Go see light art at Morton Arboretum
Daily Journal staff report

It's all bright lights and festive fun in Lisle at The Morton Arboretum. "Illumination: Tree Lights" features a wintertime walk through the woods surrounded by a kaleidoscope of vivid, colored lights and surprising and delightful interactive effects.

Gorgeous colors, flashing designs, all in time to classic wintertime music — the 1-mile walk through 50 acres of woods is pure art and family fun, and makes for a great holiday tradition.

This is the event's fourth year at the Arboretum. Established by Joy Morton in 1922, this "outdoor museum of trees" inspires visitors and champions the world's trees through scientific study, conservation and outreach. The collection consists of 1,700 acres of walking pathways and more than 222,000 plants from 40 countries. It's worth a visit at any time of the year.

Starting in November and lasting through Jan. 2, the Arboretum's majestic trees will undergo a transformation as bare branches shine in hypnotic shades of blue, purple, green and hot pink. As visitors traverse the 1-mile path, they will encounter a series of "experiences" woven throughout their journey. Finish the trip warming up at one of the crackling fire pits or with a gourmet hot chocolate, one of several refreshments available to walking visitors.

The exhibit encourages visitors to see trees in a different light, according to the Arboretum. The event is built in partnership with experiential lighting designers Lightswitch and features energy-efficient, eco-friendly LED lighting.

"Illumination transports visitors into a whimsical world filled with color and light, while also highlighting the value and beauty that trees bring to our world, regardless of the season," said Sue Wagner, vice president of education and information at The Morton Arboretum.

More than 350,000 visitors have visited since the event began four years ago.

New this year are projections of abstract designs across the Arboretum's hemlock trees, creating a captivating experience that highlight the conifers' elegance. In Illumination's new dramatic grand finale, slender white rods installed between the Arboretum's hedges will provide magical and reflective layers for pencil-thin pillars of light.

Returning favorites include Meadow Lake Magic, with tendrils of light skipping and rippling across the surface of the Arboretum's Meadow Lake. The several hundred LED fixtures floating in the water can be seen through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Arboretum's Ginkgo Restaurant, as well as outdoors.

Other popular returning attractions include Tinsel Harmony, where lit tinsel responds to visitors' singing, and Ornament Hill, a breathtaking vista of hundreds of giant glowing orbs nestled in the grass.

Love music? Don't miss Symphony Woods, which features lights dancing to "The Nutcracker" as recorded by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the 24 luminous chandeliers that shine between the trees in Crystal Promenade.