Houston Arboretum & Nature Center
One of the most popular free things to do in Houston is to visit the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center (HANC). Located on the western edge of Memorial Park, it is a 155-acre nonprofit urban nature sanctuary that protects and conserves local habitats, wildlife, and plants. It also offers education and recreational opportunities for all ages. With five miles of trails, Houston Arboretum is a great place to get outside and explore the local area. Learn more in Houston area.
The Arboretum was once a training center for the Army. After the war, it was designated a park. In the late 1970s, trees were cleared to create a large meadow. This helped to increase the habitat diversity of the grounds.
Among the many attractions at the Houston Arboretum & Nature center are the wildlife garden, Discovery Room, and field stations. Each one has its own educational features and displays. For instance, the Donor Boardwalk is a spiraling raised boardwalk that stretches across South Woodway Pond. These areas are full of aquatic wildlife and foliage.
There are several events and classes at the Arboretum & Nature Center, including the Nature Revealed series. It tackles nature-related topics, such as how animals communicate. Guests can also join in on the monthly blood drives. Other programs for children include Tyke Hikes, a program for toddlers that allows them to enjoy the outdoors in an educational setting.
There are also summer camps, educational classes, and seasonal plant sales at the Arboretum & Nature center. Some of the classes offered have included photography, soy candle making, and songwriting. You can even sign up for a private group tour. Most of the events are free to attend, but there are also tickets available for certain events.
The Arboretum & Nature center has five miles of hiking trails that wind through a variety of habitats. You can choose from several different trail types, depending on your interest. A map of the area is available at the Nature Center, but you can also download a trail map online.
As the Arboretum continues to grow and evolve, the goal is to keep the site as natural as possible. To do this, leaders tapped landscape architects for advice. They developed a master plan for the site. They also improved infrastructure to provide an improved experience for visitors. Today, more than 85 percent of the land is preserved as a natural area.
During its history, the Arboretum & Nature center has experienced encroachment from invasive species. In addition, the arboretum has suffered from drought and other environmental challenges. However, these challenges did not deter the mission of the arboretum. Instead, they led to a more thorough understanding of the natural qualities of the grounds.
Thousands of school children visit the Arboretum on field trips every year. Additionally, adult and group hikes are held. Throughout the year, there are special events such as Nature Revealed and the Arboretum At Night.
Visitors can find maps of the area on the Arboretum’s website or in the Nature Center. You can also download and stream playlists of the Arboretum, which are specially curated to match the habitats you will be exploring. Learn more about Mcgovern centennial gardens in Houston Texas.