impressive things with the devices. This class is intended for those who are already comfortable with the basic functions of their smartphone camera. In this class, you’ll consider light, composition, depth of field, and more as it applies to a smartphone’s capabilities. You’ll learn about apps that can elevate and add artistry to your photos. Discover new ways to edit your images, turn your images into paintings or drawings, discover the world of collage, as well as techniques to produce fine art.

Creative Effects Nature Photography Workshop
Saturday, December 1, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Add artistry to your nature photography with creative effects. Creative effects lenses put a new spin on nature photography. In this workshop, you will have the opportunity to try a variety of creative effects lenses to produce artistic shots of landscapes and up-close nature photography. During this workshop, you’ll have time to practice with the lenses and capture shots to add to your portfolio. Whether you have an iPhone or a DSLR, this workshop provides the chance to see nature through a different lens.

Botanical Art

Beginner’s Nature Art Workshop: Fall Leaves in Watercolor
Saturday, November 3 or Sunday, November 4, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Mix and blend colors to create a watercolor painting of a delicate fall leaf in this expert-led class.

Graphite and Watercolor
Tuesdays, November 6 through November 27, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Learn to capture the textures and color of fall. Work with graphite to build form and texture, then learn to use watercolor to add a punch of color. No watercolor experience needed, but previous experience working in graphite pencil is required.

Reduction Printing Workshop
Saturday, December 1 and Sunday, December 2, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
In linoleum block printing, a reduction print is a multicolored print created from a single block. The first color is printed, more of the image is carved away thereby reducing the block, and the next color is printed on top of the previous print. Class participants will learn about the process and tips and tricks to linoleum block printing. Previous experience with block printing is helpful but not necessary. All skill levels are welcome.


Bird Walks
Saturdays, November 17 and December 15, 8-10:30 a.m.
Search the woods, fields, and edges of the Arboretum for birds. Walk with an expert guide, who will help you locate and identify species spotted along the way. See how things change each month and season.

Natural Areas Conservation Training Program
Formerly known as the Woodland Stewardship Program, the Natural Areas Conservation Training (N-ACT) Program is an in-depth training and certification program in natural areas restoration. Classes are easy to fit into a busy lifestyle, and include online, classroom, and field components. The program is open to anyone involved or interested in the stewardship of our natural heritage, regardless of prior experience.

Tools for Management - Online and In-person
Online component begins: Tuesday, November 6
In-person component: Tuesday,  November 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Learn to effectively and efficiently use the tools of the trade to tackle different restoration jobs. Get to know your tools, pick the right tools for the right tasks, and learn to use the different tools safely. We’ll discuss how to plan and run safe workdays, meet site safety guidelines, and how to care for equipment.

Restoration and Wildlife  
Saturday, November 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Identify and apply short- and long-term restoration activities to enhance wildlife habitat. Learn to identify wildlife habitat in natural areas, describe how wildlife impacts the ecosystem, and how management and restoration could impact wildlife. Participants will look at how the biology and ecology of plants and animals impacts restoration planning for different sites and discuss how to create monitoring plans to assess effectiveness of restoration.

Woodland Ecology - Online
Online component begins: Wednesday, November 28
Participants will learn the essentials of woodland ecology and the woodland management techniques necessary to maintain threatened woodland ecosystems. Woodlands and savannas once covered vast stretches of the Great Lakes region. Today, these ecosystems are threatened by encroaching development, invasive species, and pollution. Discuss the principles of woodland ecology underlying restoration practice, learn about sites that represent different stages of restoration, and explore the controversies surrounding management of these systems in an engaging online course.