The Best of Dallas?

I recently got to visit the Dallas Arboretum for the second time since I moved to Texas, almost 16 years ago. The garden has definitely come a long way since it opened back in 1940, and is considered to be one of the world’s top gardens according to Architectural Digest. I  took this with an entire bucket of salt for the longest of times, before finally making the trip out there in May. So colour me impressed because I went back a second time this past weekend to take a look at the acclaimed pumpkin patch.


  • Adult general garden admission (13-64): $15
  • Seniors general garden admission (65 & over): $12
  • Children general garden admission (3-12): $10
  • Children general garden admission (2 & under): Free
  • Children’s Adventure Garden admission: $3 (additional general garden admission for non-members)
  • On-site self parking or parking garage: $15
  • Discounted daytime parking: $8 (online only)

Note: If you are planning to visit more than once, you are better off with a family membership. It’s saved me enough already especially because you have to pay for parking otherwise. 

The Hedges of the Dallas Arboretum from my visit in May.
The Hedges of the Dallas Arboretum from my visit in May.

The Tom Thumb Pumpkin Patch

The annual pumpkin patch which occurs between September 17 and November 23 supposedly has 90,000 pumpkins arranged throughout the field. Though this did not appear to be the case on this rather steamy Saturday, I still ended up having a great time taking pictures of all sorts of pumpkins and practicing my macro photography.

Pumpkins Everywhere
The Pumpkin House

Since this was a Saturday afternoon, the field was packed with kids moving around the pumpkin arrangements. I had to patiently wait until a wave of them left before I could shoot a couple of pictures of the actual field.

Pumpkin Meadows
Pumpkin Field

The Rest of the Garden:

After walking through the pumpkin patch,  I spotted some butterflies flying around in the flower patches. They were fast moving, so it took a while before I got the right shutter speed and focal length to take a couple of shots. But it turned out that they were nothing compared to the bees buzzing around, which were nigh impossible to photograph.

The Monarch Butterfly
The Squirrel

Fall colours are so hard to come by in Texas that I got really excited when I saw a couple of shaded leaves from a tree falling in a stream and so I tried out a long exposure.


Yep this is about fall as it gets for now in Dallas. Hopefully a little more color will show up somewhere down the line.


There were also some nice symmetrically arranged squares within the garden perfect for some photography and especially nice for portrait photography. In fact as the day came to a close, I saw loads of local photographers show up with birthday girls, newly married couples, and people for all sorts of occasions.



After leaving the Arboretum, my friend Ricky was a bit hungry so we headed to Havana Cafe for a quick bite to eat. Though the restaurant didn’t really have many vegetarian options (it was either a grilled cheese, or rice and beans), they had an awesome Tres Leches Cake, which I highly recommend. The decor of the place was authentic and service was excellent with the owner being extremely friendly and quick to bring the orders. So if you are a carnivore or dessert lover, I would definitely check this place out.


As I was driving back home from the Arboretum, I was met with yet another awesome Texas sunset. It’s a pity that the garden isn’t open for golden hour because the sunsets and sunrises have been epic lately.


Bottom Line:

The Dallas Arboretum again caught me by surprise by the variety of flora it had and of course the many different types of exhibits and gardens on the grounds. It really deserves to be the top attraction in Dallas outside of the skyline itself and certainly is what I would call the best of Dallas. Oh and I should probably mention that food and concessions are reasonably priced unlike <cough, cough> a certain fair I know. 🙂 Now if only they could keep it open for one of the golden hours, I would be a happy camper.

As for the pumpkin patch: It was nice, albeit a bit crowded (that’s what you get for visiting on a Saturday). Maybe it would have been even better had I gone at the start of the exhibition given that some of the pumpkins were gone and the other half were changing colours.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.  Anyway if you live in the DFW area, get out there sometime before the exhibit is closed.

Have you been to the Dallas Arboretum? What do you think the best attraction in Dallas is? 


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