Every year my parents have one request for their birthdays, that I give them a membership to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Not only do they love going to the Dallas Arboretum, but so do I. The gardens opened to the public in 1984 on the site of two former private residences overlooking White Rock Lake in Dallas. Both residences were built in the late 1930s with substantive grounds surrounding them. Both houses have unobstructed views of the lake. There is also an amazing view of Downtown Dallas right after the entrance to the left, just beyond the café. Many of the historic homes in Dallas are found in this neighborhood.
Throughout the year, the Dallas Arboretum puts on events. Starting in February, you have Dallas Blooms, which is when all the tulips start to come out. Then in March starts the Cool Thursdays concert series that continues through October. This year, the last concert is a Michael Jackson tribute featuring songs from his 80s hits, so you know there will be a great Thriller video reenactment! My favorite things start September when they have Pumpkin Patch. Here are a few of my pictures from a visit a few years ago. You have never seen so many pumpkins in one place.
Then in November, the gardens come alive with the 12 Days of Christmas. There are life-sized scenes of each day spread throughout the gardens. Most of them move and are set to music. They are probably best seen in the evening when they light up, and there are lights in the trees as well.
This year they had 500 nativity scenes inside the DeGolyer House! Everywhere you looked there were nativity scenes. In the library alone, there were 250 from one man’s collection. I am not sure if this is a new tradition or a one-time thing, but it is worth checking to see if it will be on this year. Some were large, and some were tiny. There was even one made out of car parts. There was also a Christmas tree in every room decorated in the colors of the rooms.
In addition to all their regular events, you occasionally get unique events happening. In 2012, there was a Chihuly Glass exhibition in the gardens. Most of these were so large; they were better shown in a garden than in a gallery or museum. There is also some impressive sculpture in the gardens permanently. So if you are planning a visit to Dallas, make sure you check out the Dallas Arboretum’s website to see what is happening. There will be something every week, if not every day!
Guide to Visiting: The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is open every day from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission is (Updated November 2016) is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors (65+), $10 kids (3-12), 2 and under are free. Parking is $15 unless you pay online and then it is $8. The Children’s Adventure Garden is an additional $3. Be prepared to walk as the gardens span 66 acres and it has some hills. Wheelchairs are available on a first come, first-serve basis. Here is a link to a map of the gardens and driving directions.