Visiting the tree museum

While the kids were in school, my husband and I took a day to wander around Morton Arboretum located in the western suburbs of Chicago.

As an aside:  When I hear the word “arboretum,” I always think about the lyrics from that Joni Mitchell song, “Big Yellow Taxi”:  “They took all the trees/Put ’em in a tree museum/And they charged the people/A dollar and a half just to see ’em.”  My husband S says he thinks of it as a tree zoo.  (It’s a “you say ‘toe-MAY-toe,’ I say ‘toe-MAH-toe'” distinction.)

Tree museum or tree zoo, it was beautiful.

It was glorious weather, but I think we may have missed the bright foliage.  Our ongoing drought has been particularly brutal this year.

There were funny, wonderfully creative scarecrows constructed by some of the local Scout troops:

“Katy Pear Tree.”  Hee hee!

This year, the arboretum has a fun treehouse walk for kids, and … you know… grown-ups who act like kids.  Ahem.  There was a clubhouse:

And a castle that you could climb up and slide down:

Oh yeah, I climbed up there. See the exit slide through the doorway? Kinda small for the, um, “mature” rear end.

And one shaped like a ship, complete with captain’s wheel, prow and two telescopes:

And everywhere… the trees.  Oh my.  Even though most weren’t dressed in their best fall colors, the trees were still magnificent.

This next one, with its super-low branches, cracked me up.  Doesn’t it look like a “trainer tree” meant to teach little kids how to climb up without giving their mothers heart-attacks?

This one, with bonus shot of S, grew an arch over the path.  It’s begging for a swing, I tell you.

For the perfect scary, creepy, Halloween tree, I’d recommend the Bunge Catalpa with its long finger-like pods.

What a lovely way to spend one of the last warm days of the year!  I especially liked taking the paths less traveled and finding their treasures.

How was your weekend?  Are you enjoying fall?

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About thethingaboutjoan

Mom of three who knits a little, bakes a lot, crafts a bit and blogs about it all.
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5 Responses to Visiting the tree museum

  1. amyp22 says:

    Looks like lots of fun. Think I’m going to put my big girl panties on and drive through Chicago to check it out.

    Glad you all got to enjoy the nice weather.

    • The good news is that Morton Arboretum is pretty easy to get to if you are coming around the southern side of Lake Michigan or from either the southern or western part of the state. Not that it’s a picnic, you understand, but at least you don’t have to drive through the city where the locals use their horns with abandon and laugh at the idea of “lanes.” (Side note: Good grief, I’ve become soft in my years in the suburbs!)

      That said, it is a lovely place to visit/wander. And after you’ve walked around, climbed about and gotten lost in the maze, there are some crazy good fish tacos in the Arboretum’s restaurant. Come on out!

  2. Susan Bahr says:

    Nice photos – love the rich colors. This looks like a place I would love. Maybe even my two teenage daughters might like… then again, maybe not.

    • I don’t know how the fall colors have been by you, but here, I feel they’ve been a little disappointing. It’s like the trees, stressed all year from the drought, felt the first cool breeze of fall and thought, “That’s it. We’re done.” Most went yellow quickly and then dropped their leaves practically overnight. There have been a few lovely ones — a maple gone red, an oak turned orange — but not quite the brilliant autumn I’m accustomed to.

      Isn’t it funny about what kids like and what they don’t? At least this place has a maze leading up to a central big tree with a giant wrap-around deck. And being able to walk off the beaten path appeals to one’s rebellious side — teenager or not.

      • Susan Bahr says:

        We had no where near the scale of drought here in VT, but it was pretty dry. The colors seemed to take a while to form then faded really fast. It looks a bit more like November out my window than October.
        As to my kids… they’d find the fun off the beaten path… so long as mom isn’t watching!

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