Friday, November 14, 2014

Totally Texas -- 12 Days of Christmas at Dallas Arboretum

For more than a month, we visitors to the Dallas Arboretum have speculated about its newest holiday exhibit, the 12 Days of Christmas. Yes, there were what looked like gaily-colored carousels scattered around the gardens, their interiors tantalizingly hidden, although I spotted a small truck carrying the statue of a dairy cow through the grounds in mid-October. And we’re all familiar with the song lyrics that count through the twelve days of the traditional festival of Christmas.

This Sunday, November 16, our questions will be answered at last. Actually, visitors this past Sunday got a sneak peek at two of the days in their full glory¾ the five golden rings and the two calling birds, which is when I snapped the photo that illustrates this post. The contents of some of the others were also visible, their inner working still being tweaked.

I knew the results would be spectacular. After all, this is the Dallas Arboretum. But from what I’ve seen so far, they exceed my expectations. Life-size seals (and polar bear) juggling golden hoops. Black and white swans surrounding a crystal fountain. Costumed figures of milkmaids milking, yes, that cow and her friends.

I had had a slight fear that the music accompanying these exhibits would be the ubiquitous “12 Days of Christmas.” Thank goodness, it isn’t. Expect all your favorite secular carols as the exhibits within each red and green gazebo twirl through their paces.

I’ve already made plans to attend with friends who, small grandchildren in tow, are looking for a two-fer¾ the 12 Days exhibit as well as an Arboretum still decked in its autumn glory of Pumpkin Village, Cinderella’s coach and storybook pumpkin houses.

For daytime visitors, the 12 Days of Christmas is included in the Arboretum’s regular admission cost: $15 for non-member adults; $10 for children ages 3-12; free for children under age 3. Parking is $10 for non-members. But see for $5
parking and other discounts, including free day or night admission December 7 for active or retired military members. The Arboretum is located at 8525 Garland Road.

The Arboretum will also be open on selected evenings to give visitors the full effect of the lighted exhibits. Evening admission is $12 for adult members, $20 for adult non-members. See the Arboretum’s site for full ticket prices. The cost of parking is included with nighttime admission.

In case the Arboretum’s main lot is full, overflow parking on weekends is available at a new parking garage across Garland Road from the entry to the Children’s Adventure Garden. An underground tunnel leads from the garage to the ticket booth at the Children’s Garden, where staff may accept admission to the main garden and its exhibits.

Afraid of rain or worse precipitation? The Arboretum’s rain check policy guarantees another free entry, with a full-paid original ticket, if rain interrupts your visit. Tickets are issued at the ticket booth on the day of the rain interruption only. Please see the Arboretum’s website for additional limitations.

The 12 Days of Christmas exhibit lingers through January 4. But don’t wait too long. All good things come to an end. Even Christmas.

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