Off the shores of White Rock Lake lies the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. The 66 acres (267,093 square meters) of lush, perfectly manicured landscapes hold a treasure trove of trees, bushes, and flowers that are sure to make anyone green with envy. The DeGolyer House, a 1940s-style Spanish mansion, is also located on the grounds. Tours of the house and its sculpture garden are offered. The Jonsson Color Gardens, A Woman's Garden, and the Lay Ornamental Garden are all exquisite features of the picturesque grounds.
The beauty of Texas' nature can be experienced first-hand with a hike through this 630-acre (146-hectare) preserve. With guided and self-guided tours available along the ten miles of wooded trails, outdoor enthusiasts can wander up to the Escarpment Nature Preserve, the highest point in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Along the way you can view ponds, wildflowers and a butterfly garden before arriving at vistas and an observation tower. The trails vary in difficulty. All are natural terrain paved with rock, mulch, or dirt. They are designed for foot traffic only, and bikes or roller blades are not allowed. Hikes can last anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours, depending upon the trail selected. A snack bar, gift shop, and amphitheater are also located on the grounds.
Pioneer Plaza is more than just your ordinary park. A bronze ensemble of lifelike cattle punctuates this 4.2-acre (1.6 hectare) park overlooking City Hall and the Dallas Convention Center. Nationally-acclaimed artist and native Texan Robert Summers is the artistic force behind the unique sculptures. The 70 bronze steers memorialize the cattle drives that took place along the Shawnee Trail back in 1854.
The historic Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park features lush, manicured gardens and a recreated Victorian-era town. Nestled near downtown, the expansive park is accentuated with beautiful homes and establishments. Volunteers demonstrate weaving, cooking and welding among other activities from that time period to those looking for an insight into Texan history. The site is an official history museum and is affiliated with The Dallas County Heritage Society. The society plays host to several events throughout the year; the annual Candlelight Country Fair and Old Fashioned Fourth of July draw major crowds.
Southern Methodist University has an enrollment of just over 9,000 students. People from more than 80 countries and all 50 states come to study on this campus. Though named after the Methodist denomination, students from every religious background are welcome. SMU has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top 100 universities in the country. In addition to its fine undergraduate degree programs, SMU offers graduate degrees through its Underwood School of Law, Perkins School of Theology, and Cox School of Business.
The Old Red Courthouse is an outstanding feature of the Dallas County Historic Plaza. It was built in 1892 in Romanesque Revival style. It is constructed of rough-cut, Pecos Red Sandstone and trimmed in Arkansas blue granite. The courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a City of Dallas Landmark and a Recorded Texas Historical Landmark. Four prior courthouses have graced the same location. The Old Red Courthouse contains the Old Red Museum.
A great testament to urban redevelopment and creating green-space within a city, the Belo Garden is a public park, open for all to enjoy. The former parking lot is now a lively hub of activity in the city and offers a great place to rejuvenate, relax, pursue fitness goals or simply enjoy nature in an urban environment. Especially popular with kids, is the interactive fountain where kids can play and socialize. With a lovely nod to the local flora and landscape, the Texas Grove is a sight to see in the autumn with it's dramatic oranges and golds, and the little gardens populated with local flora interspersed around the park are a lovely place to relax. If you'd like to enjoy a little quiet time and take a break from the chaos, stop by the park and enjoy the greenery in the heart of Dallas.
This spiral-shaped chapel was designed by Philip Johnson, the noted American architect, and features stained glass by Gabriel Loire. It honors the spirit of gratitude as it is represented in world religions. The chapel comprises just part of this lovely downtown oasis, which includes the Bell Tower, a garden, walkways with reflecting pools and waterfalls.
Situated just a few blocks away from the Park Plaza in Downtown Dallas, Dallas' City Hall is a majestic and modern piece of architecture. Constructed by architects Theodore Musho and I.M. Pei, the building resembles an inverted pyramid. The city hall stands as the seat of Dallas' civic and government operations. The main area of the building is the second floor which is rightly named the Great Court because of its high vaulted ceiling. City Hall also houses a conference center and a state-of-the-art auditorium. The building is surrounded by the City Hall Plaza which is often used for open-air events, protests, speeches and rallies.
Located in the historic district on the west end of Downtown, this cabin is dwarfed by the towering skyscrapers that surround it. This cabin is actually a recreation of the actual one-room cabin built by Dallas founding father John Neely Bryan. John Neely Bryan Cabin stands alone, much like the original cabin must have stood on the plains of the fledgling city of Dallas.
The Baptist Fountain which is inspired by the Gospel of Jesus Christ is located inside the Jeffress Fountain Plaza campus. The cylindrical center piece of the fountain has water gushing down itself and then spring up from the faucets which form the rim of the bowl. A 66 feet (20 meter) high cross stands proudly at the top of the fountain. On special occasions, one can witness the fountain's choreographed dances complemented with beautiful light installations.