The mission of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is to build and maintain a public venue that promotes the art, enjoyment and knowledge of horticulture, while providing opportunities for education and research. We are committed to excellence, good management and fiscal responsibility.
More than 541,000 visitors from 50 countries came through our gates last year. The Arboretum was listed among the top three arboretums in the nation in Southwest Spirit Magazine, offering the public a complement of dedicated gardens, an array of popular annual events, educational programs for children and adults, and an emphasis on family-oriented activities. In 2007, we were named one of MSN’s Top Ten Places to Visit in the Country in the spring, and this year, MSN named us one of the 14 best places in the world to see spring flowers. Ground-breaking horticultural research conducted in our Trial Gardens continues to contribute to an important body of knowledge, both regionally and nationally. The Arboretum's 66 acres on White Rock Lake provide a complete life science laboratory with endless potential for discovery. During 2009, the Arboretum provided more than 80,000 visitors, mostly children, with educational programs. The Arboretum has a 65-member Board of Directors, 75 full-time paid staff members, 32 part-time paid staff members, and more than 400 year-round volunteers.
The Dallas Arboretum was founded upon the dreams of a few visionary Dallasites. Though the gardens themselves are comparatively young, the work that went into creating the current gardens began long ago:
- In the early 1930's, Everette DeGolyer chaired a committee to find a landsite for an arboretum for Dallas. Sixty years later, the concept for a botanical preserve is a reality-on the very land he once owned.
- In 1974, the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Society (DABS) adopted bylaws, elected officers and incorporated as a nonprofit organization.
- In 1977, the City of Dallas Park Board recommended that the grounds of the DeGolyer estate, which the City had purchased from Southern Methodist University, be the official
location of the botanical garden. The City encouraged DABS to raise funds for the initial costs.
- During 1978 and 1979, DABS membership increased and DABS obtained civic and business awareness for support of the arboretum project.
- By 1980, DABS had raised over one million dollars and purchased the 22-acre Camp Estate, which is adjacent to the DeGolyer Estate. Both estates are located on White Rock Lake.
- In 1982, the signing of a contract between the City of Dallas and DABS created an arboretum and botanical garden on the combined 66 acres of the DeGolyer and Camp properties. The gardens opened to the public for the first time in 1984
The Dallas Arboretum is a 66 acre garden that houses both the DeGolyer Estate and the Camp Estate.
The DeGolyer Home
The home of Everett DeGolyer(1886-1956) and Nell Goodrich DeGolyer(1887-1972) was designed to look one hundred years old when it was built in 1939. The home is Latin Colonial Revival style with twenty one thousand square feet. It has thirteen rooms, seven baths, five fireplaces, seven chimneys. The library has seventeen hundred and fifty square feet. The home was called “Rancho Encinal” because of the many live oak trees. The property had been a forty-four acre dairy farm when purchased by the DeGolyers. The house had central air conditioning and heating when it was built. The architects were Denman Scott and Burton Schutt. The DeGolyer Home is on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the Texas Register of Historic Places. Mr. DeGolyer was a geologist who ushered the oil industry into the age of technology with the use of the seismograph to find oil. Both Mr. and Mrs. DeGolyer were very active in the city of Dallas. The house has recently been renovated to re-create the look of the 1940s when it was first built.
Tours of the home are available Monday – Saturday from 10 AM until 4 PM, and Sundays from 12 PM – 4pm. During special events the house is open for continuous tours between 10 AM and 4 PM
The Camp Home
On the Camp property is an 8,500 square-foot home atop a gently sloping hill with a stunning view of White Rock Lake. It was designed and built by well known architect John Staub and completed in 1938. Alex Camp and Roberta Coke Camp were from prominent Dallas families. Roberta Coke Camp was a generous philanthropist, who supported local civic and charitable organizations including the symphony, art museum, ballet, and her church. The house is a combination of Latin Colonial, English Regency, and Art Deco styles combined very harmoniously. It is one room deep throughout, with all living and bedrooms having three exposures.
The Camp home is closed to the public, but the downstairs area is available for rent for weddings, receptions, and similar festive occasions.
Because the Arboretum is younger than many of the nation's arboreta, there is still considerable room for growth and development of the gardens as well as its research and education efforts. These are just some of the things that are planned for the Arboretum's future.
The Arboretum has recently completed an update of its 1987 Master Plan for the development of the remaining undeveloped spaces at the Arboretum. The Master Plan also provides for an extension of the Paseo de Flores to encompass the entire extended gardens and for the development of additional gardens.
The master plan calls for the development of a children's garden and horticulture center at the north end of the property. These additions are already being planned. These complexes will contribute to the education both of children and adults concerning plants and their environment.