Saturday, November 30, 2013

Holiday at the Dallas Arboretum and GIVEAWAY!

The Dallas Arboretum is glorious this time of year!  Holiday at the Arboretum is a great way to experience wonderful Christmas events that are fun for the whole family such as a Holiday Tea, family fun weekends with Santa and his live reindeer, festive music and tasty treats!  

It will also be the last opportunity to visit the houses of The Adventures of Great Explorers, a tribute to the newly opened 8-­‐acre amazing Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.  The Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden is not just a garden!  It's full of fun hands-on activities that teach kids about nature, science, math, and art!  Learn more about the amazing Children's Garden HERE.


The Angels in DeGolyer is an amazing collection of 500 angels, courtesy of the Dallas Pi Beta Phi Alumnae, presented in the lavishly decorated DeGolyer Mansion.  Moms and Dads, please note that strollers are not allowed inside the DeGolyer house.  And obviously before you take children into the exhibit, you will want to talk to them about the importance of the rule "look but don't touch" and of course, no running and horsing around inside the mansion.




The angels are simply beautiful but in order to make the exhibit a little more fun for the kids, you might want to challenge them to find unique angels on display.  Nicholas noticed that one blue angel is slightly different than the others.




He was also very impressed by this amazing pine cone angel.  I asked if he thought he could make one like it for our home!



The Seashell Angels were some of my favorites.  They are just naturally perfect.



Rachel loves angels and she was very excited to see so many on display all around her.



These beautiful angels are wearing starched paper dresses!



Here are some details on the Holiday at the Arboretum events:

Angels in DeGolyer:

Over 500 angels on display courtesy of the Dallas Pi Beta Phi Alumnae
November 29–December 31, 2013 10 a.m.-­‐4 p.m. daily

Pictures with Santa Claus:

Bring your own camera for this great photo opp as your child sits on Santa's knee to share their most desired toys this year.  
November 29 -­ December 22, 2013
Friday, November 29: 12-­‐4 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays: 12-­‐4 p.m. 

Live Reindeer and Costumed Characters:

November 30 -­ December 22, 2013
Saturdays and Sundays, 12-­‐4 p.m.

Holiday Tea:

An elegant, three-­course holiday tea for a special Christmas memory for ages 12 and older.  Prices range from $47-$57 and include parking, admission to the Garden and access to the Angels of the DeGolyer display.  Reservations are required. 
November 29 -­ December 31, 2013 
11 a.m. and 2 p.m. seatings

The Adventures of Great Explorers: 

November 29 -­ December 31, 2013


The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218.  They are open daily 9am – 5pm and closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission prices: Adult - main garden and children's garden $18, main garden only $15; senior age 65+ - main garden and children's garden $15, main garden only $12; children ages 3-12 - main garden and children's garden $13, main garden only $10; children age 2 and under free.  Parking is $10 onsite or $5 at Gaston/Garland lot. For more information about the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden, please check out the Dallas Arboretum website (be sure to watch the video tour at the top of the page!)

Want to win 2 free general admission tickets plus free parking to the Dallas Arboretum?  Follow the Rafflecopter instructions below on how to enter the giveaway - you can enter all five ways if you want!  And don't worry, your email address will not be published and you will not receive any emails from me (unless you are the winner!)



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Terms: Passes are for free general admission and parking.  Passes must be used by 12/31/13.  Winner will be chosen by random and notified by email.  Winner must respond and claim prize within two days or forfeit the prize.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love this time of year because we reflect on all of the blessings we've received throughout the year and we realize just how much we have to be thankful for.  

I'm particularly thankful for my loving husband and my super sweet kids.  My family makes me smile every day and I love them so much!

My sweet kids helped in the kitchen as we prepared our Thanksgiving meal.  Rachel helped make the cornbread for the dressing.


Nicholas was excited to use the chopper on the onions but soon found that the odor was really strong so he devised a solution.


This boy just makes me laugh!


I found a simple way to spice up some plain yeast rolls.  Check out this recipe from Sandra Lee.  I actually didn't make the wreath.  Instead I bought frozen yeast dough that had already risen and only needed to bake for about 15 minutes from frozen.


I love having the big traditional Thanksgiving meal even if it is only the four of us sitting down to enjoy it.  It is so worth it!


I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Autumn Adventure with Famous Explorers at the Dallas Arboretum

We visited the Dallas Arboretum yesterday.  It was a little cool but we bundled up and had a great time.



In addition to seeing the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden, we also had a chance to see the Autumn at the Arboretum and the Adventures of Great Explorers exhibits before they are gone for good.


Autumn at the Arboretum

The Dallas Arboretum has the nationally acclaimed Pumpkin Village - cute little houses made of pumpkins and gourds!


The kids loved running through the little houses.  They each claimed their own house.  Rachel and Love Love claimed this pumpkin house.



I claim the beautiful gourd house for myself.  I love all of the different colors and unique shapes and textures on the walls.


I found many great pumpkin recipes along the wall of one pumpkin home.   I can't wait to try them!


Of course, Rachel loved finding Cinderella's carriage.  The horses were sculpted out of straw!  But I was too busy getting these two cuties in the picture and forgot to get the horses in there too.


Look at these two cute little pumpkins I found!




Autumn at the Arboretum is here until tomorrow, November 27th and is included with your admission price.


Adventures of Great Explorers

We then wandered around to find the exhibits of great explorers such as Lewis and Clark, James Cook, and Admiral Byrd.  The kids again claimed their own little houses and pretended to be the explorers traveling around the world as they ran back and forth between the exhibits.



Did you know that the Fountain of Youth can be found right here in Dallas?  It's right here in the Ponce de Leon exhibit!


The kids especially loved seeing tributes to explorers that we have recently studied in school such as this one for the travels of Marco Polo or the Hernan Cortes Aztec exhibit which even has a slide!



The Adventures of Great Explorers exhibit will be open through December 31st and is included with general admission.



The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218.  They are open daily 9am – 5pm and closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission prices: Adult - main garden and children's garden $18, main garden only $15; senior age 65+ - main garden and children's garden $15, main garden only $12; children ages 3-12 - main garden and children's garden $13, main garden only $10; children age 2 and under free.  Parking is $10 onsite or $5 at Gaston/Garland lot. For more information about the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden, please check out the Dallas Arboretum website (be sure to watch the video tour at the top of the page!)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum

Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum

Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden

We have discovered the best family activity in DFW - the new Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum!

The Children's Garden is an 8 acre "museum without walls" comprised of over 150 interactive exhibits and 17 galleries in a beautiful natural garden setting overlooking White Rock Lake.  Check out the garden map HERE.



Viewing White Rock Lake from the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum

Texas Skywalk

My kids couldn't wait to walk along the Texas Skywalk.  It is a beautiful boardwalk that towers over the garden and along the way children can read the displays that teach them about trees and birds.



Walk in the Clouds

Along the Texas Skywalk, we discovered that we could take a Walk in the Clouds.  An awesome tree house is surrounded by heavy duty netting that extends out and then up from the tree allowing kids to jump on and climb up while seeing the ground below through the netting.  It's just like taking a walk in the clouds!  But make sure you look around the whole tree while you are there so you don't miss a thing.


While on the Texas Skywalk, we were able to get a good birds-eye-view of the gardens that we had yet to explore.  There is the indoor Exploration Center and Plaza.


The waterway and interactive exhibits on energy.



And so much more!  There are pathways that meander throughout the garden and there are exhibits and activities all along the way.  There is just so much to see and explore everywhere you look.


T. Boone Pickens Energy Exhibit

We spent a long time in the energy exhibit.  There were so many great activities to teach us about the power of wind, sun, and water.

We first learned about wind power.  This exhibit was a fun way to show that wind does have power even though you can't see it.  It puffs air at the person standing on the target but it shoots a little high for young kids to be able to feel so you might need to pick them up.


The wind tunnel was definitely a hit with my little tornadoes!



The waterway isn't there just to look nice!  You can adjust the solar panel to control the height of the water sprays or make the wheels spin.



Have you ever heard that light colors reflect light while dark colors absorb it?  You can feel the difference on these lizards and even see the difference on their individual thermometers.



The kids splashed around as they learned about the power of water and how to harness it.  Rachel redirected the water and set up dams to control the flow.



Nicholas moved water with an Archimedes screw.



And we all had fun aiming the giant water guns at the targets in the waterway to make them spin and spray water.


Texas Wetlands

There is a whole exhibit area on Texas Wetlands.  We found minnows and watches a show to learn more about the importance of this natural habitat.



Earth Cycles

Oh I loved seeing the geologic timeline and respective fossils etched into the concrete in the Earth Cycles area.  Here we learned about caves, rocks, tectonic plates and more.



We learned about erosion and how water changes the lay out of the land in this hands on activity.  The kids used sand, trees, and rocks to form their land and then they turned on the "rain" to watch how the water flow changed their landscape.


Nicholas was a human sundial!



And we explored the planets of our galaxy.

Living Cycles

The kids loved exploring this hollow log!  They lifted the flaps along the side to learn more about it but they also enjoyed scurrying through it, climbing out of it, and just running around it.


We got to see the world through the eyes of bees and we even followed the arrows in the concrete to reproduce the dances of bees.



How appropriate that Nicholas caught a real grasshopper here!  Note: this was not part of a planned exhibit :)



Exploration Center

The indoor Exploration Center was a delight for all of us.  In this building you can explore on your own or take a class with others.  We explored the displays and stuck our hands in the black boxes and described what we felt and sniffed the scent tubes to guess at the fragrances.

The kids played on the giant interactive tablets, looked at bat bones under a microscope and played a detective game to try to figure out which of the critter suspects was at fault.  We also got to listen in on a class about leaf chromatography!


First Adventure Garden 

Little ones will not feel left out of the fun at the First Adventure Garden.  There is so much here for toddlers and preschoolers to explore.  Rachel loved the Wooly Caterpillar Maze of trees to run through.


Many kids were exploring the playhouse while we were there.



And the walk along mushroom tops were just adorable and so much fun to play on and the little water spray fountains will be great to splash around in when the weather gets warmer.



We found the largest kaleidoscope ever!  Adjust the colors and the swirls and watch art and science combine as you make your own unique designs.



Did you know that math is all around us in the garden?  We learned about the fibonacci numbers and how to find numbers in nature.



I love the pendulum art activity - the kids swung the pendulum to make circular patterns with sand!  So much fun!



We LOVE the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden!  It combines nature with art, science, math, history, and ecology.  I appreciate that my kids were spending time outside and learning so much yet the whole time we were there they thought they were just having marvelous adventure!  Be sure to plan to stay for a while when you come.  We were there for over 4 hours and still did not get to see everything.

Want to win 2 free general admission tickets to the main gardens and free parking for the Arboretum?  Enter HERE!


The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218.  They are open daily 9am – 5pm and closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission prices: Adult - main garden and children's garden $18, main garden only $15; senior age 65+ - main garden and children's garden $15, main garden only $12; children ages 3-12 - main garden and children's garden $13, main garden only $10; children age 2 and under free.  Parking is $10 onsite or $5 at Gaston/Garland lot. For more information about the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden, please check out the Dallas Arboretum website (be sure to watch the video tour at the top of the page!)