If laughter is the best medicine, then walking through green, lush spaces may just be the best therapy. People who are strictly city dwellers have a higher risk of developing anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses. But those who frequent parks and other natural environments are found to have substantially lower levels of stress.
So if you need to decompress after gazing into harsh blue computer light for more than eight hours, here’s where to find sanctuary.
As the clear poster child for urban Dallas greenery, Klyde-Warren Park has it all. A playground for the kids, frequent live music and movie screening events all within a quarter mile stretch of green grass in the middle of downtown.
In order to naturalize the five-acre plot, the city needed $110 million for feasibility studies, planning and construction. Funding came from Texas Capital Bank Founder Jody Grant as well as public funds, and the plans were carried out by the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation.
The planning included designs for special soil to reduce weight and trenches below the deck to allow trees to grow. Nearly ever detail of Klyde-Warren is proof that it is, as the city of Dallas calls it, a feat of engineering and design. Plus, if you ever want to expose a non-native Dallasite, you can always make them spell Klyde-Warren on the spot.
While five acres of downtown park is a feat in itself, it can’t compete with the 66-acres of trees, flowers and foliage at the Dallas Arboretum. Located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake, the Arboretum is the result of several decades of growth in both the floral and spatial sense of the word.
Now that it’s fully developed, the Dallas Arboretum is a stunning natural refuge for North Texas. In fact, the Travel Channel named it one of the 12 best botanical gardens in the country. Plus, for the month of August, it’s $1 admission instead of the typical $15, and parking is only $5. Hopefully it’ll help more Dallasites realize how spoiled we are to have a travel destination in our own backyard.
To up the ante even more, why not visit the largest urban hardwood forest in the entire United States? The 6,000-acre Great Trinity Forest isn’t the kind of marvel many people would expect to be in the Big D, especially just 15 minutes away from downtown.
The Audubon Center itself used to be an illegal dump site, but has since been transformed into a home for wildlife and towering oak trees. Five miles of trails lead visitors through a mix of different ecosystems, including forests, wetlands and prairies. Make sure to visit the butterfly garden, check out the exhibit hall or do some bird watching.
If you’re looking to escape to some rolling hills and leave all the Texas plains behind, Cedar Ridge is your spot. The preserve sits at an elevation of 755 feet, with 600 acres and nine miles of trails. Trees, grassy hills and wildflowers are paired with wildlife throughout the area.
Picnic areas are basically designed to make it a perfect date destination. And in case you’re feeling particularly devoted to the pursuit of nature, they’re always looking for volunteers to restore hiking trails and help out in the butterfly garden. Snacks are provided, but you’ll need your own sunscreen (which we’d highly recommend).