The Dallas Arboretum

Winter, spring, summer or fall, the Dallas Arboretum is a fun-filled adventure for people of all ages. The multiple gardens within the complex hold surprises around every corner, whether it is a fountain, a panoramic view, a playground, a flowering tree, or a mini concert.

Located on White Rock Lake, the gardens overlook the beautiful water and the activities there. Opened to the public in 1984, the Arboretum has expanded to include the 66 acres of the DeGolyer and Camp properties. These 66 acres are carefully planted and tended to give visitors magnificent experiences.

The Arboretum is officially divided into many small gardens; however, l didn’t realize that fact until I looked at the map. I simply wandered from one beautiful area to another. The crape (or crepe) myrtle tunnel leads to the toad fountains, a fun play area for kids when Texas heat hits.

The Pecan Grove comes alive during the fall in Autumn at the Arboretum with pumpkin houses and thousands of pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. Every year the festival has a different theme which is featured through stories and decorations in this fairy tale area. The Lay Family Garden is home to the Lay Grotto complete with waterfalls and koi pond. This area always seems popular for wedding photos based on the number of brides I have seen being photographed there.

The Margaret Elizabeth Jonsson Color Garden explodes with color in the spring and summer with pansies, then tulips and azaleas bringing announcement of warmer weather. This area, the Lyda Bunker Hunt Paseo de Flores, and the Chandler Lindsley Shadow Garden are especially colorful after a long winter. The Woman’s Garden is another of my favorite places and is usually less crowded than those on the more traveled paths. The view of White Rock Lake across the infinity pool is amazingly beautiful.

One of the newer gardens, the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, appeals to children of all ages. Visitors enter the area around or through a splash pad that serves to cool off everyone on hot days. From there, visitors can wander through gardens and mazes as they learn about soils, plants and the world around them. They can participate in science classes and see the OmniGlobe, one of the few 60-inch ones in the U.S. There are playgrounds, treehouses, water guns, and other interactive experiences to increase children’s interest in science and nature while they are having fun.

The Arboretum is not just about beautiful flowers. The gardens also feature vegetables and herbs. A Tasteful Place Garden is 3.5 acres dedicated to “growing and eating fresh, sustainable, locally-grown food.” The kitchen and pavilion provide three free tastings each day and give visitors the recipes so they can recreate the dishes at home. You can also sign up online for cooking classes to learn how to use fresh produce in your home cooking.

The Dallas Arboretum is a 45-minute drive from Waxahachie with lots of restaurants nearby for a meal before or after your visit. You can also eat at the Arboretum, either at one of their restaurants or by taking a picnic and enjoying it under the trees. Whatever you decide, have a great time!

*Note: The Dallas Arboretum is closed right now to the public during the Covid-19 outbreak. However, they have a “Virtual Visit” on their website so you can see the beautiful blooms from your home!

Candace Ahlfinger has loved traveling since she was little and has always been on the go whenever possible. Now she is retired and gets to do what she loves best… TRAVEL! Whether it’s traveling with her wonderful husband, or our children and grandchildren, traveling is a great experience that enriches her life. Because she always enjoys reading and hearing about others’ travel experiences, she wants to share her travels with the Ellis DownHome readers. 


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