Quinceaneras Bloom at the Dallas Arboretum
A couple of weeks ago, I finally visited the Dallas Arboretum for the first time. What a fabulous place! On the day I went, the park was full of people, including several young ladies decked out in Quinceañera dresses. If, like me, you are new to Texas, you may not have seen these 15-year-old Hispanic debutantes before. With their tiaras and evening gowns, it’s easy to mistake them for young brides.
It was a gorgeous spring-like day in January, and I snapped a ton of photos, sharing some of them on Twitter via my beloved Instagr.am. (How I love that app!) Now I’m going to share a few photos with you, as well as some tips for visiting the arboretum (you really should go!)
12 Distinct Gardens
The Dallas Arboretum spans 66 acres along the south shore of White Rock Lake. A series of well-kept pathways links to 12 distinctly different gardens throughout this well-groomed park, where a full staff (helped out by 400+ volunteers) makes sure there is always something blooming.
Open Every Day (almost!)
Another great thing is that the Dallas Arboretum is open nearly every day, which is perfect for those spontaneous, “what is there to do today?” moments. The garden only closes three days each year: Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Otherwise, its open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Rainy Day Guarantee
If it rains during your visit, stop by the ticket booth and the attendant will give you a pass for free admission on your next visit, as long as your return is within three months of that rainy day. Of course, it doesn’t rain too often in Texas, so the arboretum can get away with a policy like that. Up in the Seattle area, where I hail from, this idea would put a park out of business pretty quickly!
Bring a Picnic…
Picnicking is encouraged and there are plenty of scenic places for you to set up, whether you sit right on the ground or you prefer a picnic table. Food, coolers, glass containers, and picnic blankets are all permissable. You may even bring booze – just drink responsibly, and clean up after yourself, but you already knew that, didn’t you?
… or Dine at an On-Site Restaurant
If you work up an appetite and don’t have a picnic basket with you, there are two restaurants located in the Dallas Arboretum.
The Lula Mae Slaughter Terrace Restaurant is open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., and until 5:00 during festivals. The menu features seasonal soups, hot and cold sandwiches and salads. Dine on the terrace, or take it to go, and eat it picnic style at a pretty spot in the garden.
The DeGolyer Garden Cafeis open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. It is located in the historic DeGolyer Mansion (see below) and offers a variety of soups, salads, quiches and desserts in an elegant setting.
You might also consider dining at Kalachandji’s Restaurant & Palace before or after your visit, since it’s only a short drive away. That’s what I did on my recent visit. Here’s a review I wrote about it, Kalachandji’s Restaurant & Palace: Good Food Which Just Happens to be Vegetarian. I love that place!
Free Tour of the DeGolyer Mansion
Make sure you take a free tour of the DeGolyer Mansion,when you visit. Although built in 1939,this Latin Colonial revival styled house is meant to look much older. The Dallas Arboretum doesn’t allow photos, so I can’t show you the interior, but they don’t call it a mansion for nothing. This 21,000 square foot dwelling (the library alone is 1750 square feet) was once the home of a wealthy geologist and his wife. Interestingly enough, Mr. DeGolyer was born in a tiny sod house much like the replica you will see in the Texas Town section of the arboretum.
Tours (free with arboretum admission) are available Monday – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. It may take the docents a while to answer the door, but don’t give up, they really are in there.
Getting around the gardens: free trams and wheelchairs
The Dallas Arboretum offers free trams, which are basically fancy golf carts, to zip people around. Even if you are full of energy, these can be a good way to get a feel for the layout of the gardens on your first visit. While they aren’t official tour guides, the tram drivers know a lot about the gardens and are happy to answer questions.
Wheelchairs are also available on a first-come, first-served basis for those with limited mobility, and wagons for toting kids (and picnic items) are available for a $5 rental fee.
Hours, Admission, Parking & Address
Senior Citizens (65+): $10
Children (3 – 12): $8
Children under 3 are Free
Parking: At $7 per car, parking is pricey here. During busy times, the garden provides free shuttle buses to take people from off-site parking directly to the ticket booth.
8525 Garland Rd
Dallas, TX 75218
Please note: While all the above information is accurate as of this writing, hours, prices and so forth are subject to change.