Looking for an engaging, outdoorsy (and, perhaps most importantly, cheap/free) activity for you and the family this summer? Head over to one of the stellar nature centers Houston has to offer.
Sims Bayou Nature Center
Twelve years old, the SBUNC is a 1.1 acre nature center that has become an indispensable member of Houston’s outdoorsy goodness. SBUNC contains “a log cabin, barn, gazebo, gardens, pond with native plants, boat dock and seasonal wetland trails that afford a unique opportunity to experience nature in a dense urban setting.”
3997 River Drive
One of Houston nicest nature centers, HANC is 155 acres of natural environment. From their site: “Visitors can explore nature by walking on trails (totaling 5 miles) free of charge. Each summer children gain in-depth knowledge leading to life-long appreciation of the natural world through week long Discovery Classes.”
The behemoth of nature centers, ABNC is 2,500 acres large. They’ve got live animal displays, butterfly gardens, and an 1800’s farm site. “ABNC also has the Martyn, Karankawa, Marsh, Lady Bird and Prairie trails that allow you to see and learn about the forest, prairie, marsh and natural bayou habitats once common in the Houston/Galveston area.”
8500 Bay Area Blvd.
Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center
The thing I always remember about this place is that they have a live snakes indigenous to our area display, but poking around their web site shows they offer a tad bit more. They also have “environmental displays; dioramas; and mounted specimens of local wildlife species” among numerous other outdoor activities. (Fishing, bird watching, trail walking, etc.)
20634 Kenswick Dr
Nature Discovery Center
Nice little nature center right near the middle of town, NDC offers several educational classes, walking trails, and a nice little playground. This is a good nature center for the smaller kids.