A Day Full Of Pumpkins At The Dallas Arboretum Great Pumpkin Festival

Some friends of ours (from Ethiopia!) invited us to spend the afternoon with them today at the Dallas Arboretum.  Every fall the Arboretum hosts the “Great Pumpkin Festival,” which is basically just what it sounds like.  Pumpkins.  Lots, and lots of pumpkins!

family with child with down syndrome at arboretum

Pumpkins everywhere!

In fact in addition to pumpkins stacked to the sky everywhere you looked, they had four classic storybook houses built entirely from pumpkins like the one below.

storybook castle dallas arboretum pumpkin festival

I could make one nice pumpkin pie out of this castle!

I don’t even want to think about how long it took to construct all of the different pumpkin castles on display throughout the arboretum.  Yikes!

baby down syndrome at dallas arboretum pumpkin festial

I think baby Noah wants some pumpkin pie!

We tried to snap some some fun pictures of Noah sitting on top of a huge pile of pumpkins, but his core isn’t strong enough yet for him to sit up on his own.  It’s all good though, Noah has a great physical therapist, and I’m sure it won’t be long before he’s sitting, crawling, and playing on top of everything. 🙂

Our friends have a adorable son, Ebenezer, who really enjoyed the climbing on top of the huge piles of pumpkins  So we let him climb on top, and I snapped some pictures…by the way, doesn’t Ebenezer have some beautiful eyes!  (Our friends also have a little girl on the way as well that we can’t wait to meet!(

boy from ethiopia at the dallas arboretum pumpkin festival

Ebenezer really enjoyed the pumpkins though!

As we were walking around we found this fun frog that sprayed water out of its mouth…so being the wacky dad that I am I decided to let baby Noah play on it…..turns out he liked it…a lot!  It was so much fun watching the joy on Noah’s face as he splashed around in the water.

And yes, I’m aware that the videos and pictures of him sitting on the frog with the water spraying out look sort of funny; my wife and I are just waiting for all the creative comments about it. 🙂  But hey, he had lots of fun….and that’s what counts!

father and son down syndrome playing water

father son baby down syndrome playing in water

down syndrome baby pictures

We had a great time today hanging out among the pumpkins and spending some time with our friends Yohannes, Betty, and Ebenezer!  Thanks for the invite and the tickets you guys…we are blessed to call you our friends!

 family friends from Ethiopia at the dallas arboretum pumpkin fest

We love this family!

What sort of fun local events do you and your family enjoy visiting?   Oh, and a random question….do you like pumpkin pie? (Pumpkin Pie is one of my all time favorite deserts by the way…don’t worry, we can still be friends even if you aren’t a fan of it.)

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About Rick Smith

Hi, I'm Noah's Dad and I'm passionate about giving the world a window into our life as we raise our son who was born with Down syndrome. I also enjoy connecting with other families, so let's stay connected.


  1. Love pumpkin pie. I enjoy taking Ellie to the Children’s Museum of Austin. They have toddler days where the exhibits are geared towards the younger crowd. Ellie Bear has a blast. During the spring, we also take her blackberry and strawberry picking. Super messy, but loads of fun (not to mention great photos ops).

    Great photos of Noah playing in the water! It looks like he was having a blast 🙂 Ebenezer does have gorgeous eyes 🙂 I am happy you were able to have a great time with your friends.

    • Nice to know you like pumpkin pie..I knew you were alright! 🙂

      And who doesn’t like the children’s museum….I know I sure do. In fact maybe we can bring Noah down to Austin some time for a play date!

      Just as long as I can score some astronaut ice cream at the museum! 🙂

  2. Loved the video. I think Noah is pretty brave! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many pumpkins in one spot. And yes, I love pumpkin pie.

    I thought you and your readers might be interested in a play being cast in Toronto that will explore the lives of people with Down syndrome (Noah is a bit too young for the audition! — they’re looking for people in their teens to senior citizens)

    This is probably the first play to explore what it means to have Down syndrome from the perspective of those who understand firsthand.


    Canadian playwright Judith Thompson is casting for a play that weaves together intimate stories from the lives of actors with Down syndrome.

    It’s likely Thompson’s is the first play to give voice to this marginalized group: studies show that over 90 per cent of people given a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome opt to terminate.

    The play – to run at Toronto’s Next Stage Festival in July – will be a montage of monologues that explores what it means to have an extra 21st chromosome.

    • Ha,ha..lots of pumpkins, huh? 🙂

      Thanks for posting the link…it looks like a great play, I wish we could attend.

      And we are very aware of the abortion statistic…if you look through some of my past posts you can watch some of the television interviews we have done…we have tried to mention that heartbreaking stat on every one of them.

      I hope and pray that all of this exposure will help put a dent in that statistic.

      Thanks for al you do, and keep up the great work.

  3. Looks like you guys had fun! That pumpkin house is pretty cool. Noah is a water baby…that’s excellent for when he learns to swim…he seems pretty fearless. 🙂

  4. Love pumpkin pie! Yummy!

    Your son is so adorable! I’ve worked with children who have down’s syndrome and they are such characters! I don’t see how anyone can regard them as anything but adorable…as children all are!

    • Thanks for your comment! I took a look at your site, and it looks like there is a lot of great info there. I can’t wait to have a look around. Where are you located?

      By the way, the correct term is “Down syndrome” – just a heads up..I didn’t know either until Noah was born. 🙂

  5. Hi — Is there a way I could mail you a copy of our magazine? It is free and we send to parents and professionals around the world.

    Let Noah know I hope to see another ‘minute’ soon! Louise

  6. Stephanie (Warren's Mom) says

    We love pumpkin pie! If you’re interested I have a recipe for a killer pumpkin cheesecake 🙂

    We love taking Warren to the Portland Zoo, it’s a bit far so we try and combine it with our trip to the DS Clinic there. Also in the center of our town there is this fountain that sprays water up through holes in the ground…Warren doesn’t want to get in it, but he loves watching the other kids run and squeal.

    • @Stephaine….

      Um….YES! We would like that. My mom brought us some pumpkin cheese cake for Thanksgiving and it was AWESOME! It your recipe hard to make? I’m not that good in the kitchen…but my wife sure is. 🙂

      The Portland Zoo sounds fun…we are huge zoo fans around here. 🙂 And the fact that you can combine it with one of your medical trips make it even better! Thanks for being such epic parents.

      • Stephanie (Warren's Mom) says

        I don’t think it’s that hard, but I come from a baking people…

        Pumpkin Cheesecake

        Walnut Crust:
        1 ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
        3 tbs sugar
        2 tbs butter
        ¼ cup flour

        4 8-oz pkgs cream cheese
        1 ½ cups sugar
        5 whole eggs
        ¼ cup flour
        1 16-oz can pumpkin
        2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
        2 tbs brandy or rum (optional)

        Combine all ingredients. Press mix firmly into greased 9 inch springform pan with floured fingers. Bake at 4oo for 8 minutes. Remove and turn oven down to 350.

        Cream the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time beating after each. Gradually add flour mixed with spices then pumpkin and brandy or rum. Pour into crust and bake 1 hour and 45 minutes, until center is firm to the touch. Refrigerate overnight.

        A trick when baking a cheesecake: Put a baking pan with water on the bottom rack when you bake it.

        And for a slightly less rich flavor, you can substitute ground up graham crackers for the chopped walnuts.

  7. Scott and Vanessa says

    Cute friend!! He’s adorable! You guys looked like you had so much fun. Loved the video. But the orange shirt is funny!!!

    • Thanks!

      And I like I said…I PROMISE that wasn’t planned. I just happened to wear an orange shirt the same day. Man…it was funny.

      I’m SURE everyone though I was trying to coordinate with the pumpkins…! hahahah

  8. Hey, Noah’s Dad. The pumpkin festival looked great. I refuse to believe that the orange shirt was an accident. I think you are just trying to hog some of the limelight from Noah. 😉

    Two weeks ago today our son was born with Down’s Syndrome. He is laying in my lap right now and is pretty much the cutest thing I have ever seen!

    I started a blog to share photos and experiences with our friends and family, which led to one of our friends pointing us to your blog. So, I will try to check in when I can to see how your family is doing. 🙂

  9. Hi again, please let me know if you’ve received my messages about asking to use Noah’s picture in my sons tribute video. I can not complete my video until I hear back from you. Feel free to mail me if you have any questions ilovebubette@hotmail.com
    Thanks 🙂 Rachel

    • Hi again – I’ve just spotted your youtube account, so have uploaded the video privately and have sent it to your youtube account for you to view only. Please check it out and let me know if you’re ok with it. 🙂 Thanks so much

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