Wednesday, September 25, 2013

PHOTO RECAP: The Morton Arboretum Blogger Brunch & “People’s Choice” Scarecrow Voting Begins #FallFun #EcoFriendly

Here at ChiIL Mama we're all about nature, camping and green living and I've made a point to raise kids who adore the outdoors.  We need to go where the trees are taller than the buildings to recharge.  Yet, that said, I'm afraid I'm guilty of urban dweller syndrome.   That's the problem where we forget to frequent awesome suburban resources, because they seem sooooo far away... but really they're not more drive time than getting across town.   

We'd been to Morton Arboretum several times during the past decade, as my kids have grown.   Yet somehow I forgot how much fun we had there.   And it's not so far from Chicago.  Thank YOU Morton Arboretum, for reminding me just how awesome you are.

It was our pleasure to spend yesterday with a small group of bloggers at the internationally renowned Morton Arboretum for brunch and a tram tour, on a gorgeous fall day.   We'll be covering a LOT more of their fam friendly fare and holiday fun going forward.   True, heading out there for 9am brunch in the heart of rush hour sucked, and took over an hour from the NW side of the city (Logan Square/Avondale), but coming back at 1pm was a 35 minute breeze.   It can seriously take me that long to go 5 miles in cross town traffic!   And the payoffs for the trek out to Lisle are beyond worth it!   I felt so relaxed and recharged after spending a morning in the woods.

Get away from the city crowds.   Mom and More's daughter was digging the space to run and galumph, with just a shadow for company!

It was a joy to catch up with lots of our blogger friends including Christine of Green Parent Chicago, where I also write guest posts.   Check out my Green Lollapalooza post here.   I also enjoyed some sweet photo ops, shooting the little lovelies from Houseful of Nicholes, Mom and More and French Foodie Mom.   

Ladybug from Houseful of Nicholes was enjoying her beeswax crayon set & butterfly coloring book at brunch.   It was her actual 5th birthday and she was pure joy in action all morning!

This little cutie from Mom and More devoured her fruit plate so she'd have energy for exploring the woods.

Chef Druck (French Foodie Mom) and her daughter, getting out of the kitchen and into the arboretum!

Ladybug styling with Black Walnut in hand and shape/color bracelet on the wrist.   Morton Arboretum tram rides give little kids the bracelets so they can play at finding things to match the colors and/or shapes along the ride!

Midwestern Fall 

I'm completely enthralled with the STRENGTH BENCH and hope I can find it again!   I want to do a photo shoot here with my 10 year old daughter, Supersonic Sage, the gymnast.   She's all about being mighty and strong.   Yet it's sometimes the quiet strength of yoga versus the intensity of conditioning that gives her the inner strength to be an excellent athlete and to be better than her temper and tween moodiness.  

She knows what it feels like to come home with trophies and a wall full of blue ribbons, and win first in state.   And she knows what it feels like to break an ankle and to fall off the beam at state last year, the one time it counted, after doing it flawlessly a zillion times.   She knows how it feels to try a hundred frustrating times and not nail a new skill.    It takes more true strength to fail gracefully!   Being among trees can teach patience and calm stillness, and there's something incredibly strong about this amazing space.

Spruce Plot:

This was one one of my favorite places for sure!

The Children's Garden is a delightfully magical place:

The Morton Arboretum is a hands on... shoes off kind of space to explore with all your senses.

Fall is one of the most gorgeous times at Morton Arboretum.   They have a multicultural woodland of trees literally from around the world, so they have a one of a kind explosion of color that can't be seen anywhere else in the region! The grounds were still lush, green and still blooming with a riot of fall flowers as of yesterday, but with the crisp, cool weather and shorter sunlit hours it's only a matter of time till the vibrant reds, yellows and oranges are everywhere.

We learned so much on the tour that I didn't know, and we'll be doing more arboretum features soon and ticket giveaways for our readers, too. 

Morton Arboretum is ideal for all ages and fitness levels.   The tram is a great way for the very young, old or differently ables to cover a lot of ground.   For fitness buffs and the active, there are loads of hiking and biking trails.   There's even an on site bike rental with traditional, tandem, and tow behind options!   Once there's at least 3" of snow, you can rent cross country skiis or snow shoes and explore.

For now, come check out the scout-crows, done by local boy and girl scout troops.

We are seeing the first signs of fall here at The Morton Arboretum as the leaves being to change - and as the scarecrows go up around Meadow Lake! We have a whopping 45 scarecrow entries this year, submitted by our area Boy and Girl Scouts - plus one scarecrow by the Arboretum's own Nature Artists Guild. 


Local Girl and Boy Scout Troops to showcase 45 unique scarecrows at The Morton Arboretum

The Scarecrow Trail returns to the Morton Arboretum this year, featuring 45 hay-men and-women decorated by local Girl and Boy Scouts.

For one month only, the Scarecrow Trail features a variety of scarecrows made by scouts from troops in Addison, Arlington Heights, Aurora, Batavia, Bolingbrook, Darien, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn, Lemont, Lisle, Lockport/Homer Glen, Lombard, Naperville, Oak Park, Orland Park, Oswego, Plainfield, Prospect Heights, Roselle, Schaumburg, Westmont, Wheaton and Woodridge.

This year’s scarecrows come with some imaginative names, including Earth’s Minions Unite!, Nature Fairy, Nature Bob Solar Pants, Flower Queen, Minecraft Cub Scout, Corn-e with a Mustache, Lady Ga-Garbage, Caught in a Web of Brownies and Nature Fairy.

Visitors are invited to vote for the “People’s Choice” Scarecrow. Ballots are available at the start of the trail and can be returned to the Visitor Center. The winning scarecrow will be announced in early November.

The Scarecrow Trail is part of the Arboretum’s Fall Color Festival. Throughout the month of October, visitors can enjoy juicy brats, build-your-own taffy apples and other mouth-watering bites available for purchase in Arbor Court. Plus, sample complimentary wine tastings. The festival will be open weekends in October and Columbus Day, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Fall Color Festival kicks off with the 10th annual Fall Color 5K Run & Walk and Kid’s Dash on Sunday, October 6. The Scarecrow Trail is free with admission to the Arboretum.

For fall color updates, visit or call the Bloom 'n Color Hotline at 630-719-7955.

About The Morton Arboretum
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized outdoor tree museum on 1,700 acres. Plant collections, scientific research and education programs support the mission to plant and conserve trees and other plants for a greener, healthier and more beautiful world. Designed with natural landscapes, the grounds include the award-winning, four-acre interactive Children’s Garden, the one-acre Maze Garden, plus specialty gardens, 16 miles of trails and nine miles of roads. Visitor experiences include the open-air tram ride, guided walks, Arbor Day celebrations, concerts, art shows, Fall Color Festival, and special exhibits. The Arboretum welcomes more than 800,000 visitors annually and serves more than 35,600 members. Located 25 miles west of Chicago in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open daily 7 a.m. until sunset. Learn more at

ChiIL Tips:
Rent a backpack for family friendly fun!

Admission Rate 

Nonmember admission rates to The Morton Arboretum are $12 for adults ages 18-64 ($8 on Wednesday), $11 for seniors ages 65 and over ($7 on Wednesday), $9 for children ages 2-17 ($6 on Wednesday) and free for children under age 2. Parking is free with admission.

From the Children's Garden, maze and trails to the spacious gift shop, your visit to Morton Arboretum is sure to be a memorable one!

ChiIL Out With ChiIL Mama at The Morton Arboretum.   Highly Recommended!

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