By Doug George
The Morton Arboretum in Lisle counted its 1 millionth visitor on Monday, a new attendance record for the park in a single year. The visitors, the Donoghue family of Oak Park, were welcomed by staff in a celebration.
One million total visitors to date in 2015 tops the arboretum's previous attendance record of 934,000, set in 2014.
"We are thrilled to welcome the one million visitors this year who came to the Arboretum to enjoy the outdoors, explore the plant collections, learn about nature and the environment, or take a deeper interest in science and conservation,” President Gerard Donnelly said in an announcement Monday.
The park also reports that membership increased in 2015, to 42,890 member households. It attributes its milestones in part to two major seasonal exhibitions: the summer’s "Nature Connects: Art With Lego Bricks" by Sean Kenney, and this holiday season's "Illumination," running through Jan. 2. The 1,700-acre outdoor museum reports it is the 14th most-visited tourist destination in the Chicago area.
The Morton Arboretum was established in 1922 by Joy Morton, founder of Morton Salt Co. His father, J. Sterling Morton, was secretary of agriculture to President Grover Cleveland and the founder of Arbor Day.