Autumn at the Arboretum Featuring the Wonderful World of Oz
The pumpkins have arrived, and Pecan Grove is beginning to look like several scenes straight out of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This is the third Autumn at the Arboretum I’ve had a hand in planning, and to say that I am most excited about this year’s theme is a drastic understatement. I am beyond exstatic to share a sneak peak of our “Wonderful Pumpkin World of Oz” with you today.
Embracing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, we are going to whisk you away from Kansas from the moment you enter the Arboretum. From decorations, to turning the central point in the garden into something that walks you through the famous story, to activities – we’ve planned A LOT of activities for the fall – every aspect of your experience will remind you that this is the fall festival in Dallas, an experience we hope you’ll remember and cherish for years.
The Dallas Arboretum is known for its incredible display gardens and festivals. Years of pushing the bar ever higher increases the challenge of developing a theme that will interest and excite garden guests. We relish this challenge. When we hit on The Wizard of Oz, we knew we had a unique opportunity to not just impress our guests, but to transport them into another world and for our adult guests, to take them back in time to their first experiences in Oz.
And it was our horticulture team that had to come up with the meat of the plan to bring this famous book to live in Pecan Grove. I think you’ll be as proud of them as we are when you visit and see it for yourself. They took everyone’s favorite elements from the story and integrated them into our unique, 90,000-pumpkin (squashes & gourds. Oh My!) display to create a village. You can see the layout in the map below.
Each pumpkin house represents a major character or location from the book. All the houses are adorned with our traditional pumpkins, plus decorations taken directly from the story. Additionally, each house features custom-made illustrations on the inside to complete the scene and tie it together.
And of course, all of these elements are connected by a REAL yellow brick road.
What You Will Do When You Visit During Autumn?
While each weekend in Autumn offers unique programming, we also have regular programming every weekday so every visitor is fully engaged. Families are the focus Mondays and Tuesdays with the return of Mommy and Me Mondays and Tiny Tot Tuesdays in the Pecan Grove, with a petting zoo, face painters, and a silhouette artist from 10am-2pm. Are you crafty? Take part in an activities with the North Texas Gourd Association nearly every Thursday from 10am-3pm. Guests are invited to enjoy the magic of early autumn evenings in the garden during Autumn After Hours, every Wednesday through October 18. And that final Wednesday, we are so excited to host our first “Ghoul’s Night Out,” (but non-ghouls and non-girls are also invited!) Halloween-themed activities including a caricature artist drawing garden guests in a ghoul-y fashion & more, plus food trucks for a meal and libations for sale.
We are also hosting our first-ever Dia de los Muertos CELEBRATION!!! This has been years in the making. On the evening of November 1st, come join us to honor Mexican Day of the Dead, complete with face painting for all ages, mask making, a DJ, food trucks and beer and wine for sale.
On October 21st and 22nd, master pumpkin carver Gene Granata joins us to demonstrate his craft. He uses a set of classic pumpkin carving tools to create his masterpieces.
Halloween weekend, October 28th and October 29th is one of my most favorite weekends to be an employee of the Dallas Arboretum. Not only do I get to see kids of all ages dressed up for Halloween but I also get to see the delight on their faces while trick-or-treating through the garden. This year will be no different. We have trick or treating stations on the property, face painting, a petting zoo and a magician. Adults are encouraged to dress up too!
There’s No Place Like Home
Autumn at the Arboretum opens September 23 and runs through November 22. If you want to see the best pumpkin display in the south, follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City, and celebrate the harvest season in style, we hope you’ll click your heels three times and make your way to the Dallas Arboretum.
Public Events Manager