Arts & Culture

First Timer's Guide to the Dallas Arboretum

What you need to know before you go.

Dallas Aboretum
David C Justin
Posted on Oct 5, 2021

Located on the shores of White Rock Lake, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden covers 66 acres and is listed as one of the top arboretums in the world. With permanent gardens and seasonal events that have become popular fan favorites, the arboretum provides a beautiful glimpse into the wonders of nature.

If you've never been to the Dallas Arboretum, here are few highlights you should know about before you go.


The Gardens

While locals and repeat visitors have their favorite locations within the arboretum, these are a few gardens that you simply must see.

Crape Myrtle Allee - The first thing you'll see when you walk through the main gate is this lush lane of crape myrtle trees. Forming a natural awning over the main entrance walkway, the trees of the Allee are stunning no matter what time of year you visit.

McCasland Sunken Garden - One of many places to find quiet solitude throughout the arboretum, the sunken garden features a tranquil fountain, lush green lawn and a central aisle lined with Italian jardinières.

Margaret Elizabeth Jonsson Color Garden - Home to more than 2,000 varieties of azaleas, plus daffodils, tulips and pansies, the Color Garden covers 6.5 acres. The vibrant garden is best seen in spring and summer - but is beautiful year-round.

Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill - Designed to promote peace and tranquility, the Red Maple Rill is best experienced through a slow walk so you have the opportunity to hear the sounds of the numerous waterfalls and see the more than 80 varieties of Japanese Maples.

Rose Garden - With more than 200 Hybrid Tea Roses of 16 different varieties, the Rose Garden is one of the most beautiful and aromatic gardens in the Arboretum. Best visited in October when the roses are in bloom, the Rose Garden is part of the larger DeGolyer Gardens.

Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden - Designed to connect children with nature, the Adventure Garden is an educational experience which teach younger guests about life and Earth sciences.

A Tasteful Place - One of the newest additions to the Arboretum, this 3.5-acre garden, pavilion and kitchen focuses on growing and eating fresh, sustainable, locally-grown food. Enjoy free tastings made with seasonal produce three times daily.

For a full list of the Arboretum's gardens, check here.


Dining in the Arboretum

Guests to the Arboretum are welcome to bring their own food and drinks to enjoy a romantic picnic or family outing in one of the many gardens. For those that wish to enjoy the dining options provided by the Arboretum, there are several options to explore.

DeGolyer Tea Room - Indulge in dining sophistication with a seasonal three-course tea menu featuring soup, sandwiches and desserts.

Lula Mae Slaughter Dining Terrace - Offering quick and convenient soups, salads and sandwiches, the terrace is a perfect solution for guests that want to grab food on the go.

Café on the Green - Casual outdoor dining is paired with live or recorded music that's perfectly matched with the current season or festival.

Grilled Cheese Kiosk - Open when weather permits in the spring and fall, the kiosk is the perfect place to grab a grilled cheese sandwich or a cup of elote.

Restaurant DeGolyer - This beautiful venue is located inside the historic DeGolyer House and open for lunch daily along with Sunday brunch. 

Since times and availability may vary, please check here for individual restaurant hours and other information.


Seasonal Events

Celebrating the different seasons and their unique traditions, the Dallas Arboretum hosts unique festivals and events that only come around once a year.

  • Dallas Blooms, the largest annual floral festival in the Southwest, runs each spring with more than 500,000 spring-blooming bulbs.
  • Summer Concert Series brings live, local music to the only music venue overlooking White Rock Lake.
  • Autumn at the Arboretum takes advantage of the cooling weather to share more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash fashioned into houses and a maze.
  • Holiday at the Arboretum celebrates the 12 Days of Christmas with elaborate decorations, more than one million lights, and of course, Santa Claus.

For a full list of events and activities, check here.

Arboretum Tips, Guidelines and Etiquette

In order to make your first visit to the Dallas Arboretum more memorable, here are a few tips, guidelines and etiquettes to be aware of. 

While there are wonderful dining options within the arboretum, outside food and drinks are welcome so you can enjoy a romantic or family picnic in one of the gardens.

Pictures are encouraged, but no matter how great a picture it might make, please don't stand or walk in the garden beds. Guests are also prohibited from entering the water features and climbing the trees, shrubs, rocks or sculptures. 

Wheeled recreational vehicles such as skateboards, scooters and bicycles are not permitted in the garden at any time.

With the exception of licensed assistance animals, pets are not allowed.


The Dallas Arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ticket prices are $17 for adults (13-64), $14 for seniors (65+) and $12 for children (2-12). Admission to the Children's Adventure Garden is $3 per person. Parking is $15, but only $10 if you purchase it online. For a list of discounted ticket dates, check here.