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When planning the last holiday festivities for the family, The 12 Days of Christmas at the Dallas Arboretum must be included. As one of “The South’s Best Holiday Experiences” according to Southern Living Magazine, this magnificent outdoor exhibit features a dozen 25-foot-tall Victorian inspired gazebos placed throughout the garden representing each part of the beloved Christmas carol.


Here are 12 reasons why guests should visit the Dallas Arboretum during the last few weeks of the holiday season:


  1. The 12 Days of Christmas – Spend the day with friends or family exploring the elaborate collection of a dozen 25-foot Victorian gazebos filled with charming costumed characters and whimsical animals made famous by the beloved Christmas carol. In order to enjoy the exhibit more than once, guests can take advantage of a buy one get one free admission available on Groupon, as this is the perfect time to bring out of town visitors to the best holiday experience in town. Some exclusions apply.


  1. The 12 Days at Night – During the evening, the garden opens for magical nighttime viewings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. With the new addition of 500,000 holiday lights, visitors enjoy a true holiday experience with live music and holiday treats. Some evenings have sold out, and pre-purchased tickets are required.


  1. Live Music at Night – Adding to the holiday experience and feel, live music is played throughout the garden when it remains open in the evening.


  1. The Artistry of the Nativity – With over 500 crèches from all over the world throughout the lavishly decorated DeGolyer House, The Artistry of the Nativity exhibition cannot be missed. The house is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Wednesday nights from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.


  1. Lunch or Dinner at Restaurant DeGolyer - Nestled inside the DeGolyer House, the Restaurant DeGolyer menu features delicious meals inspired by the recipes of James Sparks, executive chef at Gil's Elegant Catering. Both indoor and outdoor dining is available. This year, Restaurant DeGolyer remains open for dinner on Wednesday nights through December, with reservations required.


  1. Holiday Tea - Enjoy an elegant, three-course holiday tea, a tradition for many. Prices range between $47 and $57 and include parking and admission to the garden. Guests 12 years old and up are invited to tea. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 214.515.6511 or purchased online.


  1. Hoffman Family Gift Store - Located just inside the main entrance, the Hoffman Family Gift store features a variety of unique holiday gifts and one-of-a-kind mementos. All Christmas merchandise is 30% off, and proceeds benefit the Dallas Arboretum and its education and research programs. Present your Dallas Arboretum members card to receive 10% off store and online purchases.


  1. Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden - The holiday fun at this eight-acre scientific children's garden is for all ages with hands-on exhibits, activities and labs all day long. While there, guests can participate in the Starchy Night Lab and many other holiday themed activities. 


  1. Holiday Festivities - It's a great time to capture family photos while visiting Santa, a live reindeer or Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on December 22 and 23. Additionally, the festive Salvation Army Brass Quintet will perform on December 23 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., “doing the most good” at the Dallas Arboretum. Enjoy holiday refreshments in the garden to round out your trip.


  1.  Behind the Scenes of Dallas Blooms Festival – The Dallas Arboretum Horticulture staff is planting more than 500,000 spring-blooming bulbs for the renowned Dallas Blooms festival beginning on February 27. See the interesting way they get the beds ready and plant all these bulbs. Most mornings, they are planting.


  1.  What’s in Bloom – Winter is about more than just Santa and reindeer, but also the many winter plantings, including pansies, violas and Dinosaur Kale.


  1.  Crisp Holiday Air – Bundle up with your family or friends to enjoy a wonderful outdoor holiday experience with mild weather predicted for the rest of the year.

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