MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Dallas Arboretum And Botanical Garden

According to Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden Board Chair Mark Wolf,

If the children ask you again, “What are we doing today?,” tell them that you’re going to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden located at 8525 Garland Rd., Dallas, Texas, 75218. It’s open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and some nights are open even later including Wednesdays until 8 p.m. No reservations are needed, and there’s plenty to do, every day of the week. You can pack a picnic, blankets, strollers and wagons, and the children will thank you for showing them one of the top “15 Breathtaking Botanical Gardens in the World,” according to Architectural Digest. 

Picture perfection at the Dallas Arboretum (File photo)

Here are highlights, and more information is listed below.

  • ZimSculpt
  • Arboretum After Hours
  • Family Fun Fridays
  • Summer Wine Sampling Weekends (for those 21 and over)
  • Live Music Every Weekend
  • Summer Camps
  • Father’s Day Weekend
  • African Music Fest
  • Red, White and The Blues on July Fourth Weekend
  • Garden Gigs Concerts in July
  • Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden
  • August Dollar Days

Tickets range from $10 and $15 per person, and certain days have discounts (see below). Be sure to check the website, www.dallasarboretum.org and social media for the latest details. See you in the garden!

Cojoined, Victor Matafi*

ZimSculpt: Now thru July 31 — For the first time ever in the southern U.S., the Dallas Arboretum presents the international blockbuster exhibition ZimSculpt, a world-renowned display of modern Zimbabwean stone sculptures.  More than 100,000 guests have visited ZimSculpt, featuring live sculpting demonstrations daily by Zimbabwean sculptors and artists-in-residence, Aron Kapembeza and Passmore Mupindiko. Known as Shona sculpture, these contemporary pieces are carved from various types of serpentine and semi-precious stone, often weighing tons, and can be as large as seven feet tall. This sculpture is the most collected form of African art that can be found at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Rodin Museum and in the homes of the Prince of Wales, the Rockefellers, Morgan Freeman, Danny Glover and the late Michael Jackson.

Arboretum After Hours On Wednesdays: Now through October 25 — Bring a picnic, and dine al fresco in one of the prettiest places in Dallas. Every Wednesday, the garden extends its hours to 8 p.m. for families and friends to enjoy a night out. Tickets are buy one, get one free (general admission, only valid at the ticket booth.) 

Family Fun Fridays (Now through – July 28, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.) — Bring the family to the Pecan Grove for a critter-filled petting zoo, incredibly artistic face painting and lively music, every Friday through the end of July.

Summer Wine Sampling Weekends (Saturdays 11a.m.-3 p.m. and Sundays noon-3 p.m., Café on the Green) — New for the summer! Join us for wine samplings. For $10, those 21 years old and older can taste three samples of a specific varietal, with the featured varietal changing frequently. Price does not include garden admission.

Live Music Every Weekend (Saturdays and Sundays, 11a.m.-2 p.m., throughout the garden) — Enjoy different live performances tucked away in various locations through the garden every weekend this summer.

Summer Camps at the Arboretum: Varies weeks — These camps provide children ages 4 years to entering 7th grade with hands-on explorations in nature, science and art to spark imagination and inspire environmental stewardship. Register online.

Red, White & the Blues–July Fourth Weekend: July 1-4  (July 1-4, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.) — Pack a picnic, bring the family and celebrate Independence Day. Various blues bands will perform throughout the weekend to provide a cool, relaxing backdrop.

  • July 1: Linny Nance Network
  • July 2: Buddy Whittington Band
  • July 3: Linny Nance Network
  • July 4: Rob Holbert Group

Garden Gigs: July 14-28 — Friday evenings, 7:30-9:30 p.m. — Discover hidden gems-music by local musicians, adventurous choices from food trucks and off-the-beaten path spots in the garden. Admission $10 (non-members), $8 (members) and includes free parking.

  • July 14: Jonathan FoxZach CoffeyBecky Middelton
  • July 21: David TribbleJohn Lefler and CamilleMicah Peacock
  • July 28: Kate Minor, Shayne Green, TBD

Music Performances: Varies

  • Performance by Bandan Koro (July 22, 10 a.m.) — Move to the beat of African drum and dance ensemble on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn.
  • Performance by Kupira Marimba (July 22, noon) — Listen to high-energy, family friendly music from Kupira Marimba on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn.
  • Performance by Zimbabwe Choir, Lover’s Lane United Methodist Church (July 22, 2-3:30 p.m.) — Enjoy the inspiring voices of the Lover’s Lane United Methodist Church Zimbabwe Choir located at the DeGolyer Pergola.
  • Performance by Bandan Koro (July 23, 11 a.m.) — Move to the beat of African drum and dance ensemble on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn.

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden Activities: All Summer — This eight-acre children’s garden is where science and learning become one. Each learning area teaches science in a fun and interactive way. Try out your experimenting skills in the lab, and learn the parts of a flower in Plants Are Alive, where everything is larger than life. See below for select activities during special days/weekends in the garden.

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden’s plaza (File photo)

  • Mask Making with the DMA (June 24-25, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.) — Create a mask with the Dallas Museum of Art’s Teen Advisory Council.
  • Craft Corner: The Stars and Stripes (July 1-4, 9 a.m.-11 a.m., Entry Plaza) — Stop by the Craft Corner table and create a fun, patriotic craft using the colors of the American flag.
  • Click here for a full list of summer programs for the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.
  • A Study of Zimbabwe (Horti)Culture (July 15-16, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.) — Come and go workshop.

August Dollar Days: August 1-31 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) — Round up the whole family and come to the Arboretum for $1 main garden admission per person for the month of August.

Discounts: BOGO Wednesdays, which are buy one get one free general admission and include Nature Nights, are available at ticket booth, with a limit of one purchase per person. Senior Thursdays offer discounted admission of $11 for seniors 65 and older and a 20 percent discount in the Hoffman Family Gift Store.

* Photo provided by Dallas Arboretum

Despite Topsy-Turvy Temps, Dallas Blooms Will Be Abounding With “Peace, Love And Flower Power” Through April 9

Yesterday the temperatures were in the upper 80s. Tonight the mercury will drop to the 30s. This winter has been a roller coaster with wardrobes going from shorts to quilted jackets and back to sandals within hours.

If you think you’ve been dizzy from the changes, take pity on the plants. One minute they’re poking their heads up to spring-like conditions and just as quickly they’re being threatened with frost.

Daryl Kirkham, Mark Clayton and Mark Wolf*

And you just know the Dallas Arboretum folks have had their hands full in preparation for Dallas Blooms that had its Iberiabank sponsor Dallas Market President Daryl Kirkham, Dallas City Councilperson Mark Clayton and Dallas Arboretum Board Chair Mark Wolf on hand for the preview of this year’s theme “Peace, Love and Flower Power.”

This year’s petal extravaganza will “showcase an explosion of color with vintage VW floral topiaries and more than 500,000 spring-blooming blossoms” until Sunday, April 9.

Dallas Arboretum’s Dallas Blooms*

According to Dallas Arboretum President/CEO Mary Brinegar, “Dallas Blooms is the largest display of tulips in a public garden anywhere west of Holland. Later in the festival thousands of azaleas and hundreds of Japanese cherry trees will blossom, leaving breathtaking color at every turn. Guests are sure to have an unforgettable experience this spring in our world-class garden.”

During the run of Dallas Blooms through Sunday, April 9, different activities celebrating the 1960’s theme will take place. From an Ed Sullivan Show-Celebrity Weekend, a music festival throughout the gardens to guests getting henna tattoos, and 1960s fashion on display in the DeGolyer House, it’ll make you dig out your bell bottoms and Nehru jackets.

And as if the Dallas Blooms isn’t enough, the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden will be back in action Saturday after going through its annual winter refreshing.

* Photos provided by Dallas Arboretum

Starting Sunday Dallas Arboretum’s Rory Meyer Children’s Adventure Garden To Take Time Off To Prepare For Spring Festivities

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden (File photo)

Not only is 2016 closing down Saturday, the Dallas Arboretum’s Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden is going on hiatus until Friday, February 24.

Dallas Blooms (File photo)

During this time period, the staffers will be providing “winter maintenance” and getting it prepared for the spring festivities including Dallas Blooms: Flower Power that starts Saturday, February 25, with 500,000 blooming flowers.

Take Advantage Of The User-Friendly Weather At The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden While It Lasts

While the sun is shining and the temperatures are user-friendly, it’s a great time to visit the Dallas Arboretum with its Twelve Days of Christmas.

Another big draw is the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. Saturday, December 19, starting at 11 a.m., they’ll be using “science to answer” how he managed to visit every house in one night, how he squeezes down chimneys and other Kris Kringle questions.

Christmas holidays at the Dallas Arboretum*

Christmas holidays at the Dallas Arboretum*

In the main garden the jolly, old fellow in the red-and-white suit will be in the main garden with one of his for-real reindeer.

And that’s just a smidgen of the activities that will be underway. As if that wasn’t enough, every day there will be plenty of things going on for munchkins and their parent and grandparents to see and do. Don’t believe it? Just check this list out!

But be forewarned. Come Monday, January 4, and most of February , the Children’s Garden will go into hibernation for winterize refreshening in preparation for the opening of Dallas Blooms that opens on Thursday, February 26. .

* Photos courtesy of the Dallas Arboretum

Dallas Arboretum Celebrates Fourth Of July Four-Day Weekend With $5 Admissions And Activities Like Tadpole Feeding

If there’s a holiday, the Dallas Arboretum is going to dress the place up in the right way to celebrate for young, old and those who can’t decide what age they are.

Independence Day at the Dallas Arboretum*

Independence Day at the Dallas Arboretum*

And for this 4th of July, have they got a deal for every age group. From Friday, July 3 through Monday, July 6, everybody gets in for $5! Well, almost everybody. Those active and retired members of the armed services get in free, but they’ll have to have proper ID proof at the door.

The really, truly great news is that you can also get into Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden for just $3 and, boy, do they have plans for Rory Meyers during the unofficial four-day holiday wingding. Here goes:

Rory Meyers Children's Garden entrance (File photo)

Rory Meyers Children’s Garden entrance (File photo)

Friday, July 3 thru Sunday, July 5

  • 9 a.m. – Craft Corner: The Stars and Stripes (Main Entry Plaza)
  • 9 a.m. – Patriotic Scavenger Hunt (Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden)
  • 10 a.m. – Storytime (Petroglyph Walk Pergola)
  • 10:30 a.m. – Puppet Show: Finding My Way Home (Glade Puppet Theater)
  • 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. – Elephant Toothpaste (Exploration Center Plant Lab)
  • 11:30 a.m. – Puppet Show: Finding My Way Home (Glade Puppet Theater)
  • 12 p.m. – Red, White and Fruit (Incredible Edible Garden)
  • 2 p.m. – Eddie the Eagle: Our Nation’s Emblem (Exploration Center)
  • 2:30 p.m. – OmniGlobe Presentation: A Star Spangled Galaxy (OmniGlobe Theater)
Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden's plaza (File photo)

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden’s plaza (File photo)

Monday, July 6

  • 10 a.m. – Little Adventures Activities (First Adventure)
  • 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. – H2Osmosis (Exploration Center Plant Lab)
  • 11:30 a.m. – Tadpole Feedings (Exploration Center)
  • 2 p.m. – Mega Metamorphosis (Texas Native Wetlands)
  • 2:30 p.m. – OmniGlobe Presentation (OmniGlobe Theater)
Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden (File photo)

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden (File photo)

If you’ve heard about but haven’t ventured into Rory Meyers, this is the opportunity that you have been waiting for. There are activities and you’re gonna get it as such a bargain! Suggestion: Go early and you’ll feel the breezes coming off White Rock and discover the wonderment that others have been talking about. And if you don’t have a kiddo to escort you around, that’s okay. Adults seem to become kids when entering Rory’s garden, too.

BTW, sorry but no fireworks. The Arboretum closes at 5 p.m. and the gardens need their sleep time.

* Photo provided by the Dallas Arboretum

Dallas Arboretum Has Special Deals Galore Starting Next Week

More than 125,000 folks have checked out “The 12 Days of Christmas” at the Dallas Arboretum, since it opened on Sunday, November 16. The $2M Christmas exhibit of huge gazebos has been eye candy and the perfect backdrop for photos.

The 12 Days of Christmas photo opportunity

The 12 Days of Christmas photo opportunity (File photo)

As a belated Christmas gift, the Arboretum is offering a 2-4-1. Starting Monday, you can buy one ticket and get a second one free.

Night time visits are available Monday through Sunday, except for Thursday. That’s New Year’s Day and the Arboretum is closed.

The 12 Days Of Christmas Piper

The 12 Days Of Christmas Piper (File photo)

Tickets are $20 for adults; $25 for seniors; $10 for children ages 3 to 12; and children under 3 are free. Parking is included with nighttime tickets.

“We know that it’s a busy time of year, and for all those who are still trying to come and see the popular exhibit, we want to give visitors an incentive to come see it a little later in the evening,” said Dallas Arboretum President Mary Bringer. “The 12 Days at Night is just magical with the lighting, music and movement, and guests of all ages will enjoy making this one a holiday tradition.”

But there’s still more bargain opps at the Arboretum. No sooner will the 12 Days disappear than a new pricing kicks off. From Monday, January 5, to Saturday, January 31, admission will be $5 at the gate for non-members to walk the grounds. Hey, what better way to get a healthy start by taking daily constitutions among the acreage?

Want a better bargain? Of course, you do after spending all that money on gifts. Join the Dallas Arboretum and admission is free all year round.

Rory Meyers Children's Garden entrance (File photo)

Rory Meyers Children’s Garden entrance (File photo)

BTW, the Rory Meyer’s Children’s Adventure Gardens is going on hiatus starting Monday, January 5. It will be refreshed and reopened on Friday, February 27.

“First Anniversary Adventures” Transforms Grown Ups Into Kids Thanks To Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden Party

Has it really been a year since the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum became the place for kiddos to bring their parents? Well, to celebrate this first year, it only seemed appropriate to have a birthday party for the adults who worked tirelessly to bring the fabulous eight-acre garden to life. Despite talk of rain, the weather was ideal for the whole event to take place in the garden itself. Here is a report from the field.

Cecile Bonte and Dan and Bettina Hennessy

Cecile Bonte and Dan and Bettina Hennessy*

“A first birthday is always cause for celebration, and that’s what the Dallas Arboretum had on September 21. Cleverly titled ‘First Anniversary Adventures, A Celebratory Soiree for Adults in a Child’s World,’ the event commemorated the opening of the nationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. Co-chaired by community leaders Bettina and Dan Hennessy with assistance from the Year of the Children’s Garden Committee, the evening turned out to have perfect weather for its first birthday.

“About 350 guests arrived to the music of the outstanding Booker T. Washington Jazz Combo, under the direction of Bart Marantz. Once they entered the eight-acre scientific garden, many stopped at the Plaza to enjoy a cool adult beverage. Others strolled to the Oasis, the rooftop garden that overlooks White Rock Lake, to enjoy libations while noshing on passed gourmet canapés. Cleverly named after the galleries at the Children’s Garden, these canapés included Plants are Alive Orange Avocado Endive Spoons, The Glade Avocado Masa Tart, Walk on the Wild Side Quail Rumaki, Texas Native Wetlands Spiced Pecan and Roasted Corn Crab Cake.

Betsy Hunt, Freda Huckin, Houston Hunt, Mary Brinegar, Caroline L. Hunt*

Betsy Hunt, Freda Huckin, Houston Hunt, Mary Brinegar, Caroline L. Hunt*

“Some adults tested out the technology touchscreens and the OmniGlobe in the Exploration Center, while others shot water blasters at Energy Island and learned how to create electricity. Garden guides gave tours to guests including Caroline L. Hunt and her family in the Incredible Edible Garden where they learned about a plant that’s grown for loofahs. Spotted in the First Adventure gallery were Joyce and Dr. Linus Wright (former DISD superintendent).

Betty the Bee and Mona and Bill Graue*

Betty the Bee and Mona and Bill Graue*

Gayle Sands’ daughters, Kathryn and Courtenay, and Mona and 2015 Dallas Arboretum Chair Bill Graue posed to have their photos taken with Betty the Bee. Joe Buskuhl, who served on the Garden’s Architecture and Construction Committee overseeing of the Children’s Garden building, was spotted along the Texas Skywalk giving his guests a tour.

Rory and Howard Meyers brought along dozens of their extended family and friends to celebrate the evening. Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez admired the garden as many of the City Council and Dallas Park Board representatives made their way over to greet him.

Kevin Meyers, Howard and Rory Meyers, Craig Meyers*

Kevin Meyers, Howard and Rory Meyers, Craig Meyers**

“Dallas Arboretum’s Board Chairman Brian Shivers welcomed guests seated outside the Exploration Center under white lights and the stars. He told of the success of the first year and how the Children’s Garden is enhancing life and earth science knowledge of students and families who visit. ‘I even heard of one school that visited as far away as Missouri.’ He then introduced The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison, who served as the guest of honor, and who had served as the honorary chair of the capital campaign to build the garden.

Kay Bailey Hutchison, Brian Shivers and Kaki Hopkins*

Kay Bailey Hutchison, Brian Shivers and Kaki Hopkins*

“Hutchison said, ‘This garden is world class. What you all have done is amazing. What you have done all these years is amazing. When people come to Dallas and visit the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, I’m going to make sure they come to the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.’

“Shivers introduced Kaki Hopkins, who served as chair of the Year of Children’s Garden, a series of children’s educational events and celebratory events for adults to help fund the children’s activities. Hopkins said, ‘We are honored to recognize the top donors to the Children’s Garden, including Rory and Howard Meyers who represent the lead gift, the Harold Simmons Foundation represented by Lisa Simmons, Diane and Hal Brierley and Francie Moody-Dahlberg of the Moody Foundation.’

“She also recognized the Dallas City Council, Dallas Park Board and other donors. She also thanked Bettina and Dan Hennessy for co-chairing the evening and Honorary Chair Cecile Bonte, whose multi-year leadership as capital campaign chair helped raise the millions to build the garden.

Overhead shot of festivities*

Overhead shot of festivities*

“With the harp playing on the Texas Skywalk, guests ate a black and white quinoa stuffed roasted acorn squash, followed by grilled pink peppercorn beef tenderloin with a sour cherry chocolate mousse cake. During dessert, champagne was poured for a celebratory toast. Before people left, they were given lighted toys and glow necklaces to remind them of the fun they had at the Children’s Garden. These were clever party favors for a one-year-old’s birthday party!”

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman
** Photo credit: Steve Foxall

MySweetCharity Opportunity: First Anniversary Adventures

According to First Anniversary Adventures Co-Chairs Bettina and Dan Hennessy,

Dan and Bettina Hennessy*

Dan and Bettina Hennessy*

“First Anniversary Adventures, a Celebratory Soiree for Adults in a Child’s World, will be a blast of a party celebrating the world-renowned Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. It’s our turn to take to the garden without children in tow for exploring, playing, visiting and great dining with musical entertainment throughout the evening. Join us on Sunday, September 21, 2014, the actual anniversary date, at 6 p.m. Our committee is planning a truly fun, adventure-filled evening in this remarkable garden that we have joyfully discovered brings out the child in all of us.

“In addition to the delightful plans for the event, the Dallas Arboretum will honor top donors to the Children’s Garden, including Rory and Howard Meyers who represent the lead gift, Harold Simmons Foundation represented by Lisa Simmons, and Francie Moody Dahlberg of the Moody Foundation. The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison will serve as our guest of honor after serving as our honorary chair of the capital campaign to build the garden. We will also thank Cecile Bonte, capital campaign chair, whose leadership helped raise the millions over many years.

Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden

“After cocktails in the plaza accompanied by the outstanding Booker T. Washington Jazz Ensemble, we will experience the garden in all its wonder—with garden guides to give us all the pearls to maximize our visits in the different galleries and educational Arboretum mascots to stroll with us. We get to choose what miraculous visions of outer space to view on the OmniGlobe, and young talented musicians will entertain us as we navigate the pathways or relax in the alcoves. All of that will precede a gourmet dinner with fine wine and festive entertainment.

“Attire should be cool, festive and ready for adventure! Support for First Anniversary Adventures will benefit programming for the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, especially providing access to public school children. If you are ready to join us for a fun and playful evening, please contact Karen Reardon at 214.515.6601 or [email protected].”

* Photo provided by the Dallas Arboretum

Dallas Arboretum Is Busy With August Dollars Days And The Upcoming First Anniversary Adventures Soiree On September 21

Stroller patrol

Stroller patrol

Stroller patrol was in full force Monday at the Dallas Arboretum, thanks to Time Warner’s August Dollar Days program.

Ran into Dallas Arboretum Matriarch Mary Brinegar as the turnstiles churned guests in for a mere dollar. She was brimming with news. Yes, the 2.2-acre, Lay Family Garden was undergoing a major refreshing. Shoot! The garden was originally planned as a perennial back in the 1990’s. Thanks to the Mimi Lay Hodges and Herman Lay family getting together with the Arboretum folks, it was decided that perhaps it needed a bit of a “reinterpretation.” Plans call for the garden to open this fall with its refurbished look.

Concert stage under construction at Martin Rutchik Concert Lawn

Concert stage under construction at Martin Rutchik Concert Lawn

Then the Martin Rutchik Concert Lawn stage is under construction to provide an area for dancing. Mosh pit? Heavens, no! It’s going to be big enough for munchkins and slow fox trotters to take advantage of the concert tunes. In the past the urge to dance sometimes had dancers trying to avoid the musician wires.

Rory Meyers Children's Garden entrance

Rory Meyers Children’s Garden entrance

Finally, as Mary looked at the multitude of adults and kids strolling the grounds and headed to the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, it was revealed that the “First Anniversary Adventures, A Celebrity Soiree for Adults in a Child’s World” would take place on Sunday, September 21.

Bettina and Dan Hennessy are co-chairing the event that will include cocktails, music by the Booker T. Washington jazz combo under the direction of Bart Marantz, dinner and interactive fun in the Adventure Garden.

Of course, the event will honor key donors like Rory and Howard Meyers, the Harold Simmons Foundation’s Lisa Simmons, Diane and Hal Brierley and the Moody Foundation’s Francie Moody-Dahlberg. Former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison will serve as “guest of honor,” so she’ll get first dibs on the interactive fun, and rightly so. She served as the honorary chair of the capital campaign for the garden. Serving as honorary chair for the evening will be Cecile Bonte, whose “multi-year leadership as capital campaign chair helped raise millions to build the garden.”

If you can’t make the September 21st gala, take in the acres of beauty in August for a buck and the Children’s Adventure Garden for just a dollar more.

Pergola Shade Structure with misting

Pergola Shade Structure with misting

Crape Myrtle Allee Enhancement funded by Communities Foundation of Texas

Crape Myrtle Allee Enhancement funded by Communities Foundation of Texas

Toad Corner

Toad Corner

Water feature at Nancy Clements Seay Magnolia Glade

Water feature at Nancy Clements Seay Magnolia Glade

But beware: it’s not just ho-hum flower watching for little old ladies in white socks and tennis shoes. The Arboretum is a fabulous backdrop with water features, activities and plenty of shady areas. And there are misting areas and benches to settle back and take in all of Dallas’s most scenic areas.

BTW, if you have little hyper-active ones, this is the place to wear them out while you take a seat and watch.

Rory Meyers' entry plaza waterworks

Rory Meyers’ entry plaza waterworks

Remember to send thank-you notes to Time Warner for providing the cheap thrills.

Dallas Arboretum’s Gardenlicious Sounds Good Enough To Eat

Despite all the action still underway in May, you may want to put this one your “to-do list” for June. That is, it you have a kiddo.

Let’s be extremely, painfully honest. After Memorial Day and an early summer getaway, parents are facing weeks of trying to find something to keep the youngsters busy. You can only go to the pool so many times before the household budget is in overload for sunscreen. On the other hand, how movies are munchkin friendly?

The folks at the Dallas Arboretum are teaming up with Dallas chefs Lynae Fearing, Scott Gottlich and Kent Rathbun to provide a project that is perfect for budding cooks grades 1 through 8.

Scott Gottlich, Kent Rathbun and Lyane Fearing*

Scott Gottlich, Kent Rathbun and Lyane Fearing*

Inspired by the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, Gardenlicious is “a healthy kids cook-off contest” at the Arboretum’s Camp House.

If you haven’t been to the Children’s Adventure Garden, you might not know that one of the highlights is the Edible Garden and that’s key to the contest. Each child chef “can select at least one ingredient that grows there to create their culinary creation (snack, dessert, entrée, etc.) that will be judged by the three Dallas chefs.

Judging will be based on healthiness, difficulty/creativity, taste/flavor, use of garden ingredients and appearance of food and presentation style of chef(s).

Finalists will present four servings of their prepared cook-off entry on stage for the judges to sample.

And since turnabout is always the most fun, Gardenlicious Chair Carol Pierce Goglia has arranged for the adult chefs to provide their own dishes for the kids to judge.

According to Carol, “With all the focus on cooking, we have also named Cecile Bonte the honorary chair of the event—not just because she led the effort in raising the millions to build the Children’s Garden as the capital campaign chairwoman, but because she is an extraordinary cook.”

While the contest doesn’t take place until Sunday, June 29, recipes must be submitted by Sunday, June 8, and that’s right around the corner.

* Photo provided by the Dallas Arboretum

Fly Over To The Dallas Arboretum Thursday For A Private Showing Of “Wings Of Life” With Director Louie Schwartzberg

For the next few days, the skies will be clear and the temperatures deliciously friendly. How marvelous that it’s taking place during spring break. If you’re weary of the patio action and don’t want to fight the crowds at Six Flags and the Dallas Zoo, then head to the Dallas Arboretum. Not only is Dallas Blooms in full array, but the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden is back in full swing. While any day is a great day to head to Dallas flower-power headquarters, this Thursday is incredibly perfecto.

How come?

Well, the Dallas Bloomers have arranged for a showing of “Wings of Life,” the “acclaimed Disney-nature documentary” in Rosine Hall. The film, which is narrated by Meryl Streep, “employs stunning imagery to showcase the unsung heroes of the world’s food supply, showcasing the relationship between flowers and the increasingly threatened bees, butterflies, birds and bats that enable plants to reproduce.”

In addition to remarks by the movie’s director Louie Schwartzberg, there will be a Q&A opportunity afterwards.

The event starts at 7:15 p.m., but your ticket will give you “exclusive access” to Dallas Blooms at 5:15. Hello?

That means you can wander through the entire Dallas Blooms grounds for a couple of hours before heading to the movie.

And, thanks to Daylight Saving Time, the sun doesn’t set until 7:34 p.m., so there’ll be no wandering the gardens in the dark.

Tickets range from $10 to $30, with student tickets going for $5 and kiddos under six getting in free. Proceeds benefit the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.

Dallas Arboretum Is Buzzing With Activity Thanks To Dallas Blooms Opening And Return Of Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden

If you weren’t at the Dallas Arboretum this past weekend, you missed out on a perfect opening weekend for Dallas Blooms and the reopening of the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.

But not to worry. Both Blooms and the Rory will still be there just waiting for you. And if you’re Dallas-locked down during the upcoming March spring break, both Dallas Blooms and Rory will be the perfect place to take the munchkins. Suggestion: You’re not going to be the only one with the Arboretum as the go-to-destination during the spring break period, so why not reserve your tickets now?

Rolling Stone Sphere*

Rolling Stone Sphere*

BTW, if you’ve already seen Rory, you ought to think doing a revisit. They’ve made some additions during their “refreshening,” like the Rolling Stone Sphere. No, it’s not a Mick Jagger beach ball. It’s a 3,000-lb. granite “ball” with the continents carved on it. Oh, so what’s the big deal about that? Well, imagine that 1 ½ ton “rock” floating on water in a base that weighs nearly four tons. Still, can’t figure it out? Well, check the photo and you’ll want to see the real thing. According to sources, it took a crane to gingerly place the sphere on top of the water-filled base.

Remember to bring along your camera. The flowers just love to have their pictures taken.

* Photo provided by the Dallas Arboretum

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden To Briefly Close For Maintenance And Winterizing

We all need a little down time for refreshing, don’t you know? Well, the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden will be doing just that “for a few weeks” starting Monday, January 13.

Overview of Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden (File photo)

Overview of Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden (File photo)

According to the Dallas Arboretum President Mary Brinegar, “As with any outdoor installation, especially one as complex as the Children’s Garden, the Dallas Arboretum needs to close the garden for a short time to do preventative maintenance, especially since there is less traffic during these cold days.”

But that doesn’t mean the Arboretum is closed for business. No, siree. The rest of the “gardens will be open to the public during this period, except on days of inclement weather.”

Suggestion: This Sunday the temperatures are supposed to be in the 70’s. Yup, you heard . . . or, rather you read that … right. So, why not take the munchkins to Rory Meyers before it takes time off?

Behind-The-Scenes Love Story At The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden Ribbon Cutting And Dedication

Despite the damp night before that forced a back-up plan to kick into place for the Dallas Arboretum‘s Rory Meyer Children’s Adventure Garden gala, the sun came out for the official dedication Saturday, September 21.

Townview High School band

Townview High School band

As dignitaries, bands and a multitude of guests gathered in the garden’s Pavilion, an interesting little incident took place that won’t make headlines.

Overview of Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden

Overview of Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden

In the Dallas Arboretum’s Camp parking lot, a vintage couple got out of their sedan and walked toward the Camp House. He was in the Dallas fall uniform of blue blazer, blue shirt, red tie and tan slacks. He gently escorted her like a charmed date with the homecoming queen. In white sweater and black skirt with her head full of white hair pulled back in a ponytail, she seemed a bit concerned about what the POA was, but she knew her champion would make the right decisions.

A young Arboretum staffer told the couple they were to take the shuttle to the Pavilion for check in. The gentleman questioned ever so gently that suggestion. “We were told to go to the Camp House.”

The young man admitted that the ribbon-cutting for the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden had created confusion, but they were to go to the Pavilion.

A senior female Arboretum staffer arrived and agreed the elder couple should take the shuttle to the Pavilion. The couple smiled, realizing they were to comply with the two staffers. Luckily, the shuttle driver, sensing that a bit of hesitation wouldn’t damage the situation, drove the couple around the circular driveway to the front door of the Camp House. She said it wouldn’t hurt just to check. As the shuttle arrived at the Camp House, a woman came out and immediately welcomed the two, hugging the small, white-haired woman.

The gentleman said that he thought they were supposed to at the Camp House but were advised otherwise. The greeter said that much had been happening and that she would check. The white-haired passenger seemed relieved. Her champion was getting to the bottom of things in a gentlemanly fashion. After a few minutes the greeter emerged from the Camp House and said it had been a case of miscommunication. Of course, they’re “to be in here.”

The couple was Rory and Howard Meyers.

Rory and Howard Meyers, Brian Shivers and Mike Rawlings

Rory and Howard Meyers, Brian Shivers and Mike Rawlings

Mary Brinegar, Brian Shivers, Mike Rawlings, Rory and Howard Meyers and Sheffie Kadane

Mary Brinegar, Brian Shivers, Mike Rawlings, Rory and Howard Meyers and Sheffie Kadane

A half hour later, the Meyers would join Mayor Mike Rawlings, Arboretum Chair of the Board Brian Shivers, Arboretum President/CEO Mary Brinegar and a host of officials at the ribbon-cutting and on stage with the St. Mark’s School choir performing. As the speeches continued and City Councilman Sheffie Kadane acknowledged a countless number of associates, the proclamation was presented and the sun warmed the area. The highpoints of the event were Howard’s thanking all with Rory by his side, and then the surprise revelation that, unbeknownst to the Meyers, their friends had created a fund that would underwrite a program allowing the underprivileged to visit the garden.

Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden

The garden with its multitude of highlights may have been a 17-year project in the making, but in those scant 20 minutes, the Meyers’ love, graciousness and dedication to each other seemed to reflect the same care, consideration and compassion that resulted in the amazing wonderland for children of all ages.

TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Gala Rises Above The Din To Break Records With Raised Paddles And Beautiful Peeps

A potential train wreck was on the Dallas fundraising schedule. It was last Friday when two major dinners were in place at the same time. Yipes! Out of 365 days in the year, how could this have happened? Well, the situation started months ago when the Dallas Arboretum announced its gala for the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden would take place on Friday, September 20. (Originally the garden and its gala had been planned for an earlier date, but rain delays caused the garden to open later than scheduled.) Oops! The new date just so happened to be the very same night as the annual TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Gala at the Mansion.

Déjà vu! Just last year the Arboretum held its gala launch of the Dale Chihuly exhibition on the same night as the TACA Party On The Green.

Such a collision of important fundraising events taking place on the same night might be a problem. After all, how does one choose between biggies? But, luckily, there were enough generous folks to sell out both the outdoor-chic and black-tie events. Why, one TACA veteran couple came up with a Solomon-like solution — they would attend the Arboretum event and send a $10,000 check to TACA.

Then the week before the big night, weather forecasts predicted one minor hitch — rain! After a summer that had been as parched as a wrangler heading up a cattle drive’s final days, the meteorologists were downright giddy at the prospect of 60% showers.

On the other hand, the Arboretum folks who had garnered national press about their expansive garden put into action a rain plan. Just in case the weather guessers were right, the cocktail reception in the new garden would be replaced by cocktails on the terrace next to the Rosine Hall. And, of course, the terrace would be tented. Then dinner and festivities would take place in Rosine Hall.

Across town, the TACA Co-Chairs Heather and Bill Esping and staffers were staying loyal to their annual POA. To them, rain was no big deal. After all, the auction was always indoors. So, the only change would be the transition between the cocktail reception in the Promenade to the tables set up in the restaurant, wine cellar, dining room, bar and various suites. Instead, the well-mannered guests would just take the hallway connecting the hotel proper to the dining facilities.

And the 325+ guests lived up to the look and feel of the black-tie event.

Alexander McQueen, Jimmy Choo and Bryan Atwood

Alexander McQueen, Jimmy Choo and Bryan Atwood

First, there was the fashion snapshots of the night — Event Co-Chair Heather Esping in Lanvin with Jimmy Choo shoes; Christie’s auctioneer Andrea Fiuczynski combining a Naeem Khan shrug with her Jill Sanders cocktail dress; and Honorary Co-Chair Barbara Daseke in a 15-year-old Donna Karan. For shoe lovers, there were Lynn McBee in Alexander McQueen, Auction Item Chair Wanda Gierhart in Bryan Atwood and TACA Chairman of the Board Nancy Carlson in Louis Vuittons.

Niven Morgan, Muffin Lemak and Shelby Wagner

Niven Morgan, Muffin Lemak and Shelby Wagner

The chatter of the night ranged from Niven Morgan’s preparing for his 15th anniversary and launching a new men’s product in the following week. . . Margo Keyes being solo due to husband Jim’s being “trapped” in California (but Jim later showed up!) . . . Alicia Wood reporting that 100 more tickets have been sold for Tablescapes this year. In fact they’ve had to add two more tables for the lunch with James Farmer. . . Lynn explaining that husband Allan McBee was in Tyler. . . Adorably cute Vogue Associate Publisher David Stuckey was part of the receiving line meeting and greeting a bunch of new friends. . .Past TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Gala Co-Chairs Kit and Kemp Sawers breezing in without a care in the world. Past chairs of any event tend to be like that, don’t you know.

DIning in the library

DIning in the library

After much cocktailing, catching up and checking out the live auction items on display in the ballroom, the guests headed to their assigned seats throughout the Mansion. For their reward, they discovered beautifully displayed tables and lighting that would have made the Wicked Witch of the West look downright pretty. But being pretty just isn’t enough. Mansion Chef Bruno Davaillon prepared a menu that included chilled ahi tuna with tomato jelly and heirloom tomato in a sea broth followed by Strubb Ranch prime filet and short rib on a sweet potato puree with pickled root salad and Thai herb with Moet Hennessy wines. As delicious as it all sounded, one sushi-loving guest passed on the ahi tuna saying, “It just doesn’t smell right.” No problem. Everyone else at the table dug in.

Main dining room

Main dining room

Following dinner, the guests like children waking up on Christmas morning discovered a bounty of desserts (Chocolate Composition, Classic Carrot Cake, Berries Panna Cotta Glass, Pistachio Cherry Macaron, Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake and Mini Cone) masterminded by Mansion Pastry Chef Nicolas Blouin. And, of course, more of the bubbly and grown-up refreshments.

Everyone was having a good time, except for a couple of people like Faye Briggs, who was suffering from a mighty headache and headed for the valet with Ralph Gorman.

But the partying continued festively and loudly. . . very loudly. But what could you expect when you have more than 325 partiers partying? It was a party, for heaven sakes!

Andrea Fiuczynski and David Stuckey

Andrea Fiuczynski and David Stuckey

But the time to get down to business was at hand, and the ballroom started filling with people with bidding paddles in hand. For some it meant reserved places in the rows or at tables near the front of the stage. Alas, some of those special guests either decided to stand on the sidelines or continue their conversations on the promenade. The results? Two or three prime positions were as empty as a Target parking lot on Easter Sunday.

It was going to be an interesting auction. Fewer items than last year and a bigger goal!

Auctioneer Andrea, who does 25 auctions a year, had said earlier in the evening that her job was to “make spending money fun.” Evidently, this group didn’t need any help in the fun department. Despite having one of the swiftest and most finalizing palm gavels in the business, Andrea never seemed to get the guests to turn down the chatter volume. Unlike last year’s herd of guests, this one just wouldn’t settle down.

One couple who had prime seats finally gave up and headed home because of the noise. At one point, Wanda took the mic and tried to get the attention of the chatty Cathies and Charlies. It only seemed to give the C’s something more to talk about.

In a change of POA, the “Farm-To-Table Dinner” offering was on the auction bloc in the middle of the program instead of the tail end. With paddles waving, it added scrambling activity to the noise factor.

Then Chef Kent Rathbun took over the mic to pitch the “At Home With The Rathbuns” package. Let’s face it. When Kent takes over, the big guy is like your junior high school coach — he knows how and with whom to make eye contact to get the message across.

Dawn Spalding, Amy and Les Ware

Dawn Spalding, Amy and Les Ware

But despite the hubbub, many happy faces were beaming over their prizes — Bill Esping got a kiss from wife Heather for the “Fashion Week Through the Eyes of Vogue;” Lisa and Bill Ogle snapped up “Art Basel Miami Beach;” the wine cellar diner with Emmanuel Villaume went to Adam Carter; Suzy and Larry Gekiere are headed to Vegas for the “Ultimate Las Vegas Oasis;” after spending part of the summer in London, Nancy and Clint Carlson won the “Luxury in London” package; and still another kiss reward was exchanged by Amy and Less Ware for landing the “Retreat in the French Riviera.”

Barbara Daseke and Heather and Bill Esping

Barbara Daseke and Heather and Bill Esping

Michele Vobach, John Swords, Tara Lewis, Nick Even, Kent Rathbun, Lynn McBee and Stephen Vobach

Michele Vobach, John Swords, Tara Lewis, Nick Even, Kent Rathbun, Lynn McBee and Stephen Vobach

As for the Rathbun dinner, it went up for bid twice and was won by a slew of folks including Nick Even, Tara Lewis, John Swords, Michele and Stephen Vobach and the McBees.

Farm To Table bidding

Farm To Table bidding

As for the “Farm To Table” package for 40 couples, 26 paddles went up. Translation: Some folks bought more than one pair @ $750 resulting in a swift $30,000 for dining in a pasture. Worth every delicious penny!

Despite the volume and the competition with the Arboretum for this night of nights, TACA Executive Director Becky Young was all smiles. Seems that once again the gala broke another record, raising $615,000 with $195,000 resulting from the auction alone.

Just goes to show — noisy can be profitable.

Free Panel Discussion With Education Experts To Precede Rory Meyers Children’s Garden Ribbon Cutting

Somebody needs to turn down the activity meter at the Dallas Arboretum. As if those folks didn’t have enough on their Daytimers with the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden Gala tonight and the ribbon cutting tomorrow at noon, they’re hosting a special events for teachers from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday.  Yup, Saturday as in tomorrow just before the ribbon cutting.

Math and science teachers and for that matter anyone interested in education may attend a free panel discussion — “Inspiring Pursuit of Science and Math.” It will feature a “prestigious panel including Bill Badders, President of the National Science Teachers Association; Kerri Briggs, Ph.D., Director of Education Reform for the Bush Institute and Former State Superintendent of Education for Washington, D.C.; and the Honorable Edward McPherson, Former U.S. Under Secretary of Education and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of Education during President George W. Bush’s tenure.

The facilitator and chair of the event will be Ann Stuart, Ph.D., Chancellor of Texas Woman’s University. Two DISD STEM teachers, Tanisha Owens, STEM Department Instructional Supervisor, and Kendria Johnson, 6th grade science teacher at Zan Holmes Middle School, will be on the panel as the voice of today’s classroom.

The morning panel will fit in nicely with the noon ribbon cutting, since the Children’s Garden was “designed specifically to address state and national science standards in life, earth and environmental sciences through interactive learning with innovative technology, 150 interactive exhibits and natural elements.

Call 214.515.6615 to let them know you’re coming, or email Tiffany Geib.

Dallas Arboretum’s Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden Gala Has Backup Plans Well Planted In Case Of Rain

Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden*

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden*

The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden Gala organizers have revealed backup plans just in case Friday’s predictions of rain come true.

If the weather is lovely, then cocktails will be at the Children’s Garden with festivities held in Rosine Hall. However, if the skies drip away making a cocktail party in the Children’s Garden too wet for enjoyment, they’ll have cocktails on the terraces adjacent to Rosine Hall. And, yes, the patio area will of course be tented.

* Photo provided by the Dallas Arboretum

Will That Forecasted Wet Stuff From The Skies Change Plans For Area Fundraisers?

Cloudy skies (File photo)

Cloudy skies (File photo)

Could that possibly be? Are the rumors being spread by area meteorologists true? Is rain really in our future? Only time will tell. However, there are a couple of events scheduled in the days ahead like the opening activities of the Dallas Arboretum’s Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden this Friday and Saturday and Affair of the Art on Saturday.

To keep you up to date with possible changes in plans, MySweetCharity will let you know if outdoor plans are moved indoors.

Sold-Out Alert: Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden Gala

Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden*

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden*

Another event hits the sold-out mark. The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden Gala at the Dallas Arboretum on Friday, September 20, is done. How simply wonderful that two big fundraisers — the Garden Gala and the TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Gala — are being held at the same time and yet still both sold out weeks before.

If you’re simply devastated about the sold-out situation at the Dallas Arboretum, you might try begging your way onto the waiting list. But if that doesn’t work, find a kiddo and use them as your excuse to check out the garden. It’s so unique that there are those who swear they feel younger having just walked through it.

* Photo provided by the Dallas Arboretum

Garden Chic Will Be The Attire For The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden Gala On September 20

Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Gardens*

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden*

Instead of heading to your plastic surgeon to looks ages younger, here’s a suggestion: head to the Dallas Arboretum for the September 20 Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden Gala. There are rumors that just wandering the garden transports one and all to whimsical days of childish delights. Imagine a “museum without walls,” that is entertaining and educational within eight acres of greenery, water features and all types of interactive galleries.

Just the night before the official opening, the gala will begin with cocktails and tours of the garden just as the sun is setting over White Rock Lake. Then a seated dinner in the garden itself will take place. As if the garden wasn’t enough, the Garland ISD Children’s Chorus and the Texas Winds Musical Outreach to perform throughout the evening. Ah, but here’s more. New York-based Annie Hickman, who is known for weaving “together costumes, sculpture, movement, dance and the world of nature,” will top off the evening.

Rory Meyers Children's  Adventure Gardens*

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden*

Event Co-Chairs Sandra Estess and Judy Gibbs have arranged for garden namesake Rory Meyers and her husband Howard to serve as honorary co-chairs.

To add to the fun of the evening, attire will be “Garden Cocktail.” No, that doesn’t mean you need to wear a fern lapel nor a necklace of daisies. You know better.

Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Gardens*

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden*

“We are privileged to be the home of the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, the world’s most elaborate and interactive garden for children,” said Dallas Arboretum President/CEO Mary Brinegar. “We are most grateful to the City of Dallas and to our generous private and corporate donors for their continued support of the Arboretum and this important addition to our gardens for the children of Dallas.”

Individual tickets start at $500 with proceeds going to the Arboretum. For more gala information, contact Karen Reardon.

* Photos provided by the Dallas Arboretum