After almost two decades of careful planning, fundraising, and building, the Dallas Arboretum will finally open its children’s adventure garden this month.
The $62 million garden is named after Rory Meyers, the former chairwoman of education and research at the Arboretum, who helped develop the concept.
“Rory was always very passionate about developing the education addition to the Arboretum,” said Highland Park resident Brian Shivers, the chairman of the Arboretum. “She started from basically zero, and last year we had over 100,000 children come through our education programs.”
While the 8-acre garden serves as an oasis from the urban jungle of Dallas, its roots are firmly planted within state and federal standards for science education. The mission of the garden is to both entice the senses while educating grade-school visitors on basic earth-science principals.
“Of all the test scores that children take, not only in Texas, but nationally, science is the worst,” said Cecile Bonte, the capital campaign chair. “Of all the science courses, students do the poorest in earth and life sciences. So it seemed like a logical thing for us to create this garden and focus on it.”
The 150 interactive exhibits within the adventure garden are completely hands-on, and they pair two unlikely partners: technology and nature.
Some of the activities include the T. Boone Pickens Pure Energy exhibit, touch screens to teach about native bird species, a plant petting zoo, and the Exploration Center, which features the OmniGlobe, a device that can display weather patterns and continental drift.
The hope is that the children’s garden will not only seed the foundations of earth-science education within the visitors’ minds but also instill a love for nature and conservation.
“I have been involved with the Arboretum for 32 years,” Shivers said. “This is the most exciting thing that we have ever done.”
So when you’re looking to get back to nature, look no further than the Rory Meyers garden, which will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting Sept. 21.