Chicago, IL

Fun activities to get you outdoors this winter at The Morton Arboretum

Jennifer Geer

Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you can't get out and enjoy nature. Here's what's happening at Lisle's Morton Arboretum in January
(Photo courtesy of The Morton Arboretum)

(CHICAGO) Take a short drive out of Chicago to the suburb of Lisle, where you can explore a 1,700-acre living tree museum. The grounds are open from 7 AM to sundown year-round, even during the coldest days of winter.

So put on your warmest coat and most comfortable shoes, and head over to The Morton Arboretum, where you can explore the delights of a Chicagoland winter.

Here are some of the activities you can choose from at the Arboretum this January.

Snowshoeing and Skiing (starting January 15)

As long as the snow cover is at least four inches, beginning January 15, the arboretum will offer cross-country ski and snowshoe rentals.

Grab a map at the entrance or the visitor's center and head off on any of the 16 miles of trails. Supplies are limited, so if you have your own equipment, you may want to bring it.

Run a virtual race
Crabapple Lake(Photo courtesy of The Morton Arboretum)

The Pine Pacer is a month-long virtual running or walking challenge at the arboretum. You don't even have to go to the arboretum to participate, although you can get your walks in on the grounds.

During January log your walks, hikes, or runs, whether at the arboretum or on the treadmill or around the block. Then submit your miles on the arboretum website.

The cost is $50 for members and $60 for nonmembers. (Nonmembers will also receive complimentary guest passes.) Participants will receive a commemorative arboretum zip-up jacket, a challenge completion sticker, and the satisfaction of knowing they met the challenge. Find out more and register here.

Take a stroll and view the Human+Nature exhibit
Hallow Sculpture in Spring(Photo courtesy of The Morton Arboretum)

The popular Human+Nature exhibit was extended through March of 2023.

Artist Daniel Popper created the 15 to 26-foot tall sculptures, which are located around the 1,700 acres of the grounds. The easiest one to spot can be seen from the Visitor's Center on the East Side.

Play among the trees in the Children's Garden
A frozen pond in the Children's Garden(Photo by author)

The Children's Garden is open year-round, although it does close during severe weather. Even though the popular water features are turned off for winter, there are still many sights to see and things to explore in the garden.

Warm-up in the Visitor's Center

When you need a warm-up, you can go inside the Visitor's Center which is open daily from 9 AM to 4 PM. Inside, have a hot chocolate at the Gingko Cafe, or sit down to a full meal in the restaurant. If you love to shop, check out the store with unique, nature-inspired items for children and adults.

Winter is no reason to be stuck inside even when you live in Chicago.

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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area. New articles published each weekday.

Chicago, IL

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