Gary Lee Price, A Great Contributor

DABS is ready for Summer!
DABS is ready for Summer!


One of my favorite things about Dallas Blooms was most definitely Gary Lee Price’s Great Contributor Sculptures.  Well, guess what, they’re still here!

Complimentary Lecture

I made several visits to Blooms this year, but one of my favorites was the media day for Gary Lee Price, so I was thrilled when I received an email letting me know he was coming for another visit.  I made reservations for the lecture and this time I invited Bill along, because I thought he’d enjoy getting to know this wonderful artist.

Saturday dawned a bit chilly and overcast, but that did not deter us.  At the lecture, the artist covered some of the same ground we’d covered on media day, but when he launched into future projects, we got very excited.  The same guy who designed the life-sized statues of Great Contributors now gracing the grounds of the Arboretum has a new project in the wings and it is a lot bigger than life-sized.

With Liberty Comes Responsibility

There’s something big about to happen on the West Coast and you can be a part of it.  The East Coast has Lady Liberty and the West Coast is going to have the Statue of Responsibility.

The artist loves his Great Contributors project and has plans to expand it with life-sized statues devoted to great female contributors, but he’s also very, very excited about the prospects of creating the 300-foot-tall Statue of Responsibility.  His inspiration came from author Viktor Frankl , a Holocaust survivor who believed true Liberty must go hand in hand with Responsibility.

On a trip to Vienna to get the blessing of Frankl’s widow on the project, Gary Lee Price took along his prototype of a statue depicting one arm reaching up for help clasped by another arm, there to offer assistance.  When it was revealed to Mrs. Frankel she was overcome with emotion.  She led the artist into her husband’s study.  There one the wall was a drawing Mr. Frankel had procured shortly after his release from the concentration camps.  The picture showed a hand reaching up for help, but no help could be found.  That picture was the inspiration for his life’s work and the artist had captured the idea of it without ever having met Mr. Frankel.  The widow felt as if her husband’s dream was coming true.

By visiting the Statue of Responsibility website you can find our all about the project and discover several ways to participate in the raising of this beautiful monument, which represents an even more wonderful idea.  An idea whose time has come, according to Leesa Clark-Price, the artists lovely wife and Executive Director of the Responsibility Foundation.

But What About the Arboretum

After the lecture, the artist led us on walking tour and shared his thoughts about each of the statues.  The exhibit deserves more than one visit, because each time you view them you can you gain more insight into the depth of the subjects’ personalities and the greatness of the artist’s genius.  The good news is that the Great Contributors Exhibit will be at the Arboretum through November 27th.

The garden itself deserves frequent visits.  I’ve already been several times this year and each visit has had it’s own flavor.  The first time I was overwhelmed by the fragrance of blooming flowers and bright colors of spring.  The next visit was devoted to the Great Contributors and even though that visit was only a few days later, more flowers had bloomed and a change in the weather to the better made everything look fresh and new.  A few weeks later I was there again.  The azaleas had blossomed and the trees had become green.

And don’t forget to visit the gift shop when you’re there. This guy followed us home and took up residence by the pond.

I have continued to make visits and bring friends.  Each time the garden has amazed me with new things to discover.  I noticed this time that the bright oranges and yellows of spring have been replaced with purples surprisingly matched with every contrasting color imaginable.  You really do need to see it to appreciate it – and the rose arbor is blooming!

Unfortunately, Saturday started out as a dreary day and while the Arboretum was as beautiful as always, photographing it was a bit of a challenge, so we just grabbed a few shots on our way out.  The sun teased us with the idea  of it coming out, and we thought about staying and watching Mr. Price do a little sculpting in the garden, but Bill was wishing for a Sonic burger.  So we picked up our new metal friend and headed to the drive-in.

On Wednesday, I’ll talk about the population aboard our latest cruise and on Friday you’ll find out how I dropped the ball on my youthful trip to El Paso, Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands.  For now I’ll leave you with some pictures from the garden, but do come back to visit.

Mr. Lincoln and his sculptor friend, Gary Lee Price
Mr. Lincoln and his sculptor friend, Gary Lee Price
Roses under the arbor
Roses under the arbor





ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Gardens, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Gary Lee Price’s Great Contributors at DABS

Recognize this Great Contributor?
Recognize this Great Contributor?


The theme of this year’s Blooms is The Artistry in Nature.  To complement Nature’s accomplishments, the arboretum is featuring an exhibit of great artistry in bronze sculpture by Gary Lee Price.  Great Contributors is the name of the artist’s collection.  I know this is supposed to be At Home in Heath day, but I couldn’t wait to share these wonderful fellows. Come along with me and search among the flowers for the charming works of art.

Meet the Fam!

When the Arboretum issues an invitation I show up.  When I got two invitations for the same week, a media preview and a press conference, part of me wondered why they didn’t just have the press conference on the same day as the media preview, but I RSVP’d for both and put them on the calendar.

Media Preview Day Refreshments. Thanks DABS.
Media Preview Day Refreshments. Thanks DABS.

The media day was a lot of fun and I got some great pictures.  I thought the husband would join me for the Saturday press conference, but he decided against it at the last minute – bad choice.  When I wandered into the garden, I was escorted to an area near the DeGolyer Mansion.  I’m always glad to see VP of Advertising and Promotions, Teri Lindecker, even when I’ve just seen her a couple of days before.  Then she introduced me to Isaiah Price, the sculpture’s son and I realized this was going to be a great event.

Isaiah Price with one of the artists works in progress
Isaiah Price with one of the artist’s works in progress

Isaiah runs the business side of the artist’s operation.  Gary does the creating and Isaiah does everything else.  Gary Lee Price uses the lost wax process to create his sculptures.  Once Gary has a clay model ready for casting, Isaiah gets busy with their crew to turn it into a bronze sculpture.  Many individual pieces are cast that eventually are joined to made one whole statue.  Isaiah does a lot more than just oversee the casting process.  He also does the books, manages the staff, delivers the finished products and manages the money.

The Press Conference Proper 

All lined up and ready to speak
All lined up and ready to speak

After I chatted with Isaiah and his wife Sharee for a few moments, the artist came by looking for his phone.  Isaiah hopped to it and started looking.  Luckily, the phone was found and the press conference began.

Before getting to the artist, I’d like to give props to the guy in the tie.  He’s from Bank of America and they are the majority corporate contributor to Blooms.  I just want to say thank you very much to them and to tell all of you to go deposit your money in Bank of America – right now.  I support companies that support the arts.

Honest Abe and the artist

Finally, we got to hear from the artist himself.  He was charming and articulate.  He obviously loves what he does and enjoys sharing it with others.  Apparently he’s gotten a lot of flack from the fact that all eight Great Contributors at the arboretum are male.  His plan for the series is to have 10 men and 10 women and he’s just now getting started on the ladies.  His first lady will be Oprah Winfrey, if she approves his model.  With Great Contributors like Mother Theresa and Sacagawea among his planned works, I don’t know if I approve of where he decided to begin, but he’s the artist, not me!

After telling us about his process, he demonstrated how he works. He starts out by creating a teeny tiny little model and keeps making bigger ones until he gets to life-size.  The clay he uses is oil-based and was developed by the auto industry for designing cars.  However, these days most sculptors choose it over the old-fashioned water-based clay, because the oil-based clay never sets up and they can keep on working on it, even years later.

I had asked Isaiah what form their bronze came to them.  I was right when I guessed that it came to them in ingots.  However, I didn’t realize that when they melt it down they also melt leftover scraps from other sculptures.  I also remarked on the pleasant smile on Honest Abe’s face, which is so different from the stern or utterly exhausted look he usually has. Both Isaiah and Gary commented that the smile was definitely on purpose.  The artist wanted to portray Mr. Lincoln in an easy-going appealing manner.  He wants all of his sculptures to be approachable, especially since they are seated on park benches and are supposed to be selfie-friendly.

Here’s the rest of the Great Contributors you should look for at the arboretum.  Think of locating them among the floral displays as a sort of artistic scavenger hunt.   Along with Mark Twain above and President Lincoln, you will see Benjamin Franklin, William Shakespeare, George Washington, Claude Monet, the Wright Brothers and Albert Einstein.  I’ll warn you that The Bard is the hardest one to find, but by far my favorite.

I also wanted to share a few shots of Mr. Price at work.

And finally, if you’re thinking Mr. Price’s work looks familiar, well maybe it’s because we actually have our very own Gary Lee Price original right at the Arboretum.  Nancy’s Garden was one of my mom’s favorite places at the Arboretum, because Mr. Price’s sculpture reminded her of my sister and I.  Enjoy this shot of the art work and come back soon for more fun things happening in the Metroplex.




ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Gardens, Road Trips, Shopping, TRAVEL

Dallas Arboretum Blooms in Color


This past weekend marked the beginning of BLOOMS at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society (DABS). Over the next few weeks, hordes of visitors will make their way to the Arboretum to see the most spectacular gardens of the year.  As Teri Lendecker, VP of Advertising and Promotions, said at last week’s media day, “It’s showtime!”

A Picture May Be Worth 1000 Words, BUT…

These pictures may blow you away, but they are merely a shadow of the remarkable experience waiting for you at the Arboretum during Blooms.  Thankfully, glorious weather was a fortuitous addition to my visit. The extravagant floral displays were a feast for the eyes, but my eyes weren’t the only senses reeling.  As I stepped through the entrance I could immediately smell the delicate aroma of hyacinth and daffodils floating on the breeze and the fragrant notes of spring followed me around the garden.

Looking for breakfast
Looking for breakfast

As I immersed myself in the experience, my ears tuned into the symphony of the wind in the garden.  Magnolia leaves rattled and sighed.  Crape myrtle trees clicked out a tattoo with their bare limbs.  Tiny limbs on Japanese maples seems to divide the breeze into a shrill whistle.

Soon I noticed the chattering waters features gossiping around me.  Squirrels warned me to keep my distance and a dove hopped ahead of me cooing to others about my intrusion.  Mingling with these pleasant sounds were human voices.  Children giggled at the fuzziness of a plant.  A mother encouraged a small child to imagine a bee’s workday.  A grandmother interviewed her grandchild about a play date.

Mark Twain by Gary Lee Price
Mark Twain by Gary Lee Price

Bottom line?  You have to go enjoy this marvelous opportunity in Nature for yourself.  I’m going to share some more pictures with you at the bottom of this article to whet your appetite, but there are more than just pretty flowers to see.  Sprinkled around the grounds are amazing sculptures by Gary Lee Price, but since I had the opportunity to meet him a few days after the media event and have much to share about his intriguing art, you’re going to have to wait until later to hear all about him.

I could keep raving all day, but I’ll let those photos speak for themselves.  Dallas Blooms: Artistry in Nature will be glowing until April 10th.  Do not miss it!

Oh, by the way, did I mention the shopping opportunities?






ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Gardens, Museums, Music, Performing Arts, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Visit Dallas HolidayUpdate


For folks dripping in family, the holidays become a blur  of Christmas recitals and family dinners.  For those of us with slimmer pickings in the family department, the holidays can make us feel a little left out.  Well, if you live in or around Dallas, there is no need to feel left out.  Dallas can keep you busier than a month of Christmases.  In a recent email from Stefanie Faulk of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau  I found an amazing list of things to do.  Find something that suits your fancy and get out there:

Special Exhibitions and Christmas Displays

Dallas Art District and Downtown

  • Pollack Party 001 Dallas Museum of Art (Now through May 20) Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots – This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, only the third major U.S. museum exhibition to focus solely on the artist hailed as “the greatest painter this country has ever produced,” is the largest survey of Jackson Pollock’s black paintings ever assembled. Exclusively on view in Dallas, it includes works that have not been exhibited for more than 50 years from an understudied yet pivotal period in the artist’s career. ALSO International
    At the Entry of the Exhibition
    At the Entry of the Exhibition

    Pop  – Take a step back in time. Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Roy Lichtenstein are just a few of the artists included in this historical survey that chronicles the global emergence of Pop art from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s. ALSO Spirit and Matter: Masterpieces from the Keir Collection of Islamic Art

    Detail from DMA brochure
    Detail from DMA brochure

    – This unprecedented exhibition, which critics have called “stunning,” showcases more than 50 historically important masterworks from the Keir Collection of Islamic Art, one of the world’s most significant and rarely exhibited private collections of Islamic art.

  • House of Alba BrochureMeadows Museum (Now – January 3) Treasures from the House of Alba: 500 Years of Art and Collecting –  For more than 500 years, the Alba family has formed part of the most important aristocratic lineages in Europe, amassing an unparalleled collection of art through the years. In this exhibit, the Meadows
    Museum presents some of the collection’s finest works, many of which have never been seen outside
    of the family’s private castles.
  •  03._Male_firefly_model_DF.3711 Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Now until February 21) Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence – Creatures of Light explores the magical world of “living light” – mesmerizing organisms with the ability to glow – from flickering fireflies and fluorescent mushrooms to sparkling deep-sea creatures.  From dinosaurs to DNA, unwrap your holiday curiosity at the Perot Museum.
  • GorlzkiCrow Collection of Asian Art (Now – March 20) Alexander Gorlizki: Variable Dimensions – This rich kaleidoscopic experience features works of art as diverse as embroidered handkerchiefs and plant-like hand-mirrors alongside exquisitely crafted paintings with obsessive floral and geometric patterns.
  • Holiday Cheer at Reunion Tower’s GeO-Deck (Now – December 21) – Santa, his elves and furry friends from the Dallas Zoo will spread holiday cheer from 470 feet in the air. Catch special sky-high appearances at the GeO-Deck as you enjoy the view from Dallas’ most iconic structure. Experience breathtaking 360-degree panoramic views, high-definition zoom cameras, interactive touch screens, telescopes, photo ops and an indoor/outdoor observation deck that lets you see for miles in any direction.
  • Downtown Wanderland (All Season Long) – Downtown Dallas, Inc. invites visitors and locals to wander through bright and bustling Downtown Dallas and explore the city’s great retail, restaurants and bars. Enjoy season-long programming featuring holiday pop-up shops, happy hours, photos with Santa, movie screenings and more.

On the East Side

  • Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden (Now until January 3) Holiday at the Arboretum
    And a Partridge in a Pear Tree
    And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

    – Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with the magnificent 12 Days of Christmas outdoor exhibit – twelve 25-foot Victorian-style gazebos with charming costumed characters, music and more – and The Artistry of the Nativity at the historic DeGolyer House. And enjoy a stroll through the gardens on select evenings, aglow with half a million twinkling lights.

  • George W. Bush Presidential Center (Now – January 3) A Season of Stories: Christmas at the White House 2003 –  Great stories have a way of bringing families together. A Season of Stories will offer visitors a glimpse into the magical White House celebrations of 2003, including a full-size reproduction of the official White House Christmas tree and delightful décor featuring beloved storybook characters.
  • NorthPark Center (Now – January 3) The Trains at NorthPark – benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas is the most elaborate miniature toy trains exhibit in Texas. More than 1,600 feet of track takes visitors on a journey across America, from New York City to the Golden Gate Bridge. Also Visits and Portraits with Santa – Capture memories of a lifetime with one-on-one visits and portraits with Santa Claus. Children feel right at home in Santa’s cozy living room, complete with a fireplace and holiday tree. Take photos with your own camera or purchase professional portraits by Marc Robins Photography!

On the West Side

  • Christmas at the Anatole (Now – December 23) This holiday season the legendary Hilton Anatole Hotel will transform in to a winter wonderland complete with dazzling décor and festive programming. Featuring
    breakfast with Santa, face painting, Christmas-themed scavenger hunts and more, the Hilton Anatole is your home for the holidays.
ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Gardens, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Christmas Gazebos Shine at Dallas Arboretum

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree


Christmas has arrived in the Metroplex.  I saw it first back in July in Town East’s At Home store.  Soon Costco was stocking its aisles with gift baskets.  Saturday I OD’ed on red and green at Plano’s ‘Neath the Wreath Holiday Gift Market.  However, it was the lighting of the Dallas Arboretum Christmas Tree on Sunday night which alerted me the season was officially off and running.

Second Year of 12 Days

Though this is the second year these glittering gazebos have graced the lawns of the Arboretum, I had not seem them yet.  Last December was lost in the haze of home-building.  Almost daily I reminded Bill I wanted to visit the Holiday at the Arboretum, but we didn’t make it.  When DABS invited me to a preview of this year’s gazebos, there was no way I was going to miss it.

Given the choice of a daytime or evening visit, I remembered my conversation with Caelie Dunn, MEd, Children’s Garden Public Program Manager,during a recent visit to her garden.  She remarked on the magical experience of seeing the gazebos shining in the darkness.  Her remark was based on last year’s gazebos and this year they added a half a million more lights!  I decided that’s the way I wanted to experience them for the first time and I was going to take my husband with me.

Initially, the media preview was set for a private viewing on Thursday night, but the weather intervened.  So bloggers and journalists were rolled into the very popular tree-lighting event.  What a crazy madcap evening!  Cars poured into the parking lot and throngs of people gravitated towards the entrance.  The line moved fast, but still, we were glad to make our way to the media table and bypass the crowd.  We stopped in the Education Pavilion so Bill could take advantage of the refreshments in the press room, then joined the crush of people headed toward Day One – A Partridge in a Pear Tree.

How Do You Choose a Favorite?

Seven Swans a-Swimming
Seven Swans a-Swimming

When we stepped up to the golden wonder of the Partridge in a Pear Tree Gazebo, I wondered why they’d chosen to start with the best.  As you can see from the photo, it was amazing.  However, I only thought it was the best gazebo, because I hadn’t seen the rest of them, yet.  Two turtledoves also glittered.  Three french hens – oooo la la! Four calling birds charmed.  Five golden rings enchanted.  And then there were the swans!

Along the way we took a gazebo break to watch the tree-lighting ceremony, but I’ve got to tell you, the tree in the Nine Ladies Dancing Gazebo out-wows the tree they officially lit.  After leaping with the lords, piping with the pipers and catching the drummers, we wandered back to visit the dancing ladies and the swans.  On the way out we admired the partridge again.  How do you choose a favorite?

Come to Our Christmas Garden

Yes, the Dallas Arboretum is all decked out for Christmas and will be through January 3rd, but the gazebos are just the beginning of the fun.  Through November 25th, the colorful Pumpkin Village of Autumn at the Arboretum will still be on exhibit.  The 300 creches of the Artistry of the Nativity in the Degolyer House will be on display during 12 Days.  The Gift Shop is full of unique items guaranteed to make you a popular Santa.  You can also enjoy Holiday Tea (a personal favorite), holiday themed classes and from time to time, Santa will even be there to greet you!  I’m sure I’ll be at the Arboretum several times over the next few weeks to see it all – during the day and at the special evening events.

But enough words!  You’re here to see the gazebos, right?  Well here you go!  Kudos to Mr. Bill for his photographic assist.  I’m fine with my phone and do well enough with my DSLR during the day, but I knew he’d get the best shots of this nighttime wonder.






ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Gardens, Road Trips, TRAVEL, WRITING

Win Free Tickets to the Dallas Arboretum

Win free tickets to the Dallas Arboretum for Twelve Days of Christmas
Win free tickets to the Dallas Arboretum for Twelve Days of Christmas


Three lucky people will win a pair of tickets to the Dallas Arboretum.  Read more to find out how!

So, it was blogger day at the Arboretum and they gave me free passes with with parking included.  I was ever so grateful, but I’m a member so I always have free entry and parking at the Arboretum.  As I walked through the gardens, I saw them putting up the Twelve Days of Christmas gazebos and I knew what I was going to do with the tickets.  I was going to share them with my blogging friends.

How to Win

The more social media love you give me, the more chances you’ll have to win a pair of tickets to DABS.  Each of the activities below will get you an entry:

  • Like this blog post
  • Share this blog post on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Google+ or Pinterest (1 entry for each share)
  • Comment on this post
  • Follow this blog (if you don’t already)

I’ll collect entries all week.  I will give one pair of tickets to whoever gives me the most social media love (in the case of a tie, there will be a drawing).  Then I’ll put all the entries in a hat to draw the other two winners.  I’ll announce the winners right here on October 26th.  I hope it is you!!


ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Gardens, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden

Welcome to the Rory Meyers Children Adventure Garden
Welcome to the Rory Meyers Children Adventure Garden


A recent Thursday was Blogger Day at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society.  I’d been to the Media Day just a couple of weeks ago so I’d seen the pumpkins, but this invitation offered me something else – entry to the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.  I decided to go check it out.

A Garden of Gardens20151008_101638

The Dallas Arboretum (DABS) is actually two different places under one umbrella.  There’s the Arboretum we all know and love.  The one with the DeGolyer House, Cool Thursday Concerts, Autumn at the Arboretum, Blooms and Holiday at the Arboretum.  Then there’s a whole ‘nother garden that you may or may not even realize is there.  Or if your age is still in single digits, you may think the garden with the DeGolyer House is the OTHER garden, because you’re all about the Children’s Adventure Garden.

See back in 2013 DABS introduced the Rory Meyer’s Children’s Adventure Garden to the world.  I just happened to be at the garden that weekend and wandered in.  It was late in the day and I gave it a cursory once over.  Since I don’t have kids I didn’t return, especially since there’s an additional entry charge for it, but I had a sneaky suspicion that I might be missing something.

Heres Caelie on the Moody Oasis
Here’s Caelie on the Moody Oasis

Was I ever!  On Blogger Day I had the opportunity to tour the garden with Caelie Dunn, MEd, Children’s Garden Public Program Manager.  If you have kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews or just small people you enjoy, then you need to get to this garden.  It’s a Disney-esque adventure into gardening for kids of all ages.

As Caelie took me through the garden all I could think of was my Dad.  I lost him before the garden opened, but his favorite part of Epcot was Living With the Land.  He would have loved the Children’s Adventure Garden, because it’s a lot bigger and more hands-on.  You will, too, so come along with me.

Welcome to Blogger Day

After five years of blogging, I’m finally on the map.  There are all kinds of stories out there about people who start a blog one day and suddenly find themselves thrust upon on the world stage.  That wasn’t me and it’s not most bloggers.  Most of us have a circle of friends in the double digits who enjoy reading our posts.  Here’s a secret, most of us write because we can’t help ourselves – the readers are a bonus.  Here’s another secret, most of the readers of blogs are other bloggers.  I still remember when my followers reached the three digit mark.  (Throws confetti!)  Nowadays about twenty people a day drop by my blog and that’s enough to keep me going.  It’s also enough to get on the map.  I’m what they call an influencer.

With the rise of social media it’s not enough for an organization to have great advertising.  They also need a substantial social media network.  They build that network by connecting with other people in social media – people like me who connect with people like you.  (For an even better connection, you should checkout my contest for a pair of free tickets to the Arboretum.  Click here!)

So, the Arboretum invited me to come take a look at the gardens and as a bonus they threw in free admission.  Since I’m a member, that wasn’t a draw for me, but the offer of getting some first hand information on a part of the garden I’m unfamiliar with?  Well, I blocked out the morning and made my reservation.

Old Home Week at DABS

I’ve only been blogging for a few years, but I’ve been loving Dallas for decades.  I once belonged to several young professionals groups supporting the arts, like The PM League at the Dallas Museum of Art and Voce Forte of The Dallas Opera.  Nowadays I’m closer to senior citizens discounts than meeting the age qualifications for young professional groups, but I still love the DMA and the Opera.

I was welcomed to Blogger Day by Terry Lendecker, Vice President of Advertising and Promotions.  I seemed familiar to her, so we played the where-do-I-know-you-from game.  We made the Voce Forte connection pretty quickly.  The sparkling eyes and bright smile reminded me of all the fun I used to have behind-the-scenes at TDO.  Terry led Voce Forte for awhile before I left for my sojourn in California and it’s good to know the Arboretum is in such competent hands.

Terry introduced me to Caelie.  My love affair with the Rory Meyer’s Children’s Adventure Garden was about to begin.

20151008_101345Love is Infectious 

I’m already predisposed to loving everything at DABS.  My wonderful mother was devoted to it with all her heart, clocking hundreds of volunteer hours every year for at least two decades.  I caught my affection for the gardens from her.  With a pre-existing heart condition related to the Arboretum, it didn’t take long for Caelie’s love of the Children’s Adventure Garden to rub off on me.

As we strolled from the entry area to the children’s garden it was easy to tell we shard a bond.  We chatted about the pumpkins and commented on the Christmas gazebos going up.  We were soon discussing how important volunteers are to the gardens.  Our first stop was the koi pond in the Lay Family Garden, where I discovered Fridays are feeding days and quite popular with the kiddos.

The Rory Meyer’s Children’s Adventure Garden

After the obligatory picture of the entryway sporting pumpkins on its spirals we headed over to The First Adventure.  It’s not only the first area you come to, it’s designed as an educational entry point for the youngest of visitors.  Educator-led activities scaled down to toddlers and pre-schoolers allow them to get their fingers dirty with crafts and other hands-on activities.  There’s a petting garden – yes I said petting garden – for exploring the garden by touch.  A fountain offers a refreshing splash on warm days.  All around are things to climb on, in, over and around.  There’s even a kiosk of computer screens to keep big brothers and sisters busy while the youngest ones explore their own glade.

As we continued through the garden one thing made a huge impression on me.  This garden is designed for engagement.  Touch here, feel this, smell that, climb up, slide down, dive in!  Every sense is encouraged to participate.  The garden is also sneaky.  While the kiddos (of whatever age) think they are just having fun, volumes of knowledge about our world trickles down to that place where you never forget the first time you touched the seeds in a pod of okra or watched something blow up in a lab or stood in a wind tunnel.

I kept thinking, this is not only Disney-up-close-and-personal; this is better than Disney!

Traveling to Walt Disney World is an amazing adventure, but its way over in Florida, costs a fortune and chances are kids walk away with their memory of Mickey Mouse overshadowing what they may have learned along the way.  I love me some Walt Disney World, but I’m amazed that right here in my own city we have an attraction that runs off and leaves Mickey in the dust.

DABS Children scheduleOne day of Mickey for one child costs $97 and that’s after you’ve paid to get there and for someplace to stay. Let’s not even get into food and souvenirs.  A year of DABS and the Children’s Adventure Garden for up to six people (including parking!) is only $175.  New math, old math or counting on your fingers and toes, this is a bargain.  What’s more your kids will love it over and over again, because each day is full of new and exciting adventures.  Here’s the schedule the day I was there.  Please excuse the wrinkles.

Time for Me to Go

I’ve overstayed my welcome today, but with blogger day, running into an old friend and making a new one, I had a lot to tell you.  Keep coming by, there’s always a lot to see and do.  Before you go, here’s a few more photos I took around the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.

Architecture, ART, Attractions, Decorative Arts, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Gardens, Museums, Music, Performing Arts, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Autumn Activities in Dallas TX

The New Big Tex
The New Big Tex


I may have moved across the lake from my hometown, but I’m still very much the Dallasite.  I recently got an email blast from Stephanie Faulk ( Public Relations /Outreach Manager for the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.  The correspondence spelled out some of my favorite things to do around Dallas. Allow me to share a few.

The State Fair of Texas – Today – October 18

You had me at Fletcher’s Corny Dogs!  I have always loved the fair.  I go every year.  My husband is not as fascinated with it as I am, so it’s a good thing my bestie is.  We make a day of it.

First order of business is a corny dog – then I repeat whenever the opportunity presents itself.  That means I don’t eat much else.  The fair is famous for fried things, but I don’t want to waste my calories.  I know I’m not going to like anything as much as I do the corny dogs and I have to get enough of them to last me all year.

Part of my love for the fair is nostalgia.  I go through each building as if it were required by some divinely assigned task.  I look at the new cars, test drive recliners, listen to pitches for gadgets, gawk at handicrafts, admire photographs, smell livestock, listen to music, sample goodies, walk down the Midway and sometimes even ride something.

Fair day is one of my favorite days of the whole year.  Don’t miss your fair day!

DAB Autumn11292014Autumn at the Arboretum – Now until November 25

I may go to the fair one day every year, but I go to the Arboretum much more frequently.  Not as often as I’d like, but that’s life.  I’ve been during the best days of Autumn in the Arboretum and Blooms, but I’also been there on chilly days in February.  I don’t think there is a bad day to visit the arboretum.  Even if it is pouring rain there’s a tram to deliver you to the DeGolyer House for a tour.

Ms. Faulk reported that folks voted Autumn at the Arboretum one of “America’s Best Pumpkin Festivals” in  Fodor’s Travel 2014.  With more the 75000 pumpkins dressing the garden up for fall, who can blame them.  Kids of all ages love to see the spectacular fall display and gorgeous gardens.  Put it on your calendar.

Meadows Museum Hosts Treasures from the House of Alba – until January 3rd 

I’m ashamed to admit how infrequently I visit the Meadows Museum on the SMU campus.  With so many attractions and events to distract me it’s not hard to understand why the quiet little Spanish Museum gets forgotten.  However, the museum itself is a wonder of architecture with its grand staircase and the works of art it holds are gorgeous.

If like me you’ve been neglecting the Meadows, now is the time to rectify that.  One hundred and thirty works from three spectacular palaces will be on hand, including works by Van Gogh, Goya and Renoir – to name just a few.  This will be the first time this private collection will be leaving Spain.  What a marvelous opportunity to see these masterworks of decorative arts and painting.

Other Exciting Opportunities

These wonderful events barely scratch the surface of things to do this fall in Dallas.  A survey of Jackson Pollack‘s works will be at the Dallas Museum of Art beginning in November and staying through March.  And speaking of modern art, on October 16, downtown Dallas will be turned into a wonderland of light, video, sound, performance and projection by some of the world’s best contemporary interactive artists in an extravaganza called Aurora.  Following this man-made light show, the Perot Museum will be showing off some of Mother Natures most amazing creations in Creatures of Light: Natures Bioluminescence.

If Dallas is your hometown, please take advantage of these wonderful opportunities.  If you don’t live here, then it’s time for you to come visit.

ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Gardens, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Autumn at the Arboretum 2015

It's all about the Pumpkins!
It’s all about the Pumpkins!


Friday I got a sneak peek at the Dallas Arboretum all dressed up in its Fall finery.  Autumn at the Arboretum started Saturday and will continue until November 25.  You don’t want to miss this one.

It’s All About the Pumpkins

The Fall Festival at our Dallas Arboretum is something special, but you don’t have to believe me.  Ask Fodor’s Travel.  They say it’s one of “America’s Best Pumpkin Festivals.”  Or go and check it out yourself.  It won’t take you long to know why Dallasites and visitors alike flock to DABS this time of year.

This year’s theme is “Everything’s Bigger in Texas” so they’ve recreated an Old Texas Town in Pecan Grove, but they built it with pumpkins.  You can visit the General Store, the Post Office, the Blacksmith and the Jail.  There’s a covered wagon and a Cinderella Carriage.  There’s even a creek for gold mining.

Supplementing the pumpkin count this year are squash and gourds.  All told there are 75000 in 52 varieties.One of my favorite things in Pecan Grove is an area where they have put out samples of each variety and put up signs with their names.  When it comes to corn there are 1500 ears of corn and 1200 corn stalks.  Throughout the garden you’ll find 150,000 blooming flowers and plants.

Shopping opportunities at the Gift Shop
Shopping opportunities at the Gift Shop

Plenty to Do for Kids of All Ages

Kids are going to love the Pecan Grove.  You can let them loose to wander,imagine and play.  However, during the festival there are activities for everyone.  Here’s a sampling:

  • Harvest Teas – 11AM & 2 PM, Mondays – Fridays Restaurant DeGolyer
  • Mommy & Me Mondays & Tiny Tot Tuesdays with petting zoo, nature crafts and more
  • Oktoberfest Garten – at Cafe’ on the Green
  • Live Music – Piano Melodies by Keith Schmorr( daily 11-2), Garden Melodies (Weekends 10-4), Spanish Guitar (Sats noon-4 & Suns 1-4), Cool Thursday Concerts
  • and more and more and more
Did I mention there was food?
Did I mention there was food?

Ways to Save

General admission to the garden is $15, but there are discounts galore:

  • $1 off tickets at Tom Thumb
  • BOGO Wednesdays
  • Senior Thursdays ($11 senior tickets & 20% discount gift shop
  • State Fair Ticket Discount during fair  ($2 off with 2015 State Fair admission stub)
  • Red River Shoot Out on Texas-OU Weekend  ($5 off with UT or OU gear)
  • Family Fun Oct 24-25 (Adults in costumes pay kids price)
  • Dallas Food Bank Nov 2-6 ($1 off for cans of food up to $5)
  • Veterans Day Nov 11( Veterans, Active Duty Military & first Responders, free with ID)
  • Teachers & Educators (Complimentary admission with ID)

Absolutely Gorgeous

Bottom Line?  The gardens are gorgeous during Autumn at the Arboretum and you need to go to this visual feast.   A picture being worth a thousand words, imagine the economy of showing you all of these photos. I hope you enjoy them.  Come back next week to get the scoop on Richardson’s Cottonwood Arts Festival in Cottonwood Park.

ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Gardens, TRAVEL

Dallas’ Christmas Garden

DABS Holiday11292014


This season the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society / DABS is kicking off a brand new idea. It’s a blockbuster event called The Twelve Days of Christmas and it’s only available until January 4th. Here’s why you shouldn’t miss it.


Don’t take my word for it.  Ask the Travel Channel.  Ask Pro Flowers.  In fact, there are a lot of people you could ask, but DABS is recognized worldwide for it’s excellence.  Isn’t that reason enough to visit?


Firsts are always exciting and this will be the first year this wonderful exhibition commissioned by DABS for DABS will be presented.  They were beginning to set up for it the last time I was there and what I saw was beautiful.  It’s like the twelve best snowglobes in the world have been blown up bigger than life.  Well there’s no snow and no water for the snow to float in, but otherwise, that’s what it was like.


If you think the Twelve Days of Christmas might be beautiful during the day, imagine the romance of seeing it at night!  The garden takes on a very special vibe when the sun goes down and extra effort has been expended to light up the Twelve Days exhibit for night time showing.  It will be showing Sunday through Thursdays from six to ten and on a few weekends, so go to the website to plan your nocturnal visit.  You will need to have a reservation, so don’t just show up.  I’m really looking forward to enjoying this!


Many years ago the arboretum began a tradition of presenting spectacular entertainments for the holidays.  I’ve seen the DeGolyer House tricked out by the best of the best designers in Dallas.  I’ve seen special playhouses.  I’ve seen wonderful seasonal decorations.  The arboretum never does anything by half measures.  They always go full out gorgeous.  If they commissioned this exhibit specifically for themselves, this is going to be worth your effort.


The Byers’ Choice Ltd. Christmas Carolers are back.  If you loved seeing them a few years ago, this is your chance to see them again.  If you missed getting to see them, then fix that.  These whimsical, charming figures will enchant you, so don’t miss them.


Why go to the mall to see Santa when you can go to one of the most beautiful gardens in the world to visit with him.  I met him there a couple of years ago and he was a charmer.


Last but not least – let’s eat.  A corner of the DeGolyer House is a lovely cafe and for the holidays they decorate it to the max.  Then they’ll serve you a most wonderful tea, with those delightful tea sandwiches, scones and more.  You’ll need reservations and it is a little pricey, but it’s a special event you won’t soon forget.

So, what tickles your fancy? As you can see, the arboretum is ready for you, whatever that is.  Don’t miss this holiday treat!