For 14 years running, the beautiful Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden has been celebrating the colors of fall with its Autumn at the Arboretum display. Boasting 150,000 fall blooming flowers and plants and 90,000 pumpkins, gourds, and squash, the 66-acre botanical garden is the prime spot in town to enjoy fall festivities until Oct. 31. Here are just a few reasons why you need to stop into the East Dallas haven this time of year.
1. Snap photos with the Peanuts crew - The Arboretum's Pumpkin Village has an adorable theme – " It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" – complete with all of your favorite Peanuts comic strip characters. The village is a breathtaking piece of eye candy for adults and children, bursting with gigantic piles of 24 different pumpkin varieties (do you know the difference between a Cinderella and a racer pumpkin?) It's easy to see why it takes 21 days to put together the village when you take in the details – 3,000 ears of corn, 900 bales of hay, and scenes taken straight from the Charlie Brown movie. Get a photo fit for sharing on Instagram in the Peanuts Gang School House or next to Schroeder's giant piano, made entirely of impatiens. Don't forget to stop by Lucy's "Garden Advice Hut" or Snoopy's Doghouse, both comprised of nothing but pumpkins. Happy fall, y'all.
2. Take in the inaugural Oktoberfest - The garden plans to host its first-ever Oktoberfest celebration Oct. 5 and 6 (free with your Arboretum admission) and you won't want to miss Cafe on the Green's special themed menu of bratwursts, carved pastrami sandwiches and black forest cake. Of course, it wouldn't be Oktoberfest without beer, so stroll through the Main Garden while sampling complimentary beer samples and food from local vendors. Look forward to live music from The Red Wine Band and the Reckless Angels, plus dance performances and games all weekend.
3. Savor tasty bites from the veggie garden - Do you know about the Arboretum's new 3.5-acre food, herb, and vegetable garden, A Tasteful Place? Throughout the fall season, garden visitors will have the opportunity to partake in three free daily tastings made with in-house seasonal produce. Each Monday, El Centro College students will perform live cooking demonstrations, and garden-to-table dinners will be offered for an additional fee throughout the week.
4. Hit up weekly scavenger hunt fun - Tricks & Treats Thursdays are a highlight for kiddos this fall, as they give your smallest scavengers a reason to scour every inch of the garden. All you have to do is grab a map from the main ticket booth and successfully finish the scavenger hunt. If you return the map, you'll receive a ticket good for one "Charlie Brownie" from the Terrace Cafe. Yum!
5. Enjoy unforgettable performances - You might have visited the Arboretum's Cool Thursdays Concert Series on the garden lawn during the summertime, but the music doesn't stop when the seasons change. Live musicians will grace the Martin Rutchik Concert stage every weekend during Autumn at the Arboretum (specific times vary). Catch the Dallas Tap Dazzlers, The Gibbonses and the Texas Boys Choir, to name a few, while snapping pumpkin photos with your family.
6. Celebrate family-friendly activities and a special birthday party - On Oct. 26 and 27, experience Family Fun Weekend at the gardens. In complete Halloween fashion, there will be trick-or-treating (remember your candy bags!), face painting, pumpkin decorating, and a petting zoo for your costumed family members. "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" will be screened Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. Come back a few days later on Oct. 30 to celebrate Charlie Brown's birthday. Ice cream and cake will be available for purchase, and lawn games will commence at 11 a.m.
Other highlights during Autumn at the Arboretum include Columbus Day Weekend festivities, a meet-and-greet with exotic owls from Window to the Wild on Oct. 20, and Wine Down Wednesdays featuring samples from Checkered Past Winery. As always, the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden has a busy calendar of events for your little ones. Check out the garden's full list of fall offerings and purchase tickets here.