Monday, October 31, 2011

Totally Texas -- Pumpkin time at the Arboretum

Autumn at the Arboretum

Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road


October at the Dallas Arboretum means pumpkins. More than 50,000 weird and wonderful pumpkins, fall squash and gourds decorate the gardens. This year there are also gardens made of pumpkin mosaics (Southern Living magazine’s October issue featured them). But hold onto your trick or treat bag -- there are whole fairy tale houses built of pumpkins.

The Pecan Grove showcases all of these photo ops. And since the Arboretum asks people to come in costume for their pictures, the grove and walking trails recently have been crowded with children dressed as fairy tale characters.

Halloween on Monday this year also coincides with the Mommy & Me Mondays events of the autumn festival. For children under 5, that means a petting zoo, arts and crafts activities and face painting from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and more.

Need any more excuses to snap those pictures? Take a photo of your children, or your favorite fairy prince and princess, in a life-size replica of Cinderella’s coach “pulled” by topiary horses.

The Arboretum warns that, because of the activities, Monday is its busiest weekday. But most of the crowd leaves for naptime by 2 p.m., leaving the gardens to older visitors until its 5 p.m. closing.

In spite of the pumpkins, my vote for the star of this fall’s festival goes to the Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill, opened this month. More than 200 Japanese maples line the banks of the rill’s cascading creek and its walkways. As always, there’s plenty of room for children to move around.

Autumn at the Arboretum continues through November 23 but the gardens stay open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. See for additional information, including tickets and parking.


Also this week: Admission to the Dallas Museum of Art’s First Tuesday program is free November 1. Activities from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. are designed for children five and under, but all ages are welcome. See for details.


Can’t stand to wait another year for the next Halloween? Stretch the fun with the Dia de los Muertos art exhibit at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Dr. in Dallas. The free exhibit runs through November 12 during regular Bath House hours, Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. See for information.

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