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The Secret Garden

Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden
6616 Spring Valley Rd., Dallas
Hours: The gallery and sculpture garden are both open to the public 10am–5pm Monday through Saturday. Closed Sunday. Let a gallery attendant know you’re there before walking into the garden.
Admission: Free
Parking: Free

Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden is not your typical arts-district museum with the usual family-sized restrooms, café and all-ages craft activities; but, this little-known modern art gallery in Far North Dallas does have an element that other art venues in the area do not: an outdoor sculpture garden. A complement to the smaller art gallery, it feels more like a lush, blooming forest than an immaculately manicured garden. Valley House is where artists go to retreat and, as it turns out, where families can find a fitting place to take their artistically inclined kids (ideally for elementary age and up, depending on their temperament) for exposure to fine art, much of it made locally.

To help cultivate their interest this spring, stroll through the pebble-laden pathways (admittedly, not ideal for strollers) and concrete footbridges for a closer look at the stone and metal sculptures, many of which resemble people in various states of movement and contemplation.

Walking the four-plus acres may only take an hour or so before you decide to check out the indoor gallery – the 60th anniversary exhibit is on view through May 31 – but stick to the intended garden path in the mean time. In addition to sunbathing turtles, who are sure to catch your child’s eye from the pond’s islet, an array of wildlife – squirrels, snakes and even the occasional bobcat – call this semi-developed garden home.

Interestingly, the garden doubles as a backyard for gallery owners Kevin and Cheryl Vogel, who live on the property in a mid-century modern house a few steps from the gallery itself — a testament that art isn’t only for show but a way of life.

Published May 2014