Morton Arboretum reaches 1 million visitors for second year

 
By Kelley Regan
Morton Arboretum
Posted12/26/2016 8:00 AM
hello
  • The popularity of the Morton Arboretum's "Illumination" program has helped push attendance at the outdoor museum over the 1 million mark for the second year in a row.

    The popularity of the Morton Arboretum's "Illumination" program has helped push attendance at the outdoor museum over the 1 million mark for the second year in a row. Courtesy of The Morton Arboretum

For the second time in a row, the Morton Arboretum in Lisle has welcomed more than 1 million visitors in a single year.

Throughout its 94 years, the arboretum has seen a steady climb in visitors as well as significant growth for memberships, which now number 44,074. The arboretum is one of only seven public gardens in the United States to reach such milestones.

This season's "Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum" continues to have a huge impact on the 1,700-acre outdoor tree museum's visitation as has a full slate of special events throughout the year. Special events include the Fall Color Festival, classes and programs for all ages, and the four-acre Children's Garden, which gives families and children the opportunity to explore trees and nature together in fun and interactive ways.

"The Morton Arboretum is a leader and a welcome destination for visitors who join us to spend time among trees from more than 40 countries across the globe as well as learn about the natural world and the arboretum's critical tree-focused research and conservation efforts," said Gerard T. Donnelly, arboretum president and CEO. "We are grateful for our visitors and members and their support of our mission to plant and protect trees."

The arboretum surprised its 1 millionth visitor, Eldon Davis of Lombard, on Dec. 19 with gifts and lunch from the arboretum.

Since 2003, the arboretum's attendance has climbed steadily, following a site redevelopment in 2004 designed to expand public outreach, and the 2005 opening of the Children's Garden.

A robust roster of educational programming, services, and activities has brought new audiences into the arboretum and connected people to the importance of trees in our world.

Growth is anticipated to continue at the arboretum, supported by the $63 million Growing Brilliantly fundraising campaign currently under way to enhance programs and facilities in the future.

Morton Arboretum was established in 1922 by Joy Morton, founder of the Morton Salt Company. The inspiration for the arboretum had its origin in Morton's own family tree. His father, J. Sterling Morton, was secretary of agriculture to President Grover Cleveland and the founder of Arbor Day. Over the decades, the arboretum has continued to evolve, while staying true to the Morton family motto, "Plant Trees."