Although Houston has its fair share of urban wonders, it also has some of the most impressive nature and wildlife areas in the state. Take a break from the bustle of city life and stroll in the greenest spaces Houston has to offer.

By Zoe Judilla


Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

Photo courtesy of the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

The 155-acre nature sanctuary offers stunning trails through forest, meadow, and pond habitats where you can come across various wildlife. Dedicated to educating Houstonians about how to protect native plants and animals in the city, the Nature Center additionally hosts a Discovery Room with various aquariums and exhibits, a Wildlife Garden that holds planting demonstrations, and a Sensory Garden that carries special native plants. 


Edith Moore Nature Sanctuary

Photo courtesy of Jill Jarvis

The nature center runs along Rummel Creek and is home to various mammals, songbirds, shorebirds, reptiles, and amphibians. With 17.5 acres of hardwood, pine forest, and freshwater habitats, the sanctuary is home to many diverse plants and creatures. The area also has a restored log cabin that hosts educational programs, a plant nursery that contributes to coastal prairie restoration projects, and offices for the Houston Audubon Society, which specializes in conservation.


Buffalo Bend Nature Park

Photo courtesy of Houstonia Magazine

Built from the remains of a construction fill site, the 10-acre park has stunningly reconstructed wetlands that bring various migratory birds to the city. Catch sight of flighty friends such as blue herons, white ibis, and whistling ducks during your next picnic.


Cockrell Butterfly Center

Photo courtesy of the Texas Film Commission

One of the most popular exhibits at the Houston Museum of Natural Science is the Cockrell Butterfly Center. Carrying 50 to 60 different species of butterflies, the central conservatory consists of a balmy, rainforest environment and tropical flowers to appropriately tend to their exotic friends. 


Armand Bayou Nature Center

Photo courtesy of the Armand Bayou Nature Center

One of the largest urban wilderness preserves in the nation, the Armand Bayou Nature Center hosts 2,500 acres of natural wetlands, prairies, and marshes and is home to over 370 species, such as alligators and otters. In addition to educational viewing programs, the nature center also has hiking and paddle trails, Family Farm sites, and other unique outdoor experiences.

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