Friday, February 14, 2014

Totally Texas -- Celebrate our first prez at Arboretum

When we need a little bit of spring right now, the Dallas Arboretum obliges with a burst of festivity for Monday's President's Day holiday.  The theme is "America the Beautiful."  And since we're also the land of the free and the home of the brave, the Arboretum grants free entry Monday to the brave, at least those brave who are active or retired military. Or just be beautiful (isn’t everybody?) and you can enter the Dallas Arboretum Monday, February 17, for the President’s Day sale price of $5. (Although popularly called President’s Day, the February federal holiday officially recognizes George Washington, born 282 years ago next week.)

It’s a holiday for many area schools, and if your family is anything like mine, you’re desperate to get the kids out of the house after all the bad weather-enforced togetherness this winter. This time of year, I’m often nervous when blogging about outdoor activities, fearing a sudden sleet storm will make my post as obsolete as knee breeches and powdered wigs. However, so far, the weather channel is smiling on Monday, in fact, on this entire weekend.

Any day now, you can stroll the grounds of the Arboretum, enjoying the seasonal color of pansies, wallflowers, violets, and ornamental greenery. But come Monday to get a preview of the spring Dallas Blooms festival at special admission prices. Children age two and under always get in free, but Monday only, everyone enters for $5 (compared to the usual $15 for adults, $10 for kids three and up). Or, if you’re an active or retired service member, bring your identification and get in free. You still have to pay for parking, but discounted $5 parking is available online at

The Arboretum, at 8252 Garland Road in Dallas, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except for some late-year holidays. Special child-friendly activities for President’s Day, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., include face painting, a petting zoo with small and gentle farm animals, kids costume contest (dressed like the president of your choice), and presidential trivia contests.

Kids and adults can enjoy patriotic music in the entry plaza and on the Rutchik Stage, scavenger hunt through the gardens, or feast on $1 hot dogs, popcorn and cherry pie.

It’s still too early to get pictures with the Arboretum’s many cherry trees. So pose the kids with such Arboretum landmarks as the decorative urns illustrating this post, or the new peacock topiaries on the lawn in the Jonsson Color Garden. Please note also that the Children’s Adventure Garden, currently undergoing maintenance, will not reopen for the season until the first day of Dallas Blooms, February 22.


Can’t wait until Monday for kid-friendly fun? Try the Dallas Zoo, with admission slashed to $5 for Penguin Days (free for ages two and younger) through February 28. See

Or the Butterfly House Discovery Tour Saturday starting at 11 a.m., with butterfly release at noon, $8 for adults (twelve and over), $4 for ages 3-11. You can also explore daily on your own, with daily noon butterfly release. See

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