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.
White Rock Lake sprawls over 1,015 acres (410.75 hectares). It boasts picturesque picnic spots and recreational areas that provide great respite from city life. Numerous waterfront trails are popular among local hikers and bikers as well as those visiting Dallas. A complete loop around the lake takes about three hours. The adventurous can indulge in an array of outdoor activities on offer like fishing, sailing and, horseback riding. Bird enthusiasts have reason to rejoice, as the area attracts beautiful, exotic species. The panorama of verdant landscapes that enclose calm waters is the very definition of tranquility.
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.
This historic site sprawls over 227 acres (918,636 square meters) and has one of the nation's largest collections of Art Deco buildings. Built in 1936, Fair Park is registered as a National Historic Landmark. It was built by the WPA to house the Texas Centennial Exposition, celebrating Texas' independence from Mexico. It boasts an inspiring list of museums including the African American Museum, Age of Steam Railroad Museum, Museum of Nature and Science, Music Hall At Fair Park, Dallas Aquarium and Dallas Horticulture Center. You will also find concerts at the outdoor Coca Cola Starplex, college football in the Cotton Bowl, and the annual State Fair of Texas. The Visitor Center shows a 10-minute film about the park and offers walking tours by appointment.
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.
Long the symbol for the Mobil Oil Company, the giant Pegasus sign has become more than just a corporate logo to the people of Dallas. A local landmark, the brightly lit red-winged horse rotates above the Magnolia Building. The Pegasus Project, a local nonprofit effort, rebuilt it at a cost of $650,000 between the years 1999 and 2000, while the original Pegasus sign, taken down while the new one was being built, can still be seen displayed at the Dallas Farmers Market.
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.
Dallas' Central Public Library's namesake is J. Erik Jonsson, a civic leader who worked for Texas Instruments. In honor of his heritage, the library has a handcrafted scale model of an eighth-century Viking ship, the Drakkar, in permanent exhibit on the second floor Children's Center. The library's copy of the Declaration of Independence may be viewed in the Declaration of Independence Room on the seventh floor. While there you should check out the First Folio, the authentic first printing (in 1623) of William Shakespeare's plays. If your visit is more literary in nature, roomy aisles and shelves hold a tremendous collection worthy of a large city's main library. The wooden library tables and chairs create a comfortable atmosphere in which to study or read for enjoyment.
Discover a South American rainforest filled with monkeys, colorful toucans, crocodiles, manatees and otters. The aquarium portion of this popular attraction features 85,000 gallons (321,760 liters) of saltwater containing marine life from around the world. Giant turaco, Three-toed sloths, Weedy and Ribbon sea dragons are but a few of the intriguing animals on display. An outdoor lagoon-like exhibit features Black-footed penguins.
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.