Recognized as one of the top 10 public display gardens in the country, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden has announced its economic impact on the North Texas economy. With the success of the Chihuly exhibit in 2012 and the opening of the $62 million Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden in 2013, the Dallas Arboretum has seen tremendous growth, which has benefitted the community. According to Richard A. Briesch, Ph.D., of Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business, the garden generated $171.8 million in economic impact in 2012 and $170 million in economic impact in 2013. Economic impact of the Arboretum refers to the combined effects of the operations of the Dallas Arboretum and visitor spending on the economy.
“The Dallas Arboretum, a Signature Park of the Dallas Park and Recreation Department, continues to make a positive impact on the area economy; provides acclaimed hands-on science education to thousands of students; research on warm weather tolerant plants to individuals, breeders and retailers throughout the country; and attracts nearly a million visitors annually to its dynamic gardens and internationally recognized exhibits,” said Brian Shivers, Dallas Arboretum board chairman.
In 2012, the Arboretum saw attendance increase by 42% over 2011 due to the success and extension of the Chihuly exhibit in which more than 300,000 people visited the garden during its run. In 2013, attendance increased 10.3% from 2011, primarily due to the opening of the Children’s Garden.
Spending by Arboretum visitors represented $21.86 million in 2012 and $17.34 million in 2013. This gives evidence of the impact the garden has had on cultural tourism and visitation to the city.
Dallas Convention and Visitors’ Bureau President and CEO Phillip Jones added, “As a world renowned oasis in our city, the Dallas Arboretum attracts hundreds of thousands of domestic and international visitors annually to our city. This long-standing economic driver of the Dallas economy continues to astonish visitors and the community with new impressive niche innovations from its internationally-recognized children’s garden, impressive seasonal floral exhibits and much-anticipated magical holiday display.”
Construction, expansion and enhancement activities in 2012 and 2013 added to the impact. The Children’s Garden construction, new surface parking lots and garage and new garden improvements added $86.2 million to the economy in 2012 and $108.9 million in 2013.
The study also showed the impact of school children affected by the Arboretum’s teaching programs with its mission of earth and life science education for kindergarten through high school seniors. In 2012, 100,698 students and in 2013, 93,784 students received supplementary science education through field trips, summer and after-school programs. This impact is valued by the SMU study at $1.3 million.
Dallas Arboretum volunteers also had a profound impact donating more than 70,000 hours annually with an overall 2013 economic impact of more than $1.5 million.
Average home prices in the neighborhoods surrounding the Arboretum saw increases. From 2011 to 2012, the amount was 9.2%, and from 2012 to 2013, the amount was 8.7%.
In 2014, the Dallas Arboretum is expected to see economic impact growth of between $65 million and $85 million alone without construction and between a $160 million and $180 million economic impact with the construction taking place. Part of this year’s economic impact will be from a new $2 million exhibit, The 12 Days of Christmas. Unique in the world, the exhibit features 15-foot-tall gazebos created for each day of the popular carol and placed throughout the garden. The exhibit runs from November 16 through January 4 and will be another blockbuster holiday experience.
About the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden:
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218. The Dallas Arboretum is also the home of the internationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. The Arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Dallas Morning News is the principal partner of the Dallas Arboretum. The Arboretum is supported, in part, by funds from the Dallas Park and Recreation Department. WFAA is an official media sponsor for the Dallas Arboretum.