NewsLegacyTraveling Texas with Ann Harder


Traveling Texas: Holidays at the Dallas Arboretum

Posted at 9:24 PM, Dec 07, 2022

DALLAS, TX — It's the most wonderful time of the year. And what better way to celebrate than with a visit to the lavishly decorated Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden? Just take a stroll through the Christmas Village and you are transported to Bavaria.

A five-year tradition, the Christmas Village is a collection of shops you can wander through at your leisure. They’re constructed each year with the help of off-duty firefighters—then taken down and stored after the season.

And for the third year: a stunning centerpiece to the village: a Christmas pyramid—a super-sized version of a German tradition. This one was built in the old country and sent to Texas.

For 22 years, Dave Forehand, vice president of the gardens, has had the dream job of overseeing the displays.

“I just enjoy it so much and the people are nice and being able to present such a beautiful horticultural display to the people here in North Texas and all over the country. We have people to visit from all over the world now at the arboretum,” said Forehand.

Over a million visitors a year! And the arboretum just wrapped up its highly successful Autumn at the Arboretum. With its nationally acclaimed pumpkin village featuring pumpkin houses and more than 100,000 pumpkins.

“That's a great kick-off for us.," said Forehand. "We've got pumpkins, beautiful floral displays as well that we roll in mums, especially marigolds, things that really look like autumn and it's just a great time.”

But Christmas really shines at the Arboretum—with the 12 days of Christmas!

“That was our first big kind of outdoor exhibit. It’s 12 gazebos that look kind of victorian in style glass encased with the highlights of the song 12 days of Christmas. So, we have partridge in a pear tree all the way up to 12 drummers around me. So, it's really a neat display," said Forehand. “You work your way through the gardens to find all these gazebos because at night everything is beautifully lit as well. So, we're open during the day. You also can get a ticket to see all these displays and enjoy them at night, which is really pretty magical as well.”

The dazzling musical tree is a crowd favorite—a 50-foot-tall tree animated with 50-thousand dancing lights.

“And it moves to the Christmas music that plays. So, it's really quite a big show there," said Forehand. "So that's the kind of gives people a lot to do outside here because we have great food offerings and different entertainment every day. People can see all that on our website.”

The garden is always on the move—they’re looking ahead to spring and tulips!

“We're getting the beds prepped for that right now. So, 500,000 bulbs would go into the ground. Everything would be topped with pansies and snapdragons," said Forehand.

With such beauty everywhere, we asked Forehand if he had a favorite spot in the garden.

"I love the more natural Woman’s Garden of the Dallas Arboretum. It's a large area down close to white rock lake. That’s a beautiful garden, more perennial and natural in its design. I really love that space," Forehand said.

And don’t miss their brand-new indoor exhibit: The Artistry of Faith and Culture at the historic Degolyer house. It’s elaborately decorated featuring 4-global celebrations of the season.

“So of course, we have Christmas, and we have Hanukkah rooms. We also have Kwanzaa, beautiful displays there, and Diwali, the Festival of Lights," said Forehand. "So, all four of those different cultures and faiths are highlighted in the house. Really beautiful. So that's open every day for visitors as well. And on certain nights, you can see it as well. And I do want to remind people if they're coming to visit, they need to get a timed ticket. We want to know they're coming so we can accommodate with our staff. And that's really easy to do to get a ticket for either daytime or at night through the websites.”

Running through December 31st, Holiday at the Arboretum—it’s the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.