Human+Nature at The Morton Arboretum

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We have all the details and a map so you can find your way to all five sculptures.

The Morton Arboretum’s next outdoor art exhibition, Human+Nature (pronounced: Human Nature) opens Friday, May 28, 2021!

Pronounced “human nature,” it is the first major U.S. exhibition by renowned South African artist Daniel Popper, and his largest to date anywhere in the world. The five 15- to 26-foot-tall sculptures created exclusively for the Arboretum will remain in their various locations across the 1,700-acre Arboretum for at least one year. Access to the exhibition is included free with timed-entry admission to the Arboretum. On the East Side, a short walk from the Visitor Center, you can step within a huge female figure, as if into the heart of nature.

photo compliments of Stacey Deakins, @relishthisjourney

Built to create a sense of awe and wonder, the nature-inspired sculptures reflect how trees are at the heart of the Arboretum’s mission, work, and vision for the future. Made of glass-reinforced concrete, wood, fiberglass and steel, each sculpture weighs several metric tons. The exhibition includes:

  • Hallow, a 26-foot tall figure that welcomes Arboretum guests along Meadow Lake near the Visitor Center. (East Side)
  • UMI, a 20.5-foot tall majestic maternal figure surrounded by magnolia trees. (East Side)
  • Sentient, an 18-foot tall figure featuring diverse human facial traits interwoven with root structures that borders the Japan Collection along the Loop 1 Trail. (East Side)
  • Heartwood, a 15.5-foot tall bisected face in the Europe Collection that evokes the interconnectedness of humans and trees. (West Side)
  • Basilica, 37-foot long open hands that reach out to guests from mature oak trees in Daffodil Glade. (West Side)
Heartwood, photo courtesy of The Morton Arboretum

“Each sculpture has a story behind it, but I like to leave the questions about each piece a little bit open, so people can come and bring their own ideas to it. I want people to come here and ask questions of themselves about their relationship with nature.” 

Daniel Popper

About the Artist, Daniel Popper

photo courtesy of The Morton Arboretum

Daniel Popper is a multidisciplinary artist known globally for his larger-than-life sculptures. From Cape Town, South Africa, he is most acclaimed for his massive and spectacular public art installations, including the memorial sculpture for the Nelson Mandela School of Science and Technology in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, and sculptures for popular events such as the Boom Festival in Portugal and Rainbow Serpent Festival in Australia. 

Admission Rates and Timed Entry

Human+Nature is included in general admission. All guests, including members, must reserve advance, date-specific, timed-entry admission online to ensure moderated attendance levels. The Arboretum is providing exclusive access to members for the hours 7 to 9 a.m. daily. Guest access is from 9 a.m. to the last entry time (currently 5 p.m.). For more information, visit the Know Before You Go visit information page.  

Admission rates to The Morton Arboretum are $15 for adults ages 18 to 64, $13 for seniors ages 65 and older, $10 for children ages 2 to 17 and free for children younger than age 2. On Wednesdays, admission is $10 for adults ages 18 to 64, $9 for seniors ages 65 and older, and $7 for children ages 2 to 17. Parking is free with admission. Members receive free general admission all year long.

All pricing and hours are as of May, 2021 and are subject to change. Click here for the current admission rates.

Map of Human+Nature: Sculpture Locations

Click on the map below for a larger version. Sculptures can be found at each of the circles labeled “H+N”.

Tadpoles at The Morton Arboretum

We always really enjoy the Children’s Garden and there is definite excitement around the pond starting in mid-May. The tadpoles usually hatch around Mother’s Day, so it’s good to go about two weeks later when they start moving around more.

morton arboretum tadpole sign

There were kids of all ages stepping on the stones across the pond, looking at the tadpoles curiously, scooping them up and releasing them and giggling.

morton arboretum children looking at tadpoles

It was cute because random kids were so eager to share with me what they found and where I could see the most tadpoles all in one place. I loved seeing the excitement and wonder in their eyes!

morton arboretum tadpole

My kids wondered when the tadpoles start growing legs… so I looked it up! Below is a great video that shows the different stages of frog development. Please note that the tadpoles at The Morton Arboretum are American Toads, but the videos on frogs show the life cycle much better!

It takes about 6-9 weeks for the legs to develop, so my guess is that will happen starting the third week of June? Anyway, it’s a great opportunity for your kids to be able to see part of their development. How fun to go now and then again when the legs start growing!

More Features of The Morton Arboretum

This section originally published on May 25, 2015 as its own article.

There is so much more at The Morton Arboretum to enjoy! My kids always gravitate towards the hedge maze (there is a short hedge maze for younger children and tall bushes for the older ones).

morton arboretum hedge maze

We made it to the lookout point and planned our exit route!

morton arboretum maze aerial view

The Children’s Garden is filled with beauty and enjoyment for every age group.

The water spilling over a movable stone ball towards the front of the Children’s Garden is simple, but so fun!

morton aboretum water globe

There is much to see, explore, touch and smell in the garden areas.

morton arboretum children's garden flower

It’s a great place for children of all ages. Not to mention for adults too- it’s so pleasant and easy to be there… walk around, take your time, and your kids will be so engrossed in their surroundings!

morton arboretum acorns

It took my kids a few times before conquering the tree houses and rope bridges, but they love it now!

morton arboretum rope bridge

Where to Eat

You can pack a lunch and eat it on the tables outside (there are tables both in the Children’s Garden and outside the main building) or you have the option to buy food at the Ginko Café and eat inside or out on the attached porch area. We have also grabbed sandwiches at the café right outside the restaurant and eaten them outside. In any case, there are tons of options to make it easy.

morton arboretum eating area

Past Exhibits at The Morton Arboretum

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