Going outside to play anywhere is a desirable pastime for all kids – but, if you’d like to really enjoy the family outdoor experience, you should visit the Morton Arboretum.

Based in Lisle, the Arboretum is a beautiful and expansive space that will have you looking at trees in a new way. This summer, the exhibit “Origami in the Garden” lets you meander through paths lined with large-scale metal sculptures designed to evoke the Japanese art of paper folding.

The sculptures were created by Kevin and Jennifer Box from Santa Fe, using a process of lost wax casting and fabrication to create museum-quality metal pieces that imitate the delicate details of folded paper. There are 25 displays with 40 total sculptures, and you’ll see the first ones as soon as you pull into the parking lot. Each was created through a 35-step casting process, forged by hand and perfected through years of experimentation.

Origami has a strong connection to nature. Many of the forms evoke natural ideas and creatures, along with the peace and happiness and other emotions that being in nature inspires. The sculptures here include origami cranes, horses, squirrels, bison, symbols, and stars. They really seem to fit the environment, and make a nice walk through the arboretum even better.

The origami sculptures are of course appropriate to all ages, but kids might get bored eventually just looking at things, as cool as they may be. Which is why the Children’s Garden is such a great place, and there are still tadpoles to be caught there!

Look for events throughout the year! This weekend, the Craft Beer Festival takes place, 6/24 from 1-5 p.m. More than 40 breweries will participate in the fourth annual event. General admission is $40; VIP tickets and designated driver tickets are available.

Admission to the Arboretum costs $14 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $9 for kids under 18. It is open every day, and grounds open at 7 a.m. and close at sunset. The Visitor’s Center, however, is open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. in the summer, and is closed on Christmas and Thanksgiving. The “Origami” exhibit remains on-site through 10/22.

For more information on Morton Arboretum, visit www.mortonarb.org.

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