Morton Arboretum’s Innovative App Offers Numerous Features, Extraordinary Content

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Arboretum's first-ever app, developed by Breakthrough Technologies, LLC, features a GPS-coordinated map pinpointing popular sites, self-guided tours, instant Arboretum news updates, digital membership cards, and more.

The idea is to encourage visitors to experience the Arboretum’s favorite places – to see more, learn more, engage more, and, thanks to gamification technology, even be rewarded for doing so.

The Morton Arboretum’s recently unveiled first-ever app is proving to be a powerful, versatile tool for connecting visitors and members with the rich offerings of this 1,700-acre living museum.

The app, developed by Breakthrough Technologies, LLC of Evanston, Illinois, features a GPS-coordinated map that pinpoints the Arboretum’s most popular sites of interest; instant information on Arboretum events, exhibits, classes, and updates; self-guided tours offering different experiences; even a digital membership card for smartphones that replaces a printed pass.

“There’s so much to see and do throughout The Morton Arboretum’s 1,700 acres, and our new app has been a welcome tool to help visitors navigate our grounds, including the restored Schulenberg Prairie, our Daffodil Glade and our award-winning Children’s Garden,” said Mary Samerdyke, Manager of Interpretation at The Morton Arboretum. “At the touch of a button, Arboretum visitors now have access to themed tours and a GPS-enabled map so each visitor can design his or her own experience when they arrive.”

Key to the development of this app is technology that allows it to be updated through the Arboretum’s Drupal content management system, which also powers the Arboretum’s website. This innovation allows for easy enhancement of the news, maps, and tour information so they can be changed season by season.

“The idea is to encourage visitors to experience the Arboretum’s favorite places – to see more, learn more, engage more, and, thanks to gamification technology, even be rewarded for doing so,” said Kevin Leonard, Association & Non-Profit Engagement Manager at Breakthrough.

Highlighting various sites along the Arboretum’s 16 miles of hiking trails and its Children’s Garden, the new app offers different tour experiences, from fun, educational spots for families and kids to an excursion designed for birding enthusiasts. Gamification technology allows visitors to unlock achievements by completing tours. All the maps in the app are location aware, so users know their exact whereabouts within the Arboretum at any time.

Breakthrough’s innovative approach of using open-source Drupal as the content management system to drive a Drupal mobile app is a relatively new concept – one that gives the Arboretum enormous flexibility in the way that they evolve the app to meet and anticipate the needs of members and visitors.

“Because of the Arboretum app’s range of features and versatile content management, the tool is far-reaching in scope as well as aesthetically pleasing,” said Leonard.

The Morton Arboretum app works on Apple iOS-enabled devices with cellular connectivity, including iPhones. To download the free app, visit the App Store.

About Breakthrough Technologies, LLC:
Founded in 1998 by three Chicago-based senior software engineers, Breakthrough Technologies, LLC serves clients by creating innovative web, mobile and software solutions for complex problems. By collaborating with clients and partners, Breakthrough Technologies combines emerging technologies with innovative thinking to empower organizations, facilitate communication and create positive change on a global scale.

About The Morton Arboretum:
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized outdoor tree museum on 1,700 acres. Plant collections, scientific research and education programs support the mission to plant and conserve trees and other plants for a greener, healthier and more beautiful world. Designed with natural landscapes, the grounds include the award-winning, four-acre interactive Children’s Garden, the one-acre Maze Garden, plus specialty gardens, 16 miles of trails and nine miles of roads. Visitor experiences include the open-air tram ride, guided walks, Arbor Day celebrations, concerts, art shows, Fall Color Festival and special exhibits. The Arboretum welcomes 885,000 visitors annually and receives support from 38,600 member households. Located 25 miles west of Chicago in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open daily 7 a.m. until sunset. Learn more at


(Note to Editors: For broadcast outlets interested in a live shot at The Morton Arboretum and demonstration of the app, contact Dave Jaffe, dave(at)davejaffecomm(dot)com.)

Breakthrough Technologies, LLC • 1840 Oak Ave., Suite 400 • Evanston, IL 60201 USA
main 847.864.0033 • fax 847.864.5766

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