Arboretum: Koi Pond Incident ‘Embarrassing’

As the weather cools and families look for outdoor activities that provide social distancing without the sweat, one group visiting the Dallas Arboretum apparently decided to act fishy.

In a video uploaded to Reddit yesterday, two adult men and a child lay on their stomachs, attempting to grab the koi fish in one of the Arboretum’s ponds, while other adults stand watching.

None of the individuals had masks on, either, despite Arboretum policy.

“Being one the most beautiful gardens in world, the Dallas Arboretum is especially popular as many people are enjoying leaving home to delight in the autumn beauty,” an Arboretum spokesperson told us when we reached out for comment on the video. “Yet, we now have stated safety protocols that we have placed in advertising, outer signage, and signage throughout the garden.

“We have insisted that people wear a mask for the entire time of their visit unless dining or medically unable to do so.”

The garden has always been a destination, and is especially so now that people are looking for safe entertainment during the pandemic – and as the annual pumpkin display draws families for autumn photos.

“Although we have more people in the garden on major paths, it still surprises us when people blatantly take off their masks, or in this instance disturb the koi, which are for guests to enjoy, not catch,” the spokesperson said. “The vast majority of our visitors are so courteous, so this was very distressing.

“Our top priority is the health and safety of our guests, volunteers and staff and preserving the beauty of our garden. This incident was embarrassing to have happen on our property.”

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at

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