The Dallas Arboretum spans 66 acres on the shores of White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas. The arboretum is open daily and rotates exhibits four times per year according to the seasons. The property includes 19 gardens, a plant-trials program, and an 8-acre children’s adventure garden. Structures on the site include the Alexander Camp House and the DeGolyer House as well as the newly built event venue, Rosine Hall.
Of the two historical homes, the DeGolyer House was built in 1939 in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, and this 21,000-square-foot home was recently renovated to look like it did in the 1940s. The Alex Camp House was completed in 1938 and this 8,500-square-foot home is a combination of Latin Colonial, English Regency and art deco architecture. Both are decorated seasonally and are available for private event use.
The 19 named gardens are the jewel of the property and change with the seasons, while each offers visitors a truly unique landscape and visual experience. The Palmer Fern Dell surrounds a pond and features a lush landscape of ferns, water lilies, and mature trees. The Jonnson Color Garden showcases sweeping colorful ground covers of seasonal flowers and the Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill is home to over 80 varieties of Japanese maples, which line the banks of a stream. The Rose Mary Haggar Rose Garden exhibits 16 varieties of hybrid tea roses. In the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, children learn to connect to nature with over 150 kid-friendly activities based on the life and earth sciences.
Visitors can pick up a map at the information booth, bring their own food and drink or make a purchase onsite, and spend all day roaming through the various gardens, ponds, waterfalls, and sculptures. With over 66 acres to explore, it is a good idea to plan visits ahead of time. The arboretum website and information office offer resources and maps and can suggest gardens for those visiting with families or those looking for a romantic stroll or health and relaxation, or even just a quick look around. Wagon rentals are available for small children and there is a tram onsite to transport visitors through the grounds.
The Dallas Arboretum began with the formation in 1974 of the non-profit organization, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society (DABS). Between 1977 and 1980, DABS began acquiring land with the help of members, donors, and the City of Dallas Park Board, with 44 acres coming from the DeGolyer estate, which the City had purchased from Southern Methodist University, and the additional 22 acres accompanying the purchase of the Alex Camp House. In 1982, construction on the gardens began, and the park opened to the public in 1984. Although relatively young as a botanical garden, the arboretum today sees more than one million visitors annually and boasts an extensive list of accolades for achievements in creating a colorful urban oasis that is also a pioneer in education and research.
Ongoing Programs & Education
The arboretum is host to several annual seasonal events. These include Artscape, a fine art and craft show and fair held each spring, and the popular spring and summer concert series held every Thursday night. Visitors are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy the concerts on the lawn. In inclement weather, the concerts are moved indoors to Rosine Hall. In the fall, a pumpkin village is built with several activities for children, including a pumpkin patch maze and hay bale rides. Holidays at the arboretum offer visitors a stroll through the 12 Days of Christmas display, while the gardens are lit up with over 500,000 holiday lights. The historical buildings on site are trimmed for the holidays and a 30-foot Christmas tree stands at the center of the property.
Year-round events and educational programs include innovative programming for children, which make use of the 8-acre Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden and it’s exhibit space. New this year is an Incredible Edibles program about edible plants, and the Texas Native Plant Lab. Several different children’s programs are available, including programming for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, group and family overnight visits, and summer camps.
For adults, the arboretum offers several different programs for those interested in learning more about their own gardens or planting in north Texas. The Trial Gardens were born out of a need for research, and the lessons learned in these innovative gardens assist home gardeners, commercial gardeners, and retailers. Over 3,000 plants are tested each year from approximately 150 breeding companies.
8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218, Phone: 214-515-6615