Disclosure: I was provided complimentary tickets in exchange of my opinions. I was not required to express a particular point of view and all opinions are my own.

Ready to take the holiday lights experience to a whole new level? From November 22, 2013 to January 4, 2014, Illumination offers a wintertime experience far beyond traditional twinkling lights, engaging the senses with dazzling projections, trees that respond to touch and sound, and vivid, electric colors throughout.

Combining cutting-edge light technology with the wooded landscape of the Arboretum, Illumination is not your typical holiday light show. The first event of its kind in the Chicago area, Illumination takes visitors on a mile-long, paved walking trail winding around the Arboretum’s Meadow Lake and down its Conifer Walk, with surprising light experiences around every turn.

Built in partnership with top experiential lighting designers Lightswitch, Illumination at The Morton Arboretum features energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly LED lighting. This lighting provides beautiful, powerful color while consuming only half the power of traditional incandescent lights.

The experience:

  • Projection technology turns a majestic group of 50-foot tall evergreens into a giant screen for a series of moving images that trick the eyes.
  • Shadow Lanterns, gently moving in the wind, creating shimmering patterns of light and shadow on visitors and trees.
  • Tinsel Colonnade, where bright strands of colorful light glimmer brightly from the branches like tinsel on the trees.
  • Tree Harmony, black walnut trees bathed from all sides with vivid, saturated light that makes them appear to shift and move. On closer inspection, guests will discover the lights are responding to the sound of their voices and they’re invited to sing and call out to the trees to make them glow brighter.
  • Visitors are immersed in an incandescent glow as they gaze at a series of Crystal Chandeliers, a series of crystal chandeliers suspended within a grove of trees. From there, guests can turn to enjoy the grand vista of the iconic Four Columns sculptures, which appear to gently rotate.
  • Island of Light, a tree island on which visitors control the projection of color and brightness of lights via a Leap Motion controller.
  • Personalitrees, two different experiences that let visitors create their own light show on a tableau of towering evergreens. In one, guests can move their hands over a sensor to conduct a 30-foot-high display of falling snowflakes, flower petals or leaves projected onto a grove of evergreens. The other allows two guests of any age to look into motion-activated cameras and see their own image, in a 30 X 60 foot projection on the trees.
  • Hug A Tree invites visitors to a grove where they can hug three trees, but with a twist, as three groups of four trees will respond to touch. As the first huggable tree is activated by a hug, the three trees linked to it respond by turning deeper red. Meanwhile, the other groups of trees turn greener and bluer. This encourages play and discovery and encourages visitors to coordinate their hugs.
  • Walking back toward Arbor Court, pencil beams of light shift horizontally and vertically, penetrating the night sky and outlining the geometry of the Hedge Garden.

Nitty Gritty

Website: http://www.mortonarb.org/events/illumination-tree-lights-morton-arboretum
When: November 22 to January 4. Illumination opens every day at 4:30 p.m. with the last entry at 8:30 p.m.
Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle
Tickets: Member: $10 Adult/$5 Child (2-17), General Admission $15 Adult/ $10 Child (2-17), (a $5 transaction fee will apply to all phone orders.)
General Admission: Daytime Arboretum admission for the same day as your Illumination ticket is included with your ticket price.

Interested in seeing this interactive lights experience for yourselves? Enter below for a family four pack.

Win (4) FREE tickets for your family!

I’ve got four tickets for one lucky family for see see these new lights experience at the Morton Arboretum. I do check each and every entry. Contest ends Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. Winner will be notified by email.

(1) Lucky family will receive 4 tickets to the Morton Arbortetum.

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