The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden welcomed its millionth visitor for the year over the Thanksgiving holiday, and it's the second year in a row that the garden has reached more than a million visitors.
In 2016, the Arboretum's millionth visitor came in early December, so it achieved the mark even earlier this year. Total 2016 attendance was 1,095,051.
The Dallas Arboretum has had visitors from all 50 states and more than 90 countries. According to the American Public Gardens Association, the Dallas Arboretum joins only 12 others that have reached more than a million visitors annually.
Dallas Arboretum Board Chairman J. Mark Wolf said, "We want to thank our more than 39,000 members and donors for supporting us, along with 2,000 volunteers who have helped our garden grow and reach a million visitors. Our popular garden festivals, Dallas Blooms and Autumn at the Arboretum, are fantastic times to experience the outdoors each spring with half a million spring-blooming bulbs, and each autumn with 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. ZimSculpt, an international sculpture exhibition, attracted more than 267,000 guests in the spring and summer months to watch hand-carved sculptures being made and to meet two of the Zimbabwean sculptors.
Finally, The 12 Days of Christmas exhibition, which just opened this month, has brought many people during the day and more in the evenings with half a million lights illuminating the garden."
Named by Southern Living as one of "The South's Best Holiday Experiences," The 12 Days of Christmas exhibit features 12 elaborate, 25-foot-tall Victorian gazebos filled with the charming costumed characters, whimsical animals and winter scenes made famous by the beloved Christmas carol. The gazebos are encased in glass and extravagantly decorated on all sides to provide a dramatic, three-dimensional experience that adds to its "music box" quality.
Holiday at the Arboretum, presented by Reliant, includes The 12 Days of Christmas, along with "The Nutcracker Suite," a new exhibition in the historic DeGolyer House. This collection includes more than 800 nutcrackers on display in various rooms, which are lavishly decorated to resemble scenes from the ballet. The figurines are from two private collections: Rosemary Thornton Brinegar and the Himert Family Collection. The exhibition, sponsored by Amegy Bank of Texas, runs now through January 7.
The 12 Days of Christmas is open daily and runs through January 7, 2018. The 12 Days of Christmas at night exhibit is open every Wednesday through Sunday and other select evenings, and runs through December 30. For more information on Holiday at the Arboretum events and exhibitions, check the website at www.dallasarboretum.org or the Arboretum's social media.
Since the Dallas Arboretum opened to the public in 1984, the 66-acre garden has received many accolades from publications including Architectural Digest, USA Today, Fodor's Travel, Trip Advisor, The Travel Channel and many others. The Arboretum includes many formal and informal garden spaces, world-recognized trial gardens, a concert lawn, picnic areas, food service areas, a gift shop, orientation theater, classrooms and the historic DeGolyer House.
In 2013, the eight-acre scientific and interactive Rory Meyer's Children Adventure Garden opened. In 2014, the Arboretum opened a 1,150-space parking garage, thereby doubling the amount of parking spaces. In 2017, the garden debuted A Tasteful Place, a 3.5-acre edible display vegetable, fruit and herb garden, along with a pavilion, lagoon and views of downtown Dallas' iconic skyline.