About the Arboretum
The Dallas Arboretum Today
The Arboretum has been listed among the top arboretums in the world and the number of honors is so extensive it is listed on our website. The Dallas Arboretum is proud to offer the public an array of popular annual events, educational programs for children and adults, and an emphasis on family-oriented activities. Ground-breaking horticultural research conducted in our Trial Gardens continues to contribute to an important body of knowledge, both regionally and nationally.
Located on the shores of White Rock Lake, the Arboretum’s 66 acres include a complete life science laboratory with endless potential for discovery. The Arboretum has a 75 member Board of Directors, 120 full-time paid staff members, 50+ part-time paid staff members, and more than 273 active volunteers.
Support for the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is provided by our members, donors and the Dallas Park and Recreation Department.
Because the Arboretum is younger than many of the nation’s botanic gardens and arboreta, there is still considerable room for growth and development of the gardens as well as its research and education efforts. The Arboretum is now completing an update of its 2001 Master Plan for the development of the remaining undeveloped spaces at the Arboretum. The Master Plan also provides for an extension of the tram path to encompass the entire area.
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden was founded upon the dreams of a few visionaries with a passion for preserving both history and nature. Though the gardens themselves are comparatively young, the work that went into creating the current gardens began long ago.
- In 1974, the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Society, Inc. (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 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 and awareness increased. Both business and local citizens began to support of the Arboretum project.
- By 1980, DABS had raised over one million dollars and purchased the 22-acre Alex Camp House, which is adjacent to the DeGolyer Estate. Both houses are located on White Rock Lake.
- In 1982, the City of Dallas and DABS signed a contract creating 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.
501(c)3 Non-profit Documentation
The DeGolyer House
The home of Everette DeGolyer (1886-1956) and Nell Goodrich DeGolyer (1887-1972) was designed to look 100 years old when it was built in 1939. 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 21,000-square-foot home is Latin Colonial Revival style with 13 rooms, seven baths, five fireplaces, seven chimneys and a 1,750-square-foot library. Architects Denman Scott and Burton Schutt also included central air conditioning and heating when building the house. When the DeGolyers originally purchased the property, called “Rancho Encinal” because of the many live oak trees, it was being used as a 44-acre dairy farm. The DeGolyer House is on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the Texas Register of Historic Places. The house was recently renovated to re-create the look of the 1940s.
Alex Camp House
The Alex Camp House is an 8,500-square-foot home, which sits atop a gently sloping hill providing a stunning view of White Rock Lake. It was designed and built by well-known architect John Staub, and was completed in 1938. Both Alex Camp and Roberta Coke Camp were from prominent Dallas families, and Roberta was a generous philanthropist who supported local civic and charitable organizations including the symphony, art museum, ballet and her church. The house is a harmonious combination of Latin Colonial, English Regency and Art Deco styles. It is one room deep throughout, creating three exposures for all living and bedrooms.
Did You Know?
Among botanic gardens, the Dallas Arboretum has one of the country’s premier children’s education programs.
- DABS is a leader in children’s education among public gardens in North America –over 750.000 students have participated in education programming since the opening of the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.
- Singular in scope and size, the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden was visited by a quarter million school children and teachers for educational programs, and the Texas Native Wetlands is certified as an official field site for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Texas Aquatic Science program, the Moody Oasis is certified as a Monarch Waystation and the entire Children’s Adventure Garden is certified wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.
- DABS prides itself in partnering with Title 1 schools to provide at-risk students financial aid and bus stipends and our grand funded programs show positive impacts on STAAR scores and student learning.
An exceptionally successful public/private partnership, the Arboretum is committed to excellence, good management, and fiscal responsibility.
- DABS has invested in excess of $120 million in the city-owned property; city bond funds have supplied an additional $20.5 million;
- DABS has operated “in the black” for twenty-four (24) consecutive years;
- Development of the Arboretum is in accordance with a Park Board approved Master Plan;
- The economic impact of the Dallas Arboretum reached $92.2 million in 2015 and $105 million in 2016. The 2016 figure represents a 61% increase in the economic impact from 2013, according to a study led by Richard A. Briesch, Ph.D., Corrigan Research professor and professor of marketing at SMU’s Cox School of Business.
- Over 48,663 volunteer hours annually has an estimated value in excess of $1,323,633.
As one of North America’s finest display gardens, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is inspiring the beautification of North Texas and changing the world’s perception of Dallas.
- The gardens attracted 663,112 visitors in 2020; DABS has over 34,000 members;
- The Arboretum is consistently ranked as one of the top attractions in Dallas by TripAdvisor;
- Recognized around the world for our premier warm weather plant trials program, DABS’ research has expanded the palette of horticultural products available for use in North Texas
DABS works to keep the Arboretum affordable.
- Although public support is critical, less than two percent (2%) of DABS budget is taxpayer supported;
- The cost of operating the Arboretum is 67% subsidized by donors and members;
- Regular admission fee ($15) is typical for our national peers; however, because of discounts and free passes, gate revenue is expected to be around $14 per visitor in 2020; operating cost per visitor is expected to be around $20;
- Twenty-five thousand free tickets with a potential value of $750,000 are distributed through Park and Recreation Centers; DABS stipend from the City of Dallas in 2020 is $395,000;
- Admission revenue per school child served was under $5 in 2020;
- Discounted admission is available for large groups, veterans, seniors and on Wednesday;
- Admission is $2 in August and $5 in January and February