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  Photo Opportunities  

The staff at Arlington Camera has compiled a list of a few of their favorite places within our community to take amazing photographs. Not only do these locations offer almost unlimited and extremely interesting photographic opportunities, many of them have numerous events planned that you and your family may find to be lots of fun!  We’ve also included input from some of our customers and would like to invite you to e-mail any of your suggestions to us so that we may share new ideas with our readers in the future. So grab your camera and plan an outing at one of our favorite spots!


The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
One Nature Place
McKinney, TX 75069

This educational museum and 289 acre wildlife sanctuary in Collin County is the result of the philanthropic efforts and generosity of Miss Bessie Heard. The Heard began operation in October 1967, and now there’s so much happening here that you’ll be amazed! There are monthly bird walks for those of you who love to photograph and learn about birds. There’s even a few night hikes scheduled each season. For example, the Owl Prowl Night Hike will be on March 7th at 7pm. You can hike over 6.5 miles of self-guided nature trails that wind through the diverse habitats of the sanctuary. The Heard also has a beautiful native plant and butterfly garden. Their 2009 Photo Contest Exhibit will be on display from February 22nd through March 27th. Maybe you’ll be inspired and make plans to enter the contest next year!

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Dallas Zoo
650 South RL Thorton Freeway
Dallas, Texas

With 106 acres to explore, thousands of animals to visit, and a huge variety of family activities, the Dallas Zoo is enormously entertaining! Our goal is to make your visit an exciting adventure with opportunities to learn about interesting wildlife, engage in interactive fun, and support worldwide conservation and research to protect and preserve endangered species. Construction begins on a $13.5 million, 3.5-acre Simmons Hippo Outpost, an immersive African waterhole habitat that includes a giant underwater viewing area for these surprisingly agile, super-sized “river horses.” The Dallas Zoo is honored as one of 119 U.S. zoos to achieve continuous accreditation for more than 25 years by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

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North Texas Irish Festival
Fair Park in Dallas

This exciting annual event in its 27th year is produced by the Southwest Celtic Music Association and highlights the music, dance and culture of Ireland. This is a wonderful festival to attend and also offers you the opportunity to capture some unusual photographs. There will be enchanting storytellers, pipers, drummers and many top Irish dancers and musicians at the festival as well as cultural presentations. Add that to delicious Irish food and drink and lots of folks in kilts and renaissance era Celtic garb and you’re sure to have a fun experience! There are photo rules & guidelines posted on their website which request that you not use a flash for the on-stage performances.

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Texas State Railroad
Located on Hwy. 84
Palestine or Rusk

The historic Texas State Railroad was established in 1881. The train departs from stations in either Rusk or Palestine and travels through the beautiful piney woods and creek bottoms of East Texas. A nature photographers’ dream awaits you between mid to late March when there are special Dogwood Excursions. You will be able to view and photograph the woods which will be in bloom with dogwoods, red buds, pear and wild plum blossoms. And while you’re in the area, you might wish to attend the Texas Dogwood Trails Celebration in Palestine the last two weekends in March and first weekend in April. There will be parades, arts & crafts, and live music to enjoy. For more information go to www.visitpalestine.com.

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Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
4801 La Crosse Ave.
Austin, Texas 78739

March 16th – May 31st marks the official time for “Wildflower Days” at the Center. You’ll be able to take lots of photos in the 279 acre center that is home to approximately 650 species of native Texas plants, themed gardens and numerous trails. There’s even a butterfly garden! While the ultimate purpose of the Wildflower Center is to promote the use of these native plants, we have found it to be a source of inspiration for gardeners and nature photographers alike.

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Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge
9601 Fossil Ridge Road
Fort Worth, TX 76135

The Fort Worth Nature Center calls itself a “hidden jewel” and we believe that’s a perfect description because there’s a treasure of photo opportunities to be found in this 3,600 acre urban wilderness! Located on the northwest side of Fort Worth just four miles west of 1-820 on the Jacksboro Highway, it’s definitely worth the trip. Tranquility abounds as you wander through secluded hiking trails and explore the natural wonders found on the Refuge. There are staff naturalists available at the Hardwicke Interpretive Center to answer questions about the native plants and animals and offer suggestions to guide you in your explorations. If you happen to be looking for some local fun during Spring Break, this may be just the place for you! The Nature Center’s Spring Break activities include a Bison Feeding Hayride, a Canoe Fest at Greer Island, a Prairie Dog Hike, and a Morning Bird Walk! Binoculars and Cameras highly recommended! General Admission to the Nature Center is nominal and there are also small fees for each of the Spring Break activities. Check out their website for hours of operation, monthly programs, and beautiful wildflower photos.

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Stockyards National Historic District
130 E. Exchange Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76164

We may think of the Stockyards as a great place to entertain out of town guests, but it’s also a wonderful area for photographs where the Old West comes alive. Rich in history of the Texas livestock industry and full of unique attractions, historical buildings and landmarks, the Stockyards has a lot to offer. One Arlington Camera customer enjoys watching The Ft. Worth Herd and catching a few photos of the Cowboys and Longhorns as they make the twice daily “cattle drive” down East Exchange Avenue. Walking tours are available in the Stockyards, or you may wish to explore at your leisure. If you tire of walking, you might want to hop on one of the authentic Victorian style coaches belonging to the Grapevine Vintage Railroad and travel along the historic Cotton Belt Route between The Stockyards and Grapevine. One of the locomotives servicing this route is “Puffy”, the oldest continuously operating steam engine in the South. But if live action shots are what you’re seeking, don’t miss the Stockyards Championship Rodeo every Friday and Saturday night in the Cowtown Coliseum. There’s bull riding, barrel racing, bareback riding, country singing, the world’s most dangerous bull, and so much more! Please visit the Fort Worth Stockyards website for detailed information and schedules for all attractions and events.

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Fort Worth Botanic Garden
3220 Botanic Garden Blvd.
Fort Worth, TX 76107

A quest for beautiful photos in the Ft. Worth area would not be complete without a visit to the Botanic Gardens. Better take a variety of lenses and lots of film or memory to this 109 acre “Sanctuary for the Senses” located in the Cultural District. The Botanic Garden is home to over 2,500 species of native and exotic plants! Within the property, there’s the famous Rose Garden, the world-renowned Japanese Gardens with its koi-filled pools and dramatic waterfalls, and the gorgeous tropical Conservatory. Photo opportunities abound! During the month of March, the Garden hosts its annual “Butterflies in the Garden” event where over 12,000 butterflies from around the world will be released into the conservatory. Wow! And from April 18th - 19th there is a Spring Festival in the Japanese Gardens. While general admission to the Botanic Gardens is free, there are admission charges for the Japanese Gardens, the Conservatory and all Classes. There are also charges ranging from $25 to $75 for portraits to be taken in the Gardens, $50 for use of the Bridal Changing Room, and extra charges for Weddings. Visit the FWBG website for complete information.

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Amon Carter Museum
3501 Camp Bowie Blvd.
Fort Worth, TX 76107

While this is not high on our list as a location for taking photographs, we thought you might enjoy delving into a little photographic history. The Carter has an excellent exhibitios that runs from February 14 – May 10, 2009 entitled “Challenging Vision ” from the Collection ofBarbara Crane. This exhibition, organized by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, explores many aspects of snapshot photography as well as its influence on art. Still photography in available light is permitted in the permanent collection galleries for personal use only. The museum website offers additional information.

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Dallas Arboretum
8525 Garland Road
Dallas, TX 75218

The Arboretum is by far our staff’s #1 pick for stunning photos in the Dallas area. Located on the shores of White Rock Lake, you will find spectacular opportunities for photos of family, flowers, children, brides, water features, butterflies, birds, architectural interests and even the occasional passing sailboat. During the winter and early spring, you can even view the Dallas skyline from one of the trails along the western side of the gardens. The 24th annual “Dallas Blooms” begins on March 7th and runs through April 12th. The 2009 festival theme is A Classic, featuring a giant flower filled star along with other theme inspired topiaries throughout the property. Along with the beautiful annuals and perennials found in the gardens, you will also discover more than 400,000 spring-blooming bulbs and over 3,000 azaleas in this 66 acre expanse. So whether you prefer close-up images of individual specimens or flowing flower filled vistas, the Arboretum holds something to delight the creativity in every photographer. One member of our staff has been frequenting the Arboretum for many years and some of her most precious images of her now grown children were captured there. We sincerely hope you will make the time to enjoy the Arboretum soon. Hint: Due to the extreme growing popularity of the Arboretum, we suggest a weekday visit if at all possible. The non-commercial policy for photography states that “individual bridal or personal photography is permitted during normal operating hours with regular admission to the gardens”. Loads of additional information in regard to commercial photography, weddings, events, hours of operation, admission costs, etc. may be found on the Arboretum website.

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Dallas Arts District

There is a 19-block area located near downtown Dallas which is known as the Dallas Arts District. It is the largest urban cultural district in the country! Many areas of interest for photography can be found here including the Belo Mansion, the Nasher Sculpture Center (see below) and the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Before visiting the Arts District, we suggest you sign up for the Art District Stroll which can be found in the “walking tours” section of the website. The Arts District Stroll is held the first Saturday of each month and begins on Flora Street. The Stroll is a one hour docent-led walking tour of the history and architecture of the area. The stroll is leisurely enough to allow ample opportunities for photos. While in the area, you may also wish to take a free ride on the 3.9 mile line of the McKinney Avenue Trolley and explore uptown. One of the trolley stops is conveniently located near the Dallas Museum of Art. The restored antique trolley cars run on some of Dallas’s oldest streetcar tracks. Check out www.mata.org for additional information.

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Fort Worth Water Gardens
1502 Commerce Street
Fort Worth, TX
Open Daily from 7am – 11pm

The Water Gardens are located near the southern edge of downtown, between Houston and Commerce Streets, on a 4.3 acre site. Designed by noted architect Phillip Johnson and built in 1974, this unusual landscaping marvel features walkways that follow the terraced cascading waters, tranquil pools, and multiple spray fountains in the active pool. There are over 500 plants and trees throughout the Water Gardens park, which further help to make it a peaceful oasis in the midst of busy downtown Ft. Worth.

Trivia: Part of the movie “Logan’s Run” was filmed in the Water Gardens in 1976.

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Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora Street
Dallas, TX 75201

The Nasher “museum without a roof” is an amazing and quite peaceful retreat located at the base of the Dallas skyline. You simply have to experience it for yourself. While photo opportunities are numerous, there are restrictions. The photography policy states “Still photography and videography are permitted for private, non-commercial use only. The use of flash photography and tripods are prohibited.” While in the Arts District, please allow some time for a visit to this incredible place.

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