With 155 wooded acres and over five miles of trails, the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center is one of Houston’s Best Kept Secrets. Once inside the woods, you could be miles from the hustle and bustle of city life. It is hard to believe that this quiet retreat is inside the Inner Loop and just across the road from Memorial Park, the most heavily-trafficed park in the city.
The Houston Arboretum was one of the first nature education facilities for children in the State of Texas. It is open from 7 a.m. until dusk, seven days a week. Classes and field trips are available at the Discovery Room and Nature Shop, which has public restrooms. However, the Houston Arboretum is a haven and a sanctuary for native plants and animals – so dogs must be leashed and there is no picnicking allowed. But if you want a quiet place to see wild birds, butterflies and flowers, this is it.
The Outer Loop trail is my personal favorite – a broad, easy path from woods, to meadows, to ponds. As you move through all the micro-environments of the park, there is something for every child – little boys can run fast and throw sticks, and little girls can stop to smell the blossoms. Bug spray is recommended.
The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center is located only 5.35 miles from downtown West University Place – just a ten minute trip if the freeways are moving freely.