Take a Virtual Tour Through the Arboretum's Wondrous Children's Adventure Garden

Categories: Park and Rec


A technical glitch (on my end, I guess -- sabotage?) kept me from listening in on Dallas Arboretum president and CEO Mary Brinegar's presentation to the council's Quality of Life Committee this morning. Shame too, as her chat this morning was City Hall's first real chance to hear all about the $58-million, seven-acre Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden coming to the Arboretum in, oh, about a year's time. Nevertheless: She'll return to the Park and Recreation Board Thursday morning, and you can find a summary of her presentation below.

But even better: Above is the nearly nine-minute-long animated sneak peek at the under-construction wonderland she premiered for council this morning above. I asked Paul Dyer, head of Park and Rec, for a copy; he was only too happy to oblige. It looks like a Disney production. Giant climbable ant sculptures. Edible gardens. Elevated walkways. A whole Honey, I Shrunk the Kids vibe. Waterfalls. Can't wait to screen it for my 8-year-old son.

Says Dyer, the Arboretum's already raised $42 million out of the $48 million it's committed to the project; the other $8 million comes from bond money, which, Dyer explains, has gone toward "the land and parking and for infrastructure." And it's the parking with which the city must now concern itself, given that the Arboretum expects its attendance to increase significantly once the Children's Garden opens. (And not only that, but per a 2008 parking study, which you'll also find below, it's expected that "visitors may lengthen their stay on the property after the Children's Garden initially opens.")

Even during plain ol' pretty days parking's tight, and "with that much growth it'll become unwieldy," says Dyer, who notes existing plans to park on both sides of Garland Road. "So we're looking at different solutions. One is parking garage, and one is looking at creating parking around Winfrey Point Point and making accessible not from Garland Road but a different way. But those are all conceptual at this point, and there's a long way to go, but we have to figure out a way."

Dyler says he expects to return to council with more info in, oh, five months, give or take.

"And we also want to show them how successful this partnership is," says Dyer. "It's one of our best. Their annual operating budget is $6 to $8 million, give or take, and we put in a 10th of that -- or less. It's an amazing partnership. And [Brinegar] was explaining to council this morning how this is going to be such a learning experience for the children. The whole time, all I thought was, 'I could learn a lot walking through this too.'"

See for yourself.QOL_ChildrenGardenDevel_02271202.2008 Study With Consideration of Childrens Garden
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9 comments
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Bsh552
Bsh552

The Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden will give Dallas something no other city in the world has. Don't think of it as a playground (although the kids will have fun there).  It's really an outdoor science learning lab.  Each of the 150 stations has its own curriculum based on state and national standards developed by professional educators and reviewed by the school of education at SMU and a scientific advisory council chaired by a Nobel laureate.  All children (and adults) who visit the garden will learn something and have fun doing it even if they aren't there with a school field trip.  American children score at or near the bottom in science knowledge, especially earth science.  This garden was designed as way to get kids to have fun while they learn about science and nature.  The Arboretum's education programs currently reach almost 100,000 students a year in the Dallas area. This new garden will significantly increase that number and attract visitors from all over.

LDR4
LDR4

The Arboretum has been trying to aquire parts of White Rock Lake so let's hope that this won't be the catalyst that makes the city council think that is a good idea.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Is there any room left for adults?

East Dallas Runner
East Dallas Runner

I'm assuming you're probably joking but the Children's Garden is being built in the northern most part of the Arboretum where it was just trees before and not open to people.  Nothing lost for the adults and heck I'm interested in checking out this new addition.

WHTRCK
WHTRCK

It was acutally where the greenhouses and research were.  The people that actually make the place go have been forced to seagoville.

Jason
Jason

The space looks to be gorgeous. I was kind of hoping to see a mind-boggling play area at some point, something similar to Camp Jurassic at Islands of Adventure (net bridges galore, caves, slides, hidden interactive areas), or Mostrocity in St. Louis. A marquee playground integrated into the educational experiences would be perfect season pass/tourist material.

Jduwalt
Jduwalt

This is what brings tourists to Dallas- not dumb bridges, dumb parks over bridges, and not homeless sanctuaries.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Really?  A children's garden?  

Los_Politico
Los_Politico

Yes. It's a large regional draw. 700,000 visitors last year and they're expecting 1,000,000 next year. 

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