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Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

4 Ratings: 4.3
A 66-acre garden in Dallas, Texas.

The Dallas Arboretum is a 66-acre garden located in East Dallas. More than 450,000 guests visit the gardens each year. It has been named to MSN's list of Top Ten Places to Visit in the United States.      The arboretum is a series … see full wiki

1 review about Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

So much more than plants and flowers, it's the Dallas Arboretum.

  • Aug 13, 2009
  • by
At the last minute, my husband managed to take this week off as vacation. Since there wasn't time to organize a trip, we opted for a Dallas area "staycation", where we would do vacation type activities right here in the Dallas area.

I was nonplussed to find that David's staycation plan included a visit to the Dallas Arboretum. It's August, it's hot, and who wants to see a bunch of plants (and bees), anyway? I mean, we visited just eight years ago, right? But David really wanted to go, so on Monday, we packed up a picnic lunch and off we went.

The Dallas Arboretum is in East Dallas, overlooking White Rock Lake and the Dallas downtown skyline. It is an oasis in the sprawl of the nation's 11th largest city. The arboretum's 66 acres include many different gardens, expansive lawns, several historic buildings, a gift shop, two restaurants, picnic grounds, and even a concert stage and lawn.

The arboretum has a special promotion for the month of August 2009, where admission is only $1 per person, instead of the $6 - $9.50 normal admission. The parking is $5 per vehicle, so instead of $24 for the two of us, it was only $7.

Upon entering the arboretum, I was glad and grateful that David had come up with the plan. Immediately past the ticket window, there is a beautiful patio of brick and native stone. This is the location of the Trammell Crow Visitor Education Pavilion where a short informative film is shown, although we didn't notice the film until we were leaving. Also, this is the place to get a map of the gardens, or ask a question of the very friendly volunteers at the information booth.

In this area is the gift shop, the Lula Mae Slaughter Dining Terrace, and restrooms. The gift shop has some really cute items, mostly stuff you definitely don't need, but stuff you'd like to own. Needless to say, there are lots of great gifts for the garden lover. The Lula Mae Slaughter Dining Terrace has a great breakfast and lunch menu that seriously made me regret packing a picnic lunch. Oh well, next time!

The paths through the gardens were mostly paved, with mulched paths through some treed areas. It would be very easy to see the entire arboretum on the paved path, which is important for strollers or wheelchairs.

The plants and trees are so beautifully arranged. The arboretum is a mix of science and art, with an emphasis on art. Another person might look at the same thing and say the emphasis is on science. I just enjoyed the beauty of it all. The flower that stood out the most, to me, was the Globe Amaranth, which was seen in mass quantities throughout the grounds.

Regarding the dreaded bees... about 15 minutes after arriving, I was bravely taking photos of said bees. And butterflies. And squirrels. I don't have the best camera and I don't have photography skills, but it is hard to take a bad picture in such a gorgeous place.

The grounds were beautiful, and the dreaded crowds were non-existent. There were families, and a few large childrens groups, some moms and kids, but there was plenty of space to enjoy the gardens without being run over by other guests. The picnic grounds had more squirrels than human guests, and I can imagine myself reading a book on one of the benches, or under the shade trees of the picnic grounds, following a few laps on the fitness trail.

Before we visited the arboretum this week, I was thinking that it was going to be a day of looking at plants. But now I see the arboretum more as a place to hang out and do other things amidst a beautiful backdrop. Instead of walking our subdivision, we can go to the arboretum and walk the fitness trail. Or it is a good place to read a book or talk with a friend or take a visitor from out of town.

So beyond the plants and flowers, what does the Dallas Arboretum have to offer? I was really surprised to find free tram rides and tours given by enthusiastic volunteers with a passion for the place. Through our guide, we learned of:
  • "Cool Thursdays", a series of very popular evening concerts on the lawn, where picnics and adult beverages (wine) are welcome and encouraged. Cool Thursday music includes 80s bands, tribute bands, and different themes.
  • The One-Mile Fitness Trail which winds through the gardens.
  • "Autumn at the Arboretum": pumpkins, chrysanthemums, and marigolds, a hay bale maze
  • "Southern Artisan's Market", an arts and crafts fair event
  • "Holiday at the Arboretum", the art of the Nativity
  • Tour des Fleurs 10k race
  • Informally, the arboretum is a popular place to take special occasion and family photos.
We enjoyed our visit so much that we purchased a family membership before leaving. And we'll be using that membership before the end of the week at my request, even though I didn't want to go to the arboretum in the first place.

I am looking forward to early morning walks on the fitness trail, followed by a picnic breakfast. I am really looking forward to Cool Thursdays, with picnic dinners and a bottle of wine. We will also use the reciprocal arboretum priveleges throughout the world, if we manage to travel the world in the next year or so. Our membership level lets us bring four friends with us, so we can make a social event of our trips to the arboretum.

If you have a free day, rediscover the Dallas Arboretum. You won't regret it!

Butterfly at the Dallas Arboretum David in a hut Overheated squirrel at arboretum

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August 18, 2009
Wow, you got in for a deal.  Those pictures are gorgeous!  I'll definitely have to check this out when I got to Dallas.  Thanks for sharing :)

By the way, if you're ever looking for gorgeous gardens around the world, @MarySoderstrom has actually written a few reviews on gardens like Giverny in France and Clusius in Holland!
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4 Ratings: +4.3
You have exceeded the maximum length.
Globe Amaranth abound at the Dallas Arboretum
Type: Attractio
Location: 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, TX 75
Date(s): Daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.
Organization: Dallas Arboretum
Venue: Dallas Arboretum
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