Located on the southeastern shore of beautiful White Rock Lake with a view of the dazzling downtown Dallas skyline is the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden (DABG). It’s quite a site (and sight!); there are 66 acres of grandeur spread across the Gardens. Easily one of the most beautiful arboretums in North America, its gardens are also perfect for family events like birthdays or picnics. In fact, the Arboretum and Gardens are commonly booked as it’s well-suited for weddings, banquets, small events and parties alike. According to its website, local residents have actually deemed the urban oasis to be the “crowning jewel” of Dallas! As one of the city’s top attractions, it also garners repeat visits from members, local visitors & out-of-town guests, who have all strongly praised it. There are beautiful vistas, 15 brightly colored display gardens, and endless groves of Pecan Trees, Magnolias, Crape Myrtles, Cherry Trees and Azaleas at DABG. With accolades coming in from CBS Radio Networks, the local Morning News, and multiple travel websites, it’s definitely a must-see Dallas attraction.
Social events at DABG are always packed, and DABG offers dozens of events throughout the year. The legendary concerts bring in some of the best local and national talent around, and happen on Tuesdays in the spring/summer (15 performances), Thursdays in the spring/summer (15 performances) and Thursdays in the fall (7 performances); or you can come to all 37 concerts in spring/summer and fall! There’s also a fine art show and sale that’s superbly popular in the South. The Dallas Arboretum is also an ideal venue for any meeting or team-building activity. With over 10,000 square feet of indoor event space, including beautiful historic mansions, unparalleled views of White Rock Lake, internationally recognized horticulture, and 66 acres of breathtaking gardens, the Dallas Arboretum is the perfect place to spark creativity, rejuvenate and entertain your guests.
There’s a heavy emphasis on education at DABG: classes for the family, for adults and for the kiddos range in age group, variety and coursework. The Arboretum’s adult education programs have been enlightening North Texans for well over decade. Classes are offered year-round and course topics include horticulture, landscape design, photography, art, floral design, and much more! There are three basic styles of classes: demonstration, lecture, and hands-on. Many classes combine two or more of these activities to maximize learning and enjoyment. Also, the Dallas Arboretum’s exciting and innovative approach to science education provides hands-on experiences and engaging activities that make learning fun for kids. Degreed and experienced teachers educate children in over 50 areas! Classes range from themes like self-guided, labs, outdoor labs, after school programs or are part of the Texas Pioneer Adventure.
So here’s the list you’ve been “reading for;” it’s the Top Ten Attractions at Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden for the half-million annual visitors to use as a guide of sorts. Sixty-six acres of peaceful woods and beautifully manicured lawns and flowers really do make for one great day trip, so be sure you don’t miss the following exhibits, gardens and more next time you’re in Dallas, or visiting the Arboretum.* After all, DABG is where you let nature nurture you!
1. DeGoyler Mansion
An exceptional showpiece for the Dallas Arboretum, the 21,000-sq-ft DeGolyer Estate and provides a majestic setting for corporate parties, book signings, and family milestone events. Designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style in 1940, it’s a National Historic Place. Some features of the hacienda include valet parking, tenting availability for events, on-site security, extra seating, a PA system and even an Event Facilitator with your renting of the space. (Plus, too much more to include here!) Surrounded by beautiful pecan, oak and magnolia trees, the Library is ideal for executive meetings, professional networking events and luxurious dinners for 60.
2. McCasland Sunken Garden
Since their first visit, the McCaslands considered the Dallas Arboretum a special place; their affinity for the Garden is evident as they recently funded their eponymous garden: it opened in spring of 2006. The Sunken Garden, designed by Warren Johnson of Fallcreek Gardens, is a bright renovation and stunning upgrade of DABG’s original Sunken Garden. If you enter from the DeGolyer or south entry, you’ll see a procession of Italian Jardinieres and really cool geometric patterns shaded by towering trees. The central aisle steps down to a sunlit grass court and its wide open meeting space. Truly beautiful, there is always something in bloom here in the Sunken Garden.
3. Azalea Collection
A noted collection in the US, the Azaleas at DABG are in numbers that reach near 2,800 specimens. The collection is showcased primarily in the Jonsson Color Garden, but is actually prominently displayed and spread out throughout the entire grounds in the different garden beds. The landscape architect that completed the design and installation of the six-and-a-half-acre color garden used Azalea varieties to “visually unify” the garden. The gardens also hold a real prize: the only publicly accessible Huang Collection Azalea specimens found outside China.
4. Jonsson Color Garden
The Margaret Elisabeth Jonsson Color Garden is spread gracefully across over six huge acres! It’s planted with over 2,000 different varieties of the famous DABG Azalea and blooms lavishly in the spring with other flowers like Daffodils, Tulips and Dogwood. Summer brings Canna and Caladiums and in the fall, the garden is lush with Chrysanthemums.
5. The Plant Sale
During this annual event which brings in thousands, guests can buy the amazing plants DABG cultivates; they can also participate in the cool class, “Lone Star Greats: Tough Texas Plants,” which is taught by the Senior Director of Gardens. The popular sale is first come first serve with a limited number of plants; shoppers are even encouraged to bring wagons to ensure they have enough room for their purchases and a way to lug them to the car! That’s how many plants people buy at this event! With a whopping 23,000 plants for sale, including perennials, succulents and summer annuals, amateur hobby gardeners and seasoned botanists and horticulturists alike have the difficult task of deciding which plants they fancy the most! The Plant Sale is the perfect opportunity to bring the beauty of the Dallas Arboretum home to mesmerize (and impress!) your friends & neighbors. There’s only one chance a year to buy the neat and the rare, as well as the tried and true plants that DABG grows all the time!
6. Lay Ornamental Garden
The Lay Ornamental Garden is a magnificent two-acre Texas cottage garden; it’s filled with hundreds of brightly colored perennials and a really cool, dynamic falling water curtain set against native limestone walls. Look for a neat set of bronze wildlife figures nestled in the gardens many flora and fauna features!
7. Paseo de Flores
You can’t miss this attraction, as it’s the main walkway through the Arboretum’s Gardens. The Paseo de Flores central walkway is a stunning meandering pathway that’s lined with hundreds of different flowers throughout the twists and turns it takes through different gardens. Visitors will see a veritable rainbow of color depending on the season on the Paseo de Flores walkway. It all begins as you leave the Trammell Crow Visitor Education Pavilion and it concludes near the serene and stunning, circular Fogelson Fountain.
8. Trial Gardens
The Trial Gardens at the Dallas Arboretum were created for the purpose of expanding DABG’s research efforts and providing information to the public. The main focus of the plant testing program is to grow and evaluate many different plants in the drastic climate of the DFW Metroplex and North Central Texas, and develop new plant selections. Information generated from these trials is provided to commercial plant producers, retailers, and home gardeners. Because the trial garden is always open to the public for viewing, it offers new visibility for plant selections currently on the market and those soon to be available. Growers, retailers, and home gardeners can visit the trial garden and obtain valuable information on many different plants and how they perform in our climate.
9. Tulip-Mania Texas Style Festival
The largest festival held at DABG, Tulip-Mania is attended by thousands each year and is emceed by the DABG’s entertaining and comedic Director of Research. The Festival’s educational portion celebrates and explains the 2.9 million plants cultivated at DABG annually and offers display coaching, garden how-to’s, tips and tricks for tulips, and more on Dallas Blooms!
10. Palmer Fern Deli
If you find yourself in Dallas during the torrid summer (or spring and fall) months, the Palmer Fern Deli is a secluded, shady spot where mist-sprayers drop the temperature at least 10? to 15? — reason enough for a visit here. The Eugenia Leftwich Palmer Fern Dell is an enchanting mini-garden located within the Jonsson Color Garden. More than 90 varieties of Ferns, Camellias, Witch Hazel, Azaleas and mature trees border a meandering brook.
*Attraction rankings are based on visitor reviews, tourist information, web reviews, blogs and travel company data.
Dallas Arboretum & Botanical
8525 Garland Road
Dallas, TX 75218-4335