Contact Us

Arboretum's 12 Days of Christmas

The holiday explorations and fun don't end after the turkey's been eaten and the presents opened. The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden will have the 12 Days of Christmas extravaganza on display until Jan. 3. The large-scale exhibit (uniquely designed and built for the garden) features 12 elaborate 25-foot-tall Victorian gazebos placed over 66 acres. But, there's even more than the life-size illustrations for the famous holiday tune. Santa can be found roaming the gardens. Here, he learned the Christmas wish of our DFW reporter's daughter, Sarah Auer

There's also a chance to get up close with one of Santa's reindeer. We met Vixen on our excursion on Sunday. One of Santa's elves can even answer questions about the reindeer.

Each gazebo is filled with costumed characters, whimsical animals and winter scenes made famous by the beloved Christmas carol. Each gazebo is encased in glass and decorated on all sides to provide a three-dimensional experience that adds to the music box quality. The Dallas Arboretum commissioned The Dallas Opera and Dallas Stage Scenery to create the designs. All craftsmanship, aside from wigs and bird feathering, has been done with local Texas artists, builders, craftsmen and vendors. This gazebo features 10 ice-skating lords. The mirrored floor acts as a frozen pond. 

Here's nine ladies dancing. New this year to the exhibit are 500,000 lights for an evening tour of the gardens. Other fun stats:

30,456 wooden berries on transoms

29,137 pounds of glass

28,328 rhinestones on the columns

20,000-plus hours of labor to build the gazebos

180 yards of fabric to sew gowns for Nine Ladies Dancing

55 mannequins, each with hand-painted faces with their own unique personality

28 hand-carved animals

8 weeks to assemble the gazebos in the gardens 

The Six Geese A-Laying display features the closest thing we'll get in Texas to a snow-covered forest. Snow-flocked trees of varying sizes sit on a mirrored floor that turns. Snow and rhinestone rocks are piled high around the edges of the gazebo. We snapped one of the two geese sitting on nests. Two are standing in their nests to reveal golden eggs, and two are nested in the trees. The geese have feathered and rhinestones heads and necks, and feathered bodies. There's even a little furry bunny checking them out.

The pipers are dressed as Scottish bagpipe players in red and green tartan plaid. Each piper plays the bagpipes and there's seating around the gazebo to enjoy the sounds of Christmas songs played by bagpipe. The ceiling is draped in green and red tartan to match the piper’s kilts, and a circle of horns adorned with roping and tassels are suspended from the ceiling over the pipe major. The pipers also move in this gazebo.

The historic DeGolyer House is lavishly decorated for the holidays and features The Artistry of the Nativity exhibition with 300 crèches from around the world. Plus, you can always explore the beauty of the park, as usual.

The squirrels are also a treat for the kids. Each Wednesday, the gardens feature buy one, get one free tickets during the daytime exhibitions. The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Rd.