The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, often listed among the top 10 public display gardens in the country, set a record with 40,000 member families for the first time ever. This news comes on the heels of the garden reaching more than one million visitors from more than 90 countries for the second year in a row in 2017.
The Arboretum also generated an economic impact of $92.2 million in 2015 and $105 million in 2016, respectively, through direct, indirect, induced spending and quality of life. The 2016 figure represents a 61% increase in the economic impact from 2013, according to a new study produced by a research team led by Richard A. Briesch, Ph.D., Corrigan Research professor and professor of marketing at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business. In the last 23 years, the garden has operated in the black with a current annual budget of $24 million.
J. Mark Wolf, Dallas Arboretum board chairman, said, "Our goal has always been to be the best membership investment, so we continually think of new ways to enrich our members' visits with plenty to see and experience: breathtaking display gardens, creative floral festival themes, research and trial gardens, exciting entertainment, summer art and sculpture exhibits, imaginative pumpkin houses and spectacular holiday displays. As we add more members, our attendance increases, and so does the economic impact to North Texas."
Members generally renew during one of the two floral festivals in the spring and fall because of the spectacular color displays and the events. Dallas Blooms, the springtime festival presented by IBERIABANK, runs February 24 to April 8. Themed "A World of Flowers," this year's festival will feature an explosion of color from more than 500,000 spring-blooming blossoms, thousands of azaleas and hundreds of Japanese cherry trees.
"We take our members' investment in our botanical garden seriously, so we must stay at the top of our game through everything we do-from the public events to education. That said, we also encourage our members to volunteer on one of the many committees to share their great ideas and input, so that we can continue to offer the best membership value."
In fall 2017, the Dallas Arboretum 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, so the garden is seeing increased traffic, interest in membership and the need for more volunteers to help.