The Trinity River Audubon Center sits along the Trinity River, south of downtown Dallas and while it’s still in the city’s limits, it seems a world away. The Center offers 5 miles of hiking trails, as well as access to the Trinity Forest and AT&T Hiking Trails. Currently the Trinity River Audubon Center trails are open with a reservation, but the center and facilities are closed due to Covid-19. Advanced tickets purchase is required.
The Trinity River Audubon Center opened in 2008 as a 120-acre preserve in the Great Trinity Forest, which encompasses over 6,000 acres and is the largest urban hardwood forest in the United States.
The Nature Center is a LEED building, using local, recycled and rapidly renewable resources.
Atop the building on the right is a Living Roof, similar to that at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas in Fort Worth.
Inside the center, there is an informational exhibit hall with many interactive displays about the Trinity River, it’s watershed and the plants and animals that live here.
Live animals like this Texas Spiny Lizard live in the Exhibit Hall. There are several hands-on displays available. This display is about the Tallgrass prairie, which once dominated most of North Texas. Bison herds and occasional wildfires kept the trees, especially the mesquite, from taking over the land. Today, very little of the once endless prairie, which stretched from Canada down through Northern Texas, remains.
My daughter’s favorite exhibit was The Shape of a River, where visitors could turn on the water and watch as rivers create their path.
My oldest son and I LOVE these natural building blocks, and have made our own collection over the years. I’m always excited anytime I see them in a school or museum or center. The uneven lines and unduplicated shapes enhance a child’s spatial awareness when building something!
A 3D view of the Trinity River as it flows through Dallas County. The Trinity River is the longest “all Texas” river in the state, traveling some 550 miles down to Trinity Bay.
There are learning opportunities all over the exhibit hall, my kids and I spent over an hour looking around.
Horn Vs Antler exhibit. A horn is a part of the skeletal structure of an animal, while antlers fall off and grow back each year, more similar to our own fingernails.
Due to Covid-19, the Center is closed but the trail are open with limited capacity and online reservations only.
The center sits on 120 acres, which was previously an illegal dump site. It’s amazing to see how they have cleaned up this area and returned it to such a natural state.
A baby red-eared slider posing for me in the wetlands.
All of the hiking trails can be accessed from the center.
I’m not sure what type of flowers these are, but the bees seem to love them.
The center keeps beehives on the property, and sells the honey they collect in the gift shop, along with t-shirts and other nature themed items.
The Trinity River Audubon Center is part of the 6000 acre Great Trinity Forest.
One of the trails ended just above the Trinity River, with no access down to the water. We hadn’t packed a lunch, but we found several picnic tables overlooking the river. There are not any nearby restaurants, so a packed picnic lunch would make for a nice hike.
The center also offers 2 hour guided canoe trips along the river. Since we have our own canoe and kayaks, they told me that there is also a public put in upriver, and that we can take out at the center. Sounds like a good trip this fall.
Overnight camping is also available at the center. For more information about the Trinity River Audubon Center, please click HERE.
Things To Do in Dallas (near the Trinity River Audubon Center)
Trinity Forest Adventure Park is incredible! Click HERE to read all about my death-defying skills!
Trinity River Audubon Center
6500 Great Trinity Forest Way, Dallas
Click HERE to visit their website.
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