Pumpkins, Squash and Gourds, Oh My! Autumn at the Arboretum Fall Festival Returns with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz theme

Thousands of pumpkins, gourds and squash are sprouting in the Texas Panhandle this summer, soon making their way to Dallas for Autumn at the Arboretum, a national fall festival made possible by Rogers-O’Brien Construction. Named one of “the best pumpkin picking experiences in the country” by Trip Advisor and “One of the World’s 15 Most Breathtaking Gardens” by Architectural Digest, this festival at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden highlights The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, September 23 to November 22.


For the 12th year, Autumn at the Arboretum includes the nationally acclaimed Pumpkin Village featuring pumpkin houses and creative displays utilizing more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash along with hay bales and cornstalks. Themed “Pumpkins, Squash and Gourds, Oh My!,” Pumpkin Village takes each visitor on a trip highlighting the beloved book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Guests travel through the Pumpkin Village on an actual yellow-brick road, spiraling through Pecan Grove with stops at each major occurrence in the story of Dorothy and her adventures in the “Land of Oz.”  Vignettes include “Auntie Em’s house,” the “Scarecrow’s Garden,” the “Enchanted Forest” with the “Tin Man” and “Cowardly Lion,” “Munchkinland,” “Emerald City” showcasing the carriage pulled by “A Horse of A Different Color,” and the “Wicked Witch’s Castle” including the Hay Bale Maze mimicking the castle walls. “Munchkinland” is also the home of the Tom Thumb Pumpkin Patch offering pumpkins for purchase and activities for the kids.


“Our visitors are going to love The Wonderful Wizard of Oz theme at the Pumpkin Village because many know this story.  Our 50-member horticulture team goes to great lengths to create that ‘wow’ factor,” said Dave Forehand, vice president of gardens for the Dallas Arboretum. “Last year, a quarter of a million people came to Autumn at the Arboretum, and we hope even more people will come see this amazing display.”


On October 3, the Dallas Arboretum opens a new attractive year-round destination named A Tasteful Place, a garden designed in the center, to mirror an ornamental kitchen garden or “potager” as it is called by the French. The 3.5-acre addition is comprised of artfully arranged features, including a pavilion with event space and a teaching kitchen, an orchard, beds of ornamental display vegetables, herbs and flowers, and a lagoon. Check the website regularly for more updates and a complete list of garden activities, including cooking classes, demonstrations, garden-to-table dinners, daily tastings, a hillside for picnicking and educational opportunities, where we will teach where food is grown.


“In addition to Autumn at the Arboretum, our guests will also have the opportunity to visit A Tasteful Place that aligns with the Arboretum’s mission of promoting the beauty and knowledge of horticulture, while providing educational opportunities for knowing where and how our food is grown,” said Mark Wolf, Dallas Arboretum board chairman.


For Autumn at the Arboretum video, click here.


A myriad of activities take place throughout the garden on weekdays and weekends during Autumn at the Arboretum:


Cool Thursdays Concerts

Thursdays, September 7 – October 26

7-9 p.m.

Dallas’ premier outdoor concert series, presented by Wells Fargo, returns this fall with a fabulous band lineup. Gates open at 6 p.m. All concerts include some of Dallas/Fort Worth’s favorite food trucks. Concerts are already beginning to sell out. To purchase tickets and view the band lineup, visit the Cool Thursdays Concerts page.



Oktoberfest Garden

11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Café on the Green

The menu at Café on the Green features traditional German cuisine, including various kinds of sausage and beer. Take a break and enjoy a delicious Octoberfest-inspired meal through November 22.


Mommy & Me Mondays and Tiny Tot Tuesdays

Mondays & Tuesdays through November 21

10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Sponsored by: Kimberly-Clark

Enjoy fun, kid-friendly activities in Pecan Grove, adjacent to the pumpkin village. Activities include face painting, a petting zoo, silhouette artist and music by KinderMusic.


Harvest Tea

Monday-Friday (September 25-November 22)

11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Elegant seated tea service served inside the beautiful historic DeGolyer House, includes a seated, three-course high tea experience, while taking in the breathtaking fall displays. Tea prices begin at $49 per person and also include garden admission and parking. Add champagne service for $59 per person.  Reservations required.  Book online at www.dallasarboretum.org or call at 214-515-6511.


Zumba in the Gardens

Wednesday evenings (September 27-October 11)

6:30-7:30 p.m.

Martin Rutchik Concert Stage & Lawn

Join high-energy Zumba instructor, Martha Palacios, for a one-hour Zumba class.


Dallas County Master Gardners in the Garden (NEW)

Thursdays (September 29-November 16)

11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Members of the Dallas County Master Gardeners are on-site to answer any questions guests may have regarding what’s growing in the garden.


Every weekend:

Beer Tastings (NEW)

Saturday, September 23 and 30: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Sunday, September 24 and October 1: 12-3 p.m.

Café on the Green

Enjoy a beer tasting at Café on the Green, located centrally in the garden.  It is the perfect spot to take in the beauty of the garden while enjoying a beer. $10 per tasting, which allows each guest to try four 2 oz. pours of each beer.


Live Music

Saturdays: 12-3 p.m.

Sundays: 1-4 p.m.

Musicians specializing in a variety of music, such as Spanish guitar and folk guitar, play throughout the garden every weekend during autumn. Bring a picnic and relish in the music. Check the website for specific locations, line-ups and artists’ bios.


Garden Sized Games (NEW)

Saturdays & Sundays

9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Pecan Grove

Enjoy giant-sized games like Connect Four, Yardzee, Corn-Hole and Jenga in Pecan Grove. Games are available to play on a first come, first served basis.


Special Weekends:

Urban Wildlife Photography Workshop

September 23 & 24

11:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.

Pecan Grove

Back by popular demand, Urban Wildlife photographer Chris Jackson will be conducting two workshops per day. No reservation is necessary and this activity is free with paid garden admission.


NEW Chula Hoop Performance and Class

September 30 & October 1

11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m. each day

Chula Hoop USA Performance & Hoop Jam

Hoop Jam: Terrace at the Camp House

Join internationally renowned hula hoop group, Chula Hoop USA, for an Oktoberfest themed hula hoop performance, followed by a hand’s on class on the Terrace at the Camp House.  While most hulahoops are one size fits all, Chula Hoop gives garden guests the unique opportunity to find the perfect fit, along with instruction from a seasoned professional.  This activity is free with paid garden admission.


Columbus Day Weekend

Eddie Coker Children’s Concert

Monday, October 9, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Eddie Coker, sponsored by Dallas Child, performs children-friendly music on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage.  Family fun activities, Friday-Monday, 10 a.m. – 2p.m, face painting and petting zoo in the Pecan Grove.


Live Music:

Randy Vradenburg, Saturday, October 7, 12-3 p.m.

The sounds of pop, country, rock, jazz, blues, adult contemporary, and classical.


Tomás Sclar, Sunday, October 8, 1-4 p.m.

Named “Best Flamenco Guitarist in DFW” by The Dallas Observer 2012.


Pumpkin Carver Weekend (NEW)

Saturday, October 21 & Sunday, October 22

10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Martin Rutchik Concert Stage & Lawn

Master Piece Pumpkins’ Gene Granata carves pumpkins for all ages through live demonstrations. Purchase pumpkin carving kits in the Hoffman Family Gift Store and pumpkins at the Tom Thumb Pumpkin Patch.


Family Fun Weekend

Saturday, October 28 & Sunday, October 29

10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Celebrate Halloween with trick-or-treating throughout the garden, face painting, a petting zoo, and a magician in Pecan Grove. Guests are encouraged to bring their own trick or treat bag.


Ghoul’s Night Out (NEW)

Wednesday, October 18

6-8 p.m.

Crape Myrtle Allee

Join the Dallas Arboretum “Ghoul’s Night Out,” featuring fun activities such as palm readings, handwriting analysis and a caricature artist drawing guests in a “ghoul-y” fashion. No “Ghoul’s Night Out” would be complete without wine, live music and food trucks. Wine will be available for purchase, and three food trucks will be on-site. Guests are also welcome to bring a picnic.


North Texas Gourd Association Demonstrations

Every Thursday in October, and November 2

10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Crape Myrtle Allee

The North Texas Gourd Association creates items, such as jewelry and decorative accessories, with gourds.


National Pumpkin Day

Thursday, October 26

10 a.m.-4 p.m.

There is no better place to celebrate National Pumpkin Day during the fall festival. Celebrate this holiday by indulging in pumpkin flavored foods at select dining areas; visit the website for more specific items.


Dia de los Muertos (NEW)

Wednesday, November 1

6-8 p.m.

Celebrate the “Day of the Dead” with activities located throughout the garden including, a face painting competition, a henna tattoo artist, a DJ and mask-making. Wine and beer are available for purchase, along with three food trucks. Guests are welcome to bring picnics.

Día de Los Muertos Face Painting Competition

Guests are encouraged to paint their faces in the style of the holiday at home and then celebrate the Day of the Dead by entering a face painting competition. Judges assess all competitors present by 6:30 p.m. and the winner is announced at 7:30 p.m. First place gets a great, Mexican-themed gift basket. See website for full competition rules and details.


Hoffman Family Gift Store Book Signings/Events:

Book Signing-Saturday, September 23

11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Join the creator of The Round Top Collection, Jeff Krause, to purchase a signed piece of art from this popular line of gifts and home décor.  Additional book signings and highlights include gourd craft demonstrations, Imported Gourmet Foods and Eating Well Seriesbook signings.  Visit website for full list of Gift Store events.


Book Signing–Saturday, September 30

11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Join author Diane Box for a book signing of Fred’s Texas Stampede.


Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden:

Children’s Adventure Garden Fourth Birthday Celebration

Friday, September 22

6-8 p.m.

$10 General Admission

Celebrate the Children’s Adventure Garden’s Fourth Birthday with a special guest, an OmniGlobe presentation, lively music and a Birthday Lab.


Evening Trick-or-Treating in the Children’s Adventure Garden

Friday, October 28-Sunday, October 30

6-9 p.m.

$10 General Admission

Come in dressed in a Halloween costume for a spooky maze tour, glowing programs and a Halloween-themed Lab.


Johnny Appleseed Weekend

September 23 & 24

Throughout the Children’s Adventure Garden

8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day with a Johnny Appleseed puppet show, apple-themed programs, and a special apple tasting.


TECH Truck

September 30 & November 11

The Moody Oasis

1-3 p.m.

Tinker, Engineer, Create, Hack! Join the TECH Truck staff from the Perot Museum for a hands-on experience where there is no limit to creativity.


Dinosaurs Rock

October 22

The Glade

11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m. & 2 p.m.

Explore the prehistoric world with DINOSAURS ROCK®! Get up close with life-size dinosaur fossils, eggs, skulls and skeletons. Learn amazing facts about the history behind these fascinating creatures.


National Chemistry Week

October 22-28

Throughout the Children’s Adventure Garden

12 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.

Enjoy an entire week of chemistry magic in the Children’s Adventure Garden. Explore the Plant Lab for Milk Macromolecules and a different chemistry program every afternoon.



BOGO Wednesday and Arboretum After Hours

Wednesdays (September 27-October 18)

9 a.m.-8 p.m.

Buy one, get one free admission every Wednesday; offer is valid for Arboretum After Hours.


C.C. Young Senior Thursdays

Thursdays (September 28-November 16)

9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Seniors can enjoy $11 admission and a 20 percent discount at the Hoffman Family Gift Store. Discount is only available at the ticket booth.


$2 State Fair Discount (September 29-October 22)

Present ticket stub for $2 off general admission.


Tom Thumb $1 off General Garden Admission (September 23-November 22)

Tom Thumb offers $1 off general garden admission tickets, available at area Tom Thumb and Albertson’s locations.


Speakers Bureau:

For those wanting to have a representative come to their club or organization to share about Autumn at the Arboretum or another topic, contact the Dallas Arboretum speakers bureau at speakers@dallasarboretum.org.




Autumn at the Arboretum is made possible by Rogers-O’Brien Construction.


Additional sponsors include Alliance Data, Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate, Mutual of Omaha, Texas Instruments, C.C. Young, Full Color Inc., Kimberly-Clark, Reliant, Tom Thumb, DallasChild and Macy’s.


For more information on all Autumn at the Arboretum events, call 214.515.6615, visit the Autumn DropBox or the Autumn at the Arboretum page.


About the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden:

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218. The Dallas Arboretum is also the home of the internationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. The Arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for children 3-12 and free for Arboretum members and children two and under. There is an additional cost of $3 per person for entrance into the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. On-site parking is $15; pre-purchased online parking is $8. The Dallas Morning News is the principal partner of the Dallas Arboretum. The Arboretum is supported, in part, by funds from the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department. WFAA is an official media sponsor for the Dallas Arboretum. 


Principal of Philanthropy Lifestyles (formerly SocialWhirl.com), the award-winning eBuzzNewsletter and Adams Communications Public Relations, a boutique PR firm specializing in media and community relations for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Sharon is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Dallas Business Journal, Katy Trail Weekly, People Newspapers (Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People/North Dallas People), Preston Hollow Life magazine, The Park Cities News, White Rock Lake Weekly, numerous blogs and websites and more.