Houston Arboretum and Nature Center
The Houston Arboretum
is located in a large city park in the heart of Houston. The park was easy to find but the entrance to the Arboretum is a bit hidden. The entire site is set well back from the road, nestled in the woods.
You enter through a very nice visitor/nature center with a number of interesting displays about the nature found on the site. A lot of it is geared to kids but some is in-depth enough to be informative for adults.
When you walk out the back of the building you are immediately immersed in the arboretum. Most of the site seems to be a swamp, with boardwalks running through it for access.
I haven’t spent a lot of time in the deep south so the entire environment was new and exciting. Walking along the boardwalk, through the mostly bare trees felt almost like being on a horror movie set!
Given the watery setting, they’ve done a good job with identification signs. I felt like at least a few examples of most species were identified.
They also have excellent interpretive signs, teaching about the natural history of the site. There are signs about insects, birds, mammals and reptiles in addition to plants.
Overall I found it a very interesting and educational place. Individual plants and gardens are nothing special but the overall feel of the place is like nowhere else I’ve visited. For that reason alone, I loved it.
The arboretum covers 155 acres. After an hour I felt we had seen all the plant diversity of the site. However, natural history buffs could certainly spend a lot more time, looking for birds or insects or reptiles. As a nature center it has a lot to offer, giving the opportunity to learn about the natural history of the region in both structured and unstructured ways. Maybe the most important thing is that it is preserving a piece of a natural Houston that is fast disappearing. Affording people the opportunity to see what Houston was like before development is a priceless treasure.
Click here for more photos of the Houston Arboretum.
To visit the official website of the Houston Arboretum, click here.