Christmas at the Dallas Arboretum

Christmas is a magical time of year!  There are so many wonderful events in the Dallas area to help families celebrate this joyous holiday season but one of our favorite Christmas traditions is to visit Dallas Arboretum, especially their 12 Days of Christmas exhibit!  There are lights, Christmas carols, hot chocolate, beautiful gardens, plus lots of fun activities for the whole family!

The 12 Days of Christmas exhibit features twelve beautiful Victorian-style gazebos throughout the gardens.  Each gazebo is numbered and represents one of the 12 Days of Christmas complete with charming people and whimsical animals that move and spin around the gazebo as if dancing to the Christmas carols that are playing outside. We have visited the 12 Days of Christmas exhibit for several years now but we have never attended it at night.  Wow!  It is even prettier at night!

One of my favorites is Gazebo 7: Seven Swans A-Swimming.  Look how beautiful it is!

But pictures just can't capture the beauty of the swans swimming around the frozen fountain.  You will have to see it to believe it.

Here is a snippet of video of the Gazebo 12: Twelve Drummers Drumming...

Reliant is a major sponsor for the 12 Days of Christmas event and you can get a cool light-up Reliant Santa hat just like we did.  They are available November 29, December 5, 13, 14, 23 from 6-9 p.m. at the main ticket booth.

I think the guys enjoyed Gazebo 10: Ten Lords A-Leaping the most because all of the Lords were all on ice skates!  And yes, even my teen wore a light-up hat!

There is a map to show you where each of the gazebos are located but you can just wander along the paths and find each one of them. 

While you are strolling the gardens, make sure you stop by the 30-foot spruce Christmas tree in the center of the garden.  It is so beautiful.

Near the Christmas tree you will find the Café on the Green which offers special holiday drinks like pumpkin lattes, mulled wine, and Mexican hot chocolate as well as treats like pumpkin bars, holiday paninis, and even a bowl of soup in a Sourdough bread bowl. We didn't have time to stop in at the Café but we did find several stations along the main path for warm beverages and even a station for snacks.

I was such a happy momma spending the evening with my family among the gardens filled with all of the sparkle of the Christmas season!

Of course, even without all of the extra dazzle of Christmas, the Arboretum is still an amazing garden full of the wonders of nature so take your time as you are walking through to be sure you don't miss a thing!

There are so many exciting things to see at do during Christmas at the Dallas Arboretum.  Here is a listing of some of them....

The 12 Days of Christmas, Daily, 9-5, November 9-December 31
Adult: $15, Seniors (65 or older): $12, Children (2-12 years): $10
Enjoy elaborately decorated Victorian-style gazebos on display every day during the holiday festival.

The 12 Days of Christmas at Night featuring 500,000 lights, Wednesday-Sunday, 6-9 p.m., November 14-December 30
Adults: $20, Seniors (65 or older): $15 Children (2-12 years): $10
The garden will be open late five nights a week for a special, lighted night-time experience.

Holiday Tea, Daily, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Bring family and friends together and create an annual tradition with holiday tea at Restaurant DeGolyer, lavishly decorated for the season. Reservations required. Call 214-515-6511. Ages 13 and up are permitted in the tea room.

Visits with Santa, Wednesday evenings, 6-9 p.m., November 14-December 19, Saturday and Sunday, 12-4 p.m., November 25-December 24
Santa is back in the garden this year in the perfect holiday setting--Crape Myrtle Allee, resplendent with twinkling lights. Share Christmas wishes with the jolly old man and take a photo to commemorate the occasion. The Dallas Arboretum Volunteer Advisory Board will be taking pictures of the memorable moments for donations, and guests are welcome to take the photo home.

Elves Workshop
Children can visit the Elves Workshop in the Ann Stuart Courtyard where they can write a letter to Santa to let him know their Christmas wish list and then drop it in the mail box there to make its way to the North Pole.  They can also create a Santa hat, decorate a reindeer using candy canes, toss a "snowball", pin the nose on the snowman, or make a holiday hat or card to give to someone special.  The Elves Workshop will be open from 6:00 - 9:00 pm Wednesday-Sunday evenings through December 30th.

Outdoor Movie, "The Polar Express", November 29, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn
Nothing brings back holiday memories quite like the movie, "The Polar Express". Guests can take a ride on the joyful train and explore the mysteries of the North Pole all the way up to Santa's front door. Bring a friend, bundle up and enjoy one of the holidays most beloved movies.

Lake Highlands Wranglers Performance, December 2, 2 p.m. at the Entry Plaza
Watch the local Wranglers dance and perform to some holiday tunes.

Pride of Texas Music Festival, December 7, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Jonsson Color Garden and Café on the Green
Hear all the holiday classics as Dallas metroplex students perform songs of the season. Ensembles perform at Jonsson Color Garden and choirs perform in front of the 30-foot Christmas tree.

Holiday Activities for the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden

Animal Adventures with the Dallas Zoo (Appropriate for all ages), November 12, 11:15 a.m.-Noon
The Dallas Zoo is bringing a few of their favorite friends for an animal encounter in the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden. Stop by for a wild adventure with interesting critters.

TECH Truck (Appropriate for Ages 5 and up), November 17, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at The Moody Oasis
Tinker, Engineer, Create, Hack!  Join the TECH Truck staff from the Perot Museum in the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden for a hands-on experience.

Holiday Hunt for Santa's Helpers (All ages can participate!), November 24-December 24, throughout the Children's Adventure Garden
Help look for Santa's helpers, like a frog on a log, a deer right here, a fox in the rocks, a squirrel on a whirl, an owl on a trowel, or a bobcat in a hat. Take a picture with four (4) of Santa's helpers and bring them to the Exploration Center to redeem a prize.  

Letter-Writing to Santa (Appropriate for Ages 5 and up), Mondays-Fridays Only, All Day, November 26-December 24 in the Exploration Center
Come to the letter-writing workshop to write a letter to Santa. Special paper, pens, stickers; everything you would need to catch Santa's attention is provided. Some of Santa's helpers may stop by with some inside tips.

Creative Corner: Oh What Fun! (All ages can participate!), Saturdays and Sundays Only, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., December 1-25 in the Exploration Center
Stop by the Exploration Center and create a holiday craft to take home.

Plant Lab: Let It Snow (Appropriate for ages 6 and up), December 3-23, 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. in the Exploration Center
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow... in the Plant Lab this December! Explore the wonders of melting, snowflakes, and endothermic reactions.

Plant Lab Extravaganza (Appropriate for ages 6 and up), December 24-30, 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. in the Exploration Center
December 24 - Strawberry DNA
December 26 - Elephant's Toothpaste
December 27 - Monster Molecule Mist
December 28 - Starchy Night
December 29 - How Sweet It Is
December 30 - Let It Snow

Creative Corner: New Year's Wishes Sponsored by Neiman Marcus, December 27-31, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Exploration Center
As the new year sneaks closer, warm up in the Exploration Center and create a wishing wand.  Using plant parts and other natural objects, decorate wands to take home and bring joy to those around. Frolic through the garden, using a wishing wand to wish New Year's good luck to everyone.

BOGO Wednesdays
Every Wednesday through December 26
9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Buy one, get one admission every Wednesday. 

The Dallas Arboretum is located at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas.  For questions, please contact the staff at 214-515-6615.  You can also visit their website or follow the Dallas Arboretum Facebook page.

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