ZimSculpt at the Dallas Arboretum

ZimSculpt, a collection of over a hundred Zimbabwean stone sculptures, is on display within the Dallas Arboretum, now through July. ZimSculpt 1I first glimpsed the sculptures while attending an arboretum concert. I knew I had to return to see them all! The garden, with its backdrop of brilliantly colored flowerbeds and greenery, frame the stone sculptures perfectly, much like a gilded frame showcases a painted canvas.

The garden sculptures range in height from three to seven feet. The artwork is carved from serpentine and semi-precious stone. In many of the garden pieces, the sculpture seems to emerge from within the stone.ZimSculpt 2 I love the fluidity of the lines and liquid smoothness of the art. Other sculptures mix the textures of rough stone with glossy sculpture. All have a simplistic beauty about them.

Shona sculpture

The tradition of Zimbabwean sculpture dates back to the Shona tribe and the eleventh century. ZimSculpt is a modern version of the ancient Shona sculptures. The renaissance in Zimbabwean sculpture began in the 1960s and continues today. Thematically you’ll find animals, mother and child depictions, and women, along with a few abstract pieces.

All of the pieces in the garden are available for purchase at prices ranging from one to twelve thousand dollars. There is also a ZimSculpt Marketplace where you can purchase more affordable pieces and also watch the artists at work.

Beat the heat

This time of year, it’s tough to beat the Texas heat. To avoid wilting in the sweltering temperatures, visit the arboretum when it first opens at 9 am. It is as much fun to pack a picnic breakfast as to sweat over a picnic lunch. Even better yet, Dallas Arboretum members can enjoy a ‘members only’ early morning on Saturdays from 7 to 9 am. Arboretum colors are at their height during the garden’s springtime Dallas Blooms. That said, I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of flowers currently in bloom, even in the summer heat. You’ll find flower beds loaded with color from sunpatiens, winecup, mrytle, and cone flower.

Details

The Dallas Arboretum is at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas. The gardens are open 9 to 5 pm daily (until 8 pm on Wednesdays). ZimSculpt is on display until July 31. Adult admission is $15. On Wednesdays, you can buy one adult admission and get one admission free. Guided ZimSculpt tours are offered without additional charge on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Autumn at the Arboretum

Dubbed Pumpkin Capital USA, Floydada farmers grow over 15 million pumpkins each year. To celebrate the bountiful harvest, Floydada hosts Punkin Days the second weekend in October.

Did you miss Punkin Days?  Never fear, you can still see 65,000 Flyodada pumpkins and assorted squash at the Dallas Arboretum.

Fall colors.  Autumn is ideal for exploring the arboretum. During the seasonal, Autumn at the Arboretum, pumpkins line the walkways, North Texas Ramblings Pumpkins Dallas Arboretumhay bales anchor 10-foot tall arrangements of plants and squash, and mums burst with color in the floor beds.  Who knew, squash came in so many different shapes and colors.

Pumpkin Village. Be sure to check out Pumpkin Village, a series of storybook cottages with pumpkin facades.  I’ve never seen so many pumpkins in one place before. Designed after pumpkin-themed children’s stories, kids love exploring each of the playhouses. And of course, there is Cinderella’s carriage pulled by straw horses! On the outskirts of Pumpkin Village, you’ll find more hay bales, this time outlining a two-foot high maze, ideal for the littlest of explorers.

Especially for kids. During Mom and Me Mondays, and Tiny Tot Tuesdays, Pumpkin North Texas Ramblings Pumpkin Village Dallas ArboretumVillage rocks!  In addition to exploring the storybook cottages, youngsters can feed goats at the petting zoo, get their faces painted, and participate in Kindermusik activities.

Details:  Autumn at the Arboretum runs September 20 through November 26.  Mom and Me Monday and Tiny Tot Tuesday activities are held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Dallas arboretum is located at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas.  The Dallas Arboretum is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More on the arboretum…..

Rory Meyers Children’s Garden

Calling it a children’s garden is misleading. A visit to the Rory Meyers Children’s Garden at the Dallas Arboretum is like a visit to an outdoor, natural science museum. And best of all, you don’t need to a kid to have fun here!

North Texas Ramblings Rory Meyers Children's GardenCovering eight acres, the Rory Meyers Children’s Garden is so chocked full of activities that we spent hours exploring its outdoor (and indoor) exhibits.

Pure Energy. Located at the bottom of the garden, Pure Energy is a favorite spot during hot summer days. Explore renewable energy from solar, wind, and water on a stage surrounded by a small pond. Little kids enjoy getting wet with the hands-on water exhibit. Adults and older kids can experience a tornado and learn more about wind turbines.

Texas Wetlands. While we didn’t see much in the way of living wildlife (aside from birds and squirrels), bronze animal statues populate the area around the wetlands. And we learned all about the vital role different plants play in filtering and cleaning wetlands. Who knew cattails purify water better than my faucet filter?

First Adventure. Located just at the Rory Meyers garden entrance, the First Adventure area is what you would expect from a children’s garden.  It’s a play area for the littlest garden explorers. Kids crawl on giant whimsical ants, play with exhibits set at toddler height, and plant table-top vegetable gardens.

OmniGlobe. One of only five in Texas, my family’s favorite exhibit was the OmniGlobe located inside the Exploration Center. This unique system projects simulations onto a spherical (think Earth) display. We watched continental formation over hundred millions of years, and simulations of tsunamis and hurricanes. The OmniGlobe displays astronomical phenomenon, too. My teenager thought this exhibit alone was worth the visit.

Secret Garden. Children (and even adults) looking for an adventure quest will enjoy this garden maze. While there were no dragons, we used our imagination as we wove our way towards the castle at the center of the maze.

When you go. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Dallas Arboretum is at 8525 Garland Road. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children. Admission to the Rory Meyers Children’s Garden is an additional $3. Situated just outside the children’s garden, the Garden Cafe by Two Sisters sells a wide variety of pre-packaged snacks and sandwiches, along with drinks and ice cream bars.

Visitor Tip: A Dallas Arboretum membership can pay for itself after just two visits. The family membership is $125. Sounds expensive, but members can bring a total of six people with them each time they visit the arboretum (and the guests do not have to be family).