Last Updated on February 21, 2020 by Janet Frost
NEWS FLASH!! DuPage County reports an invasion of Trolls! A force of troll-hunters is being sought. All interested volunteers should report to the Morton Arboretum Troll Hunt immediately.
Trolls are creatures from a time gone by. Our Norse ancestors knew how tricky and elusive Trolls could be. The Brothers Grimm Tales are full of Troll sightings. The beautiful Morton Arboretum is a perfect setting for a modern day Troll Hunt.
Let’s Go! Learn Things at the Morton Arboretum
Disclosure: I was hosted by Discover DuPage and Drake Oak Brook Hotel for this visit. All opinions are my own.
The Morton Arboretum is located in Lisle, IL just 25 miles west of downtown Chicago. This spectacular green space was created by Joy Morton in 1922.
Joy Morton was a Chicago industrialist who founded the Morton Salt company in 1885. Morton was one of 4 sons of J. Sterling Morton of Nebraska City, NE. J. Sterling Morton was the founder of Arbor Day in 1872. He served as the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Grover Cleveland from 1893 to 1897.
Morton family motto: “Plant Trees”
Visiting Morton Arboretum
Today the 1,700 acres are literally a “tree museum”. There are 16 miles of trails and 9 miles of paved roads. The vast living collections inspire visitors to appreciate, learn about, plant, and protect trees. The Arboretum champions the world’s trees through plant collections, science and conservation, education, and outreach. The Morton Arboretum is open 365 days a year, 7AM to sunset with an admission fee of $15 for adults and $10 for children. Some of the permanent exhibits include a Children’s Garden with a load of hands-on learning opportunities, the Arboretum Store, Gingko Cafe and the Sterling Morton Library. The Sterling Morton Library encourages exploration of such subjects as urban forestry, natural history, botanical art, forestry & conservation, as well as landscape design.
Troll Hunt at the Morton Arboretum
These giants are part of the special exhibit, Troll Hunt. Danish artist,Thomas Dambo, created six colossal trolls crafted from reclaimed wood. Explore and marvel at these 15- to 30-foot-tall (and one 60-foot long) sculptures that represent protectors of our environment. Eager Troll-hunters can follow the detailed map with suspected locations. When I visited in May the park was preparing for an invasion of Trolls. The artist Thomas Dambo and his team were busy working on the Troll overlooking the Reagan Memorial Tollway.
Other Special Events at the Morton Arboretum
Walking or biking through the grounds are great ways to enjoy the Arboretum. The Arboretum also has a calendar full of special events. These events are educational, inspirational and entertaining.
The Walking Plays are another entertaining special event. Guests walk along with the action of literary tales performed live among the trees and beautiful landscapes. The plays are variations on the iconic Brothers Grimm Tales. These stories magnify the many woodland settings and connections to nature in their tales.
One of their Culinary events is the trendy Farm-to-Table Dinner. August 21, 2020 is the date for a night of delicious, farm-fresh food paired with local craft spirits.
Beyond the Trolls of Morton Arboretum
If you are not sure about the Troll Hunt, DuPage County is packed with other parks, forest preserves, historic settings and recreational trails. The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is a go-to resource for outdoor activities. In addition, below is a list of some of the park options throughout DuPage County.
- Cantigny Park and the First Division Museum in Wheaton
- Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville
- Naper Settlement in Naperville
- Waterfall Glen in Lemont
- Hawk Hollow in Bartlett
- Illinois Prairie Path 61 miles of multi-use trails across Cook, DuPage, and Kane Counties
Where to stay after hunting Trolls
In keeping with the Old World theme evoked by Trolls, the Drake Oak Brook Hotel exudes rich elegance. This iconic hotel has been known for its “old school” luxury for decades. A favorite venue for weddings and special events, it is also a beautiful space to relax and be pampered by their attentive staff. It was especially comforting after a hard day of troll hunting.
I was thrilled when I learned that I would be staying at the Drake Oak Brook Hotel. The name meant elegant extravagance when I was a child growing up in DuPage County. I was not disappointed.