Let’s just say we are huge fans of the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. It’s literally a little oasis in the middle of the city. Originally home to a World War I army-training base, the land has since been established as a 155-acre arboretum and botanical garden with over five miles of nature trails.
We set out to explore the nature sanctuary on a mild Houston afternoon (91 degrees). The dense vegetation over the wood-paneled paths provided us with enough shade to make the adventure quite comfortable despite the heat. As we meandered through the Texas wildflowers, white oaks and pines, we found ourselves loving this untouched part of Houston.
Our favorite spot was a lily-pad covered pond swarming with friendly turtles. We took a seat on a bench and watched as they navigated the lily pads towards us from every direction. We weren’t sure what their motivation was, as feeding the turtles is frowned upon. Nonetheless, it was a strange sight to see.
With only enough time to check out a few of the trails, we made sure to squeeze a visit to the Information Center into our schedule. This facility offers an abundance of child and adult educational classes aimed at maintaining and supporting the natural landscape.
Right next door, we found the Discovery Room, which features live aquariums, taxidermy and diagrams of the Arboretum’s inhabitants. The Arboretum grounds are known for attracting wildlife!
And for those with an appreciation of the greener things in life, you’re never too old to partake in a mini scavenger hunt, or you might try sketching some leaf impressions.
Even though our visit was brief, the impression was lasting. The Arboretum gives a glimpse of what the city looked like before it became the booming metropolis it is today. It’s a great place to melt away an afternoon.
• Entrance to the Arboretum is donation only. Be generous!
• Don’t be afraid to ask questions – the staff is extremely helpful.
• Dogs are welcome!
4501 Woodway Dr. Houston, TX 77024
Monday – Sunday, 7 a.m. to dusk (Gates close at 8 p.m.)
Yes, and dog friendly!