TNT – Episode 2: The Dallas Arboretum

Pictured from left to right: Ashley Mergele, Dave Forehand, and Patrick Brophey

On this week’s episode of Topic: North Texas, Patrick and I traveled to the Dallas Arboretum and met with the Vice President of Gardens, Dave Forehand to learn more about Dallas’s number one tourist attraction. During our visit, Dave gave us an exclusive tour of the grounds along with some insight on the history of the facility.

In 1977, following the establishment of the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Society (DABS) in 1974, the City of Dallas Park Board recommended that the grounds of the DeGolyer Estate be the official location of the botanical garden and encouraged DABS to begin raising funds for the initial cost. In just three years DABS increased membership and raised over one million dollars. The growth led to the purchase of a neighboring property, the 22-acre Alex Camp House. By 1984, 66-acre arboretum and botanical garden had opened to the public.

The Arboretum, located on the shores of White Rock Lake, has become a top tourist attraction for Dallas bringing in nearly one million visitors each year. The Arboretum offers a variety of events, from cooking classes to concert series but, it is their annual Autumn at the Arboretum festival that has visitors coming by the thousands.

From mid-September throughout the entire month of October, the Arboretum transforms into a pumpkin mecca. Each year using over 90,000 pumpkins, gourds, and squash, the team at the Arboretum craft themed displays and pumpkin houses to create Pumpkin Village. This year, the Arboretum selected the timeless classic “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” as the theme for Pumpkin Village. Once October ends, Christmas takes over at the Arboretum.

From November 9 to December 31, guests can celebrate the holidays at the 12 Days of Christmas exhibit featuring 12 Victorian-style gazebos depicting each of the days in the Christmas carol and stop at the DeGolyer House which will feature “Christkindl market Treasures” typically found in European Christmas markets. The Arboretum is adding a new holiday attraction to the mix – The Pauline and Austin Neuhoff Family Christmas Village. The village will feature 12 old-world European-style shops and facades that represent a quaint European town. There will be extended hours during Holiday at the Arboretum so be sure to visit their website for information about dates and tickets.

The Dallas Arboretum has had a tremendous impact on the North Texas economy. According to a study conducted by SMU, in 2013 the garden generated $170 million in economic impact which refers to the combined effects of operations and visitor spending on the economy. The study also showed the impact of school children affected by the Arboretum’s teaching programs. In 2018, more than 100,000 students received supplementary science education through field trips, summer and after-school programs.

Since the Dallas Arboretum opened its doors, it has continued to grow into a beloved destination for both tourists and locals. With the help of the 75 member Board of Directors, the 120 full-time paid staff members, 50+ part-time paid staff members, and more than 273 active volunteers, the Arboretum will continue to be a source for education, community impact, and family fun.

We hope you enjoy this episode of Topic: North Texas and more importantly take a trip to the Dallas Arboretum.

Be sure to like and follow the Dallas Arboretum’s social media accounts to stay up to date on all of the exciting events!

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