Visiting the Dallas Arboretum (a homeschool must-see)
The Dallas Arboretum is an amazing DFW resource for homeschoolers. With a children’s garden, STEM events, discovery lab, science experiments, homeschool days, and more, it’s a must-see for anyone visiting Dallas, TX.
This post is not sponsored. I wish it was! I simply wanted to start sharing posts about our homeschool field trips so other homeschoolers in the DFW area can see what all the city has to offer their kids.
Our unexpected move to Dallas this past Summer was bittersweet. I was heartbroken about the loss of our chickens, our sweet pet duck, and the neighborhood that we had been raising the kids in since my oldest was one year old. Of course, we’re still only about 35 minutes from our old area, but it was still really hard on all of us.
But, once we moved to northeast Dallas, we quickly realized how much better it was going to be for everyone. The amount of homeschool resources up here is insane! We’re close to a ton of museums and meetup spots, including the Dallas Arboretum.
When I first started planning a trip to the Arboretum, we were pretty tight on money still from the move. It was very affordable, which was nice. I do plan on buying a yearly membership so we can visit anytime and take advantage of some of the other benefits.
The more I looked into the Arboretum, the more I was impressed. It wasn’t just a beautiful place to go for a walk with the kids. They had events, science experiments, and all kinds of fun and educational things for the kids.
Visiting the Dallas Arboretum (a homeschool must-see)
What’s at the Dallas Arboretum
According to the website, there are over 66 acres of land, with several different gardens.
Gardens at the Dallas Arboretum:
- Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden
- A Tasteful Place
- The Trammell Crow Visitor Education Pavilion
- Margaret Elizabeth Jonsson Color Garden
- A Woman’s Garden
- Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill
- The Lyda Bunker Hunt Paseo de Flores
- Boswell Family Garden
- McCasland Sunken Garden
- The Eugenia Leftwich Palmer Fern Dell
- The Nancy Clements Seay Magnolia Glade
- Nancy’s Garden
- Crape Myrtle Allee
- The Chandler Lindsley Shadow Garden
- Pecan Grove
- The Martha Brooks Camellia Garden
- DeGolyer Gardens
- Lay Family Garden
- Rose Garden
- Val Late Garden of Memories
- The Trial Gardens
Resources for Homeschoolers at the Dallas Arboretum
The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden
The children’s garden is full of things for your homeschooler to do, even just on normal days with no events planned. While planning your trip, be sure to check out the calendar so you can catch the STEM stops, labs, and more.
An overview of activities and things to do here:
- Walne Family Discovery Lab
- STEM Stops
- The Glade Puppet Show
- Live Science Show
Places in the Children’s Adventure Garden:
- Entry Plaza
- First Adventure
- The Incredible Edible Garden
- The Orchard and Vineyard
- Plants are Alive
- The Oasis
- Texas Skywalk
- Pure Energy
- Living Cycles
- Earth Cycles
- The Walk on the Wild Side
- Exploration Center with Omniglobe
- Amazing Secret Garden
Walne Family Discovery Lab
“The Walne Family Discovery Lab is a unique, in-depth opportunity to experience hands-on STEM learning in the Exploration Center. Stop by the counter and try your hand at daily experiments and explorations led by an experienced Arboretum educator. With multiple chances to learn each day and rotating experiments every week, there’s always something new to learn. Please note that the Walne Family Discovery Lab is for ages 6 & up.”
They have different themes, so be sure to check the website if you want to know what’s going on before your trip. For instance, this week the main science experiment is about acid rain, and how it breaks down the earth. Last week it was about light refraction.
“STEM Stops are your chance to stop and experience in-depth science and STEM learning in the Children’s Adventure Garden! Join facilitators throughout various galleries as they share fun experiments and real scientific specimens for you to explore that relate to the topic of each gallery. STEM Stops are “come-n-go,” so each experience is guided by YOU and your discovery journey.”
The STEM stops are also updated every week! Some examples include:
- Pond investigations
- Lifecycle of a frog
- Wind Energy
- Making a Cloud Viewer
- Studying Texas Snakes
- Paper Airplane Fun
- Bird Beaks
- Water Cycle Games
“The OmniGlobe is an “out of this world” experience in the Exploration Center you’ll have to see to believe! This six-foot sphere is illuminated by two projectors inside which can create expansive images of planets, the Sun, and even the Earth’s weather patterns, ocean currents and so much more. Take a midday cool-off break and join us at 11:30am daily for OmniOutlook, featuring current weather or space events.”
The Glade Puppet Show
“The Glade Puppet Show is a fun, interactive performance designed for learners ages 7 and under. Explore grade-level appropriate topics such as seasons, metamorphosis, habitats, and more as you meet Arboretum Andy and their crew of furry friends from around the Children’s Adventure Garden.”
Live Science Show
“The Live Science Show will blow you away – literally! Join us in Incredible Edible as presenters share exciting STEM experiments and performances about everything from physics to chemistry and beyond. Designed for elementary to adult, your entire family will enjoy this show-stopping adventure.”
Read more about the Children’s Garden HERE
The Dallas Arboretum has different homeschool series depending on the time of year. Read about the Homeschool Programs HERE.
The Fall 2021 Homeschool Program Lineup:
- It’s a Bug’s Life (Ages 8-12)
- Science of Pumpkins (Ages 5-12)
- 12 Days STEM Walk (Ages 5-12)
Free Garden at-Home STEM Lessons
- Blow Up a Butterfly!
- Book of Leaves
- ‘Mama’ Spider Sculpture
- Matisse Prints du Soleil
- Painted Quilt Story
- and more
There are Summer camps every year. This past year my kids were too young, but I saw local moms taking their homeschoolers to the discovery lab once a week for a science experiment/class.
During festivals held at the Dallas Arboretum, there are programs specifically for kids, like “Mommy and Me Mondays,” and “Tiny Tot Tuesdays,” with face painting, petting zoos, music, and more.
Dallas Arboretum Events
There are all kinds of different events depending on the time of year. I couldn’t begin to name all of them, but some things I’ve seen on the website include:
- Cooking classes
- Cool Thursday Concert Series
- Tour de Fleurs
- Pepper Palooza
- Watercolor Workshops
- Tea Time
- Horticulture Classes
- STEM Events for Parents and Kids
- Community Science: All About Ants
- Girl Scout Overnight
- Homeschool Days
- And so much more
They also like to have local vendors out. For instance, this Summer they had “Frozen Fridays,” with frozen treats.
Tips for visiting the Dallas Arboretum
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Park at Gate 1 and walk straight to the right and stay in that direction to hit the Children’s Garden.
- Order tickets online. Because of COVID, you can’t order tickets at the actual booths right now.
- While ordering your tickets, go ahead and pay for the parking and the Children’s garden admission, or you’ll get turned away at the children’s area.
- Pack a lunch and eat in front of the Discovery Lab.
- Bring plenty of water.
- Bring bug spray and sunscreen.
- If your kids are 6 or under, I highly recommend bringing a swimsuit. The Children’s Adventure Garden has a splashpad and really fun water features in the “First Adventure Area.” (Speaking of which, that’s my kid’s favorite area).
What to Pack for the Dallas Arboretum
- Plenty of cold water
- A set of extra clothes for the kids
- Bug spray
Some pictures from our visits to the Dallas Arboretum
The Omniglobe is super fun for the kids! We didn’t even make it to a showing, and it was still amazing to see.
The Discovery Lab is beautiful! It’s a great place to cool off (or warm up), and even without an event or experiment going on, it’s fascinating. There are all kinds of ways for your kids to explore nature.
You can look at these items under a microscope.
Walking to the Children’s Garden from Gate 1 is beautiful and gave us all some much-needed exercise. The kids do get pretty tired on the walk back, but it’s good!
Of course, Marshall has to stop to smell every single flower on the way.
Lunchtime in front of the Discovery Lab.
“First Adventure” in the Children’s Garden.
More from the Children’s Garden.
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