Christmas is a festive season throughout the Chicago, Illinois, with bright holiday lights and decorations throughout the city and surrounding suburbs. In the far southeast suburbs of Naperville and Lisle are two holiday attractions that offer the spirit of Christmas minus the commercialism that often goes with it. Morton Arboretum in Lisle and Naper Settlement feature holiday attractions that are scenic, historic, educational and family friendly.
The Morton Arboretum in Lisle Illinois
Morton Arboretum is a 1,700 acre outdoor museum featuring collections of 4,057 kinds of shrubs, trees and plants from around the world. The mission of the arboretum is to plant and conserve trees and plants for a healthier, greener and more beautiful world.
The Morton Arboretum starts their holiday celebration on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Holiday Celebration starts on November 28 and runs through January 4. Visitors delight ot the sight of a multi level garden railroad, which winds through representations of the Arboretum woodlands, wetlands and prairies. Christmas trees are professionally decorated. Santa Claus will be on site on selected days to visit with children and for pictures with Santa.
Holiday Railroad is a garden railroad that travels through an indoor winter wonderland. The model train winds through live plants, such as boxwoods, junipers, cypress, barberry, winterberry, thyme, iris, holly, spruce tops and grass. The festive train display is designed to spread holiday cheer. The train runs daily in the Visitor Center Event Room during the Christmas season.
Evergreen Express is a holiday trolley ride that operates on weekends.
Dine with Santa is held on specific days. The popular event may sell out, so make reservations for breakfast or dinner with Santa Claus at the Gingko Restaurant on selected dates. $20-$30.
Annual Hunt for the Yule Log, Sunday, January 4. Clues lead to a Yule Log hidden on the grounds. The afternoon event includes a log sawing celebration, bonfire, caroling and hot cocoa at the visitor center.
Husky Heroes January 24-25. On Saturday and Sunday there will be demonstrations of Siberian Huskies pulling and skijoring from 11 am to 4 pm. The afternoon event includes the chance to foster or adopt a Husky. A free film about the Husky’s role in Alaskan history, The Last Great Race, will be shown.
Admission is $6-$9 at the Gatehouse. They are offering free admission from 4-5 pm daily so you can find the perfect gift at the Arboretum Store.
Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL 1-630-961-0074.
Naper Settlement in Naperville Illinois
Naper Settlement is a 19th century historic museum village with costumed interpreters offering tours and insights into the lifestyles of the pioneer settlers. During the holiday season, the historic village offers Christmas theme weekend events, including Santa’s Secret workshop, Breakfast with Mr. Claus and a tour of Martin Mitchell Mansion for Victorian Holiday Traditions
See the Naper Settlement website or call the museum for details about program fees, admission fees and hours.
Naper Settlement, 523 South Webster Street, Naperville, IL 60540. 1-630-420-6010
Information is subject to change.