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Morton Arboretum’s Enchanted Railroad opens Friday

This year's Enchanted Railroad MortArboretum Lisle opens Friday Nov. 23
through Sunday Jan. 6.  |  Submitted

This year's Enchanted Railroad at Morton Arboretum in Lisle opens Friday, Nov. 23, through to Sunday, Jan. 6. | Submitted

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December calendar

Ring in the holidays with the Morton Arboretum this December with one of these events.

Gnome Hunt

When the animals begin to hibernate, garden gnomes come out to play a game of hide-and-seek. Check out the sign at the Children’s Garden entrance for details on how to play along. The gnomes will be out to play daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through February. Free with admission.

Breakfast with Santa

Tickets are on sale for a special holiday breakfast in the Ginkgo Restaurant, complete with a visit from Santa! All children 12 years or younger will receive a gift from Santa. From 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 21, 22 or 23. Purchase tickets at www.mortonarb.org, in the visitor center, or by calling 630-725-2066 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. Ticket prices are $23 member adults, $29 nonmember adults, $21 member child (2-12), or $25 nonmember child (2-12). Prices do not include state sales tax or an 18 percent service fee.

Santa supper and holiday shopping

Enjoy supper with Santa at the Morton Arboretum and then do holiday nature crafts and visit the trains display. Supper with Santa is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.Thursday, Dec. 20, in the Ginkgo Restaurant. The arboretum store will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. Each purchase qualifies for an entry to win a gift basket of Frasier Fir home fragrance items. The Enchanted Railroad will extend its hours until 5:30 p.m. Purchase tickets at www.mortonarb.org, in the visitor center, or by calling 630-725-2066 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Ticket prices are $26 member adults, $32 nonmember adults, $22 member child (2-12), or $26 nonmember child (2-12). Prices do not include state sales tax or an 18 percent service fee. Free entry to the arboretum after 4 p.m. for those wishing only to shop.

Updated: December 24, 2012 6:49AM



If trains were part of your childhood Christmas tradition, then the Morton Arboretym in Lisle has just the thing for you. Today the outdoor tree museum will kick off the season with the opening of its Enchanted Railroad, which continues through Jan. 6.

“Many children stay at the exhibit for more than an hour, watching the trains and running back and forth from one side of the exhibit to the other,”says Diana Fischer-Woods, special events coordinator at the arboretum. “I think the particular appeal of our exhibit is that they can get so close to the display.”

This year, attendees will be closer than ever to the action, according to Jim Rusch, vice president of the LGB Model Railroad Club of Chicago, which oversees the setup and running of the trains. “We wanted to make the exhibit more visible, so we have lowered the platform and removed the stairs. The trains will be easily seen from two feet off the ground.”

There will be two levels of trains and, new this year, one of the trains will travel from the lower track to the upper track. The traffic flow of attendees is also being reworked to increase the viewing area.

Back again this year is the real water pond and the enchantment tree, complete with globe.

The LGB Model Railroad Club contributes 1,000 volunteer hours to running the display. While the tracks, power supplies and much of the set belong to the club, the trains are personally owned by club members and will rotate throughout the 44 days of the exhibit.

The club set up its first layout at the arboretum in 2001.

“In 2006, the first year that attendance records were kept, we had 13,000 visitors. Attendance has grown to over 20,000 in 2011, and we expect large crowds again this year,” club member Kevin Kell says.

Free timed tickets are available in visitor center on a first come, first served basis.

Admission

Unless otherwise specified, all arboretum events and destinations, including the Children’s Garden are free with arboretum admission as is parking. This year’s rates for non-members are: $12/adult, ($8 on Wednesday), ages 18-64; $11/senior, ($7 on Wednesday), ages 65 and older; $9/child ($6 on Wednesday), ages 2-17; free for ages 2 and younger.

The arboretum is open daily 7 a.m. until sunset. Visit www.mortonarb.org or 630-968-0074.

December calendar of events

Ring in the holidays with the Morton Arboretum this December by making natural ornaments, sharing a meal with Santa, hearing from the Solstice King and Queen, and hunting for Yule Logs.

FOR KIDS

Cool Kids Winter Play

This 15-minute guided glimpse into the world of outdoor play will depend on the day. Possibilities include snowman and snow fort building with natural materials or garden scavenger hunt for natural objects. 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, December through February in the Children’s Garden. Weather permitting. Free with admission.

Gnome Hunt

When the animals begin to hibernate, garden gnomes come out to play a game of hide-and-seek. Check out the sign at the Children’s Garden entrance for details on how to play along. The gnomes will be out to play daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through February. Free with admission.

Tree House Tales Exhibition

Every tree has a story that’s waiting to be told! Enter the tree house village filled with adventure and imagination. Play, make believe, and become part of the trees’ ever-changing tale. This exhibition, aimed at children ages 2 to 10 years old, is comprised of six fun-filled, educational tree houses. This exhibit is in the South China collection along Loop 1, about a four-block walk from the visitor center. Free with admission.

Arbor Reading Adventures

Hear stories, create a craft, and take an adventure walk on the grounds starting at the Sterling Morton Library for this popular interactive story time. This event is designed for children ages 3 to 5 with an adult from 11-11:45 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, through March. Register at www.mortonarb.org, at the visitor center, or by calling 630-719-2468 during business hours. Cost is $4 member or $5 non-member per session, per child.

Winter Science Camps

Why is winter cool? Kids in kindergarten through sixth grade can find out during our Winter Science Camps. Sign up your child for three days of exploration from 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 2 to 4. Enrollment is under way at www.mortonarb.org/education. Cost is $105 member or $130 nonmember per child.

Here are details on Winter Science Camps for different age groups:

Frosty Frolics — for children in kindergarten: How do winter birds and animals live and play through the long season? Track animal footprints in the snow and search for signs of animal life. Inside, make tracks, create frost and enjoy frosty treats.

Arctic Art Adventures — for children in first and second grades. Paint with ice and spray bottles, create an igloo, and discover the amazing science behind crystals and snowflakes.

Chillin’ Out with Nature — for children in first and second grades. Explore the arboretum and learn the secrets of winter animals. Play games, trek through the snow and create wintery crafts.

Science of Why — for children in third and fourth grades. Become a junior snow scientist! Learn how crystals form, where plants go during winter, and why trees “sleep.”

Wintery Watercolors and More — for children in third and fourth grades. Winter is its own unique medium. Our artists will freeze artwork, make snow paintings and use icicles as paint brushes.

Winter Nature Photography — for children in fifth and sixth grades. Learn the basics of nature photography as you explore the arboretum in winter. Activities will take place both indoors and outdoors.

FOR FAMILIES

Breakfast with Santa

Tickets are on sale for a special holiday breakfast in the Ginkgo Restaurant, complete with a visit from Santa! All children 12 years or younger will receive a gift from Santa. From 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 21, 22 or 23. Purchase tickets at www.mortonarb.org, in the visitor center, or by calling 630-725-2066 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. Ticket prices are $23 member adults, $29 nonmember adults, $21 member child (2-12), or $25 nonmember child (2-12). Prices do not include state sales tax or an 18 percent service fee.

Santa supper and holiday shopping

Enjoy supper with Santa at the Morton Arboretum and then do holiday nature crafts and visit the trains display. Supper with Santa is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.Thursday, Dec. 20, in the Ginkgo Restaurant. The arboretum store will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. Each purchase qualifies for an entry to win a gift basket of Frasier Fir home fragrance items. The Enchanted Railroad will extend its hours until 5:30 p.m. Purchase tickets at www.mortonarb.org, in the visitor center, or by calling 630-725-2066 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Ticket prices are $26 member adults, $32 nonmember adults, $22 member child (2-12), or $26 nonmember child (2-12). Prices do not include state sales tax or an 18 percent service fee. Free entry to the arboretum after 4 p.m. for those wishing only to shop.

Wonderful Winter Containers

Want to add exciting containers to your deck, yard, or home? Creating beautiful containers is easy, when you have the right tips! You will be introduced to good plants for containers, with demonstrations on the principles of container design and correct potting strategies. Bring your own 10-12 inch container and create a complete container to take home in this hands-on workshop. This class will be from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 1. Class size is limited. Register at education.mortonarb.org. Cost: $35 member, $42 non-member

Make Your Own Nature Ornaments

Deck the halls with your own nature ornaments this holiday season. Families with children ages 2 to 10 are invited to join in as we use natural materials to create magical treasures to take home from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 2 and 9 at the Outpost. Register at www.mortonarb.org, at the visitor center, or by calling 630-719-2468 during business hours. Cost: $10 member, $17 non-member.

Winter Solstice Walk

On the first night of winter, one of the longest nights of the year, we celebrate the winter solstice from 6 to 7 p.m. Dec. 21. Join the Solstice King and Queen on their grand procession around Meadow Lake complete with story-telling. You can also join in a ceremony to bring back the sun. Meet in Arbor Court. Free with admission.

Hunt for the Yule Log

Take part in the 35th annual Hunt for the Yule Log from 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 30. You will receive a list of clues leading you to various parts of the arboretum to find the Yule Log. Once found, join in a log-sawing celebration, bonfire, caroling by the Frozen Robins singers, and wassail. Meet in the visitor center. Free with admission.

Yule Twig Hunt

Your little ones are invited to take part in the pint-sized “Yule Twig Hunt” from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 30 in the Children’s Garden. This event sends our smaller adventurers to find a Yule Log that is just their size. This drop-in, self-guided activity provides holiday memories for parents and kids. Free with admission.

FOR ADULTS

Chamber Concert: Trevor Stephenson and Anna Steinhoff

Ring in the holidays with the of Trevor Stephenson, fortepiano, and Anna Steinhoff, cello, from 2:15 to 4:15 p.m. Dec. 2. Trevor Stephenson, artistic director of the Madison Bach Musicians, along with Anna Steinhoff will perform music by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert. After the concert, gather with other music enthusiasts to sample wines and “meet and greet” the artists in the historic Founder’s Room. Performances are in the Arbor Room in the Thornhill Education Center. Purchase tickets at www.mortonarb.org, in the Visitor Center, or by calling 630-725-2066 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. Cost: $23 members, $28 nonmembers. There is an additional $5 processing fee per order for phone and internet orders. Admission is included with the price of your ticket.

Beer & Baubles

The traditional holiday Beer & Baubles shopping event just got better! Join us from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 6. Enjoy shopping, live music, a tasty beer from Two Brothers Brewery (for adults 21+), and appetizers while supporting the Arboretum. A cash bar and tapas menu will be available. Discover sparkling treasures at the Patricia Locke jewelry trunk show and take advantage of free gift wrapping on all jewelry purchases. All purchases are eligible to enter a raffle for a Frasier Fir gift basket, valued at $75. Free admission is available after 4 p.m. for holiday shoppers through Dec. 23.

Holiday Shopping & Spirits

Get in the spirit with live holiday music, food, drinks, shopping, and more. Join us from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 as we taste a collection of holiday spirits. Aperitifs include samples of traditional holiday drinks; historic and vintage holiday cocktails; fresh, light, and lower calorie holiday concoctions; and, new, cutting edge holiday mixes. In addition, a cash bar and food will be available. Plus, shop The Arboretum Store’s unique holiday décor and gifts. Each purchase made between 5 and 8 p.m. qualifies for an entry to win a gift basket of Frasier Fir home fragrance items — the perfect way to create traditional holiday scents in your home. Purchase your tickets at www.mortonarb.org, in the Visitor Center, or by calling 630-725-2066 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. Cost: Advance tickets are $20 member or $25 nonmember. Tickets at the door are $25 member $30 nonmember.



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