Imagine meandering through a botanical garden on a moonlit evening, picnicking under a canopy of trees beside a shimmering lake, or taking in the sunset as you hike through natural grasslands. It’s all waiting for you here in Dallas/Fort Worth – and we’ve created the perfect itinerary to get you started. Simply print this five-stop tour or click around and create your own unique outdoor adventure. Then pack up the sunscreen, a picnic blanket and your favorite pair of shades. It’s time to get reacquainted with the great outdoors.
Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge
At the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge explore the Texas wilderness that greeted the first pioneers. You’ll see native wildlife and plants – including buffalo, white-tailed deer and Texas wildflowers – as you discover 25 miles of trails. The 3,600-acre sanctuary is the largest city-owned nature center in the United States and offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural history of north-central Texas. The Center is located just 10 miles from downtown Fort Worth. The Hardwicke Interpretive Center includes nature programs, exhibits, and a library.
9601 Fossil Ridge Road
Fort Worth, Texas 76135
River Legacy Parks & Living Science Center
River Legacy Parks is a 1,300-acre oasis on the Trinity River in the heart of north Arlington with a State of the art nature center. The Parks currently offer more than eight miles of paved trails winding through thick forest and expansive greenbelts. Wildlife is abundant in the Parks; outdoor enthusiasts from birders to botanists flock to the Parks for a glimpse of its diverse flora and fauna.
701 NW Green Oaks Blvd
Arlington, Texas 76006
The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
The Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary is a natural science education center, uniquely set and preserved in McKinney, Texas. With a 289-acre wildlife sanctuary, four miles of hiking trails, a two-acre native plant garden, live animals, indoor and outdoor exhibits as well as classrooms and laboratories, The Heard welcomes over 60,000 visitors annually. The Heard is dedicated to demonstrating, by example, the extraordinary importance of protecting the environment and natural habitats.
Directions: Take U.S. 75 to exit 38A. Proceed east to SH 5 south. The Heard Natural Science Museum is located one mile east of SH 5 on FM 1378 (Country Club Road).
The Museum is closed on these major holidays: New Years Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve and New Year’ Eve, the museum closes early at 3:00 pm.
1 Nature Place
McKinney, Texas 75069
Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
The Dallas Arboretum is nestled on the southeast shore of White Rock Lake in East Dallas. Home of the Southwest’s largest outdoor spring floral festival, Dallas Blooms, the Arboretum is a nationally recognized display garden featuring fabulous floral color in beds throughout the year.
Located on 66-acres on the historic Everette DeGolyer and Alex Camp estates, just minutes from downtown Dallas, the Dallas Arboretum is truly an urban oasis. Over the course of the year, the Arboretum will attract between 325,000 and 350,000 visitors to its finely manicured grounds. Whether visitors come for a weekly respite or from locations around the country, and often around the world, they will find the garden areas listed below resplendent with seasonal color. The Arboretum is a popular bridal photography spot and about 300 weddings are held in the Garden each year.
The Dallas Arboretum is known for two major annual festivals:
Dallas Blooms- This 6-week festival from early March until mid-April is the largest outdoor floral festival in the Southwest. The showcase of this event is over 400,000 spring-blooming bulbs; including tulips, as well as daffodils, Dutch Iris and hyacinth, flowering in symphony with over 100,000 pansies, violas and poppies and thousands of other spring-blooming annuals and perennials. The finale of this celebration of spring is the mass flowering of our collection of over 3,000 azaleas. May Flower- Starting on May 1st the Dallas Arboretum completely changes out the color beds of the garden with over 80,000 spring-blooming annuals in full color.
Autumn at the Arboretum- The Dallas Arboretum is a rich tapestry of color for this tribute to fall. For six weeks the already lush plantings of over 150,000 summer flowers in full bloom is complemented by an additional planting of 6,000 chrysanthemums and thousands of other fall annuals. The centerpiece of this festival is the “Pumpkin Patch” filled with over 20,000 pumpkins and the striking “Pumpkin House”. This 15-ft. tall house is completely covered in over 200 pumpkins, and surrounded by a garden of over 40 varieties of pumpkins and gourds.
General Visitor Information for The Dallas Arboretum
Address: 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Tx on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake, Mapsco 37U
General: Adults, $8. Seniors 65 and over, $7. Children, ages 3 – 12, $5. Children 2 and Admission: under, free. On-site parking, $5.
Hours: The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is open to the public year-round 9am to 5pm except for Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
Parking: On-site, $5. Free off-site shuttle during peak visiting seasons
Rental: Both the DeGolyer Home and the Camp House are available for rental. In addition, we have 11 unique garden sites that may be rented for weddings or other occasions.
Other Amenities: Audio tours, Meadows Orientation Theater, Hoffman Family Gift Shop, Information Booth, One-Mile Fitness Trail, shaded porches, plazas, and the Gisela H. Rodriguez Gazebo
Yearly Festivals: Dallas Blooms: March-April Autumn at the Arboretum: September-October Cool Thursdays Concert Series: June- July Holiday at the Arboretum: November- December
Information: call 214.515.6500 or visit our website at www.dallasarboretum.org.
8525 Garland Rd.
Dallas, Texas 75218
Texas Discovery Gardens
Located at historic Fair Park in Dallas, Texas Discovery Gardens is a year-round urban oasis filled with natural wonders for visitors of all ages. Ten different themed areas include a butterfly habitat, native wildlife pond, scent garden, shade garden and heirloom garden. The first certified organic public gardens in the state, Texas Discovery Gardens features spectacular native and adapted plants grown using sustainable methods that conserve water and protect the environment.
Gardens open 10 am to 5 pm Monday – Friday and 10 am to 3:30pm Saturday.
3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Dallas, Texas 75210
Fort Worth Botanic Garden & Japanese Garden
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden, the oldest botanic garden in Texas, is a lush 109-acre tapestry of dappled shade and vibrant splashes of color. A peaceful haven nestled in the heart of Fort Worth’s Cultural District, the Garden is home to over 2,500 species of native and exotic plants that flourish in its 21 specialty gardens.
Enjoy the classic European design of the famous Rose Garden, where 2000 roses dance in celebration of the diversity and beauty of our national flower. Meander down the enticing paths, past intriguing sculpture and hidden pocket plantings to the heart of the garden. Sheltered benches invite you to sit, relax, breathe, and contemplate. Take time to stroll through the world-renowned Japanese Garden, with its koi-filled pools, dramatic waterfalls, sculpted hillsides, and meticulously crafted stonework.
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden grounds are open from 8:00 a.m. to dusk.
3220 Botanic Garden Blvd.
Fort Worth, Texas 76107
Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge
11,320 acres. Ideal for photography, nature study, and hiking. Boating, fishing, hunting in designated areas.
6464 Refuge Rd.
Cedar Hill State Park
Cedar Hill State Park is a 1,826-acre urban nature preserve located on the 7500 acres Joe Pool Reservoir. The Park’s proximity to major metropolitan cities makes it an ideal destination for families who want to enjoy the great outdoors without spending precious time driving. The ruggedness and scenic beauty of the area combined with over 100 miles of shoreline and water-based recreation such as boating and fishing as well as camping, mountain biking, bird watching, and picnicking.
Also located at the park is Penn Farm Agricultural History Center that pays tribute to the disappearing Texas’ family farm and affords a glimpse into agrarian history as farm machinery took the place of the horse and mule almost a century ago. The Farm is open 7 days a week to self-guided tours. There are reconstructed and historic buildings from the mid-1800s through the mid-1900s. The Penn Farm has a very relaxing atmosphere and is perfect for family walks. Self-guided and guided tours are available.
1570 F.M. 1382
Dallas, Texas 75104
Paul Mathews Nature Preserve
Paul Mathews Prairie is a 100-acre rare remnant of unplowed Texas Blackland Prairie, part of the once vast (12 million acres) Texas Blackland Prairie, it’ a little piece of wild America. Through an agreement with the Texas Nature Conservancy, it will remain that way. Today the tallgrass prairie is one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world. Only a few postage-stamp-size refuges remain.
The grasses and wildflowers that greeted early settlers still wave in the summer breezes. Native birds still feed on the seed-bearing grasses whose roots are anchored as much as 100 feet deep in the fertile Blackland soil. Birders and wildflower enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the meadow. In fact, the sea of big bluestem and Indian grass waving in the wind is a treat for everyone.
To visit Mathews Prairie go 4.5 miles west from the intersection of US 69 and US 380 at SH 224 (west Lee St.). Turn north on FM 903, go 2.1 miles then turn west on CR 1116. Continue for 1.8 miles. A sign at the NE corner of CR 1119 and CR 1116 identifies the preserve. Parking is along the county roads.
C.R. 1119 and C.R. 1116, off Hwy 380 W.
Boudreau Gardens Herb Farm
Boudreau Herb Farm is a 77-acre herb farm where visitors discover the beauty and benefits plants provide. Herb gardens, native perennials, and antique roses are on display.
5545 Hwy 281 North
Mineral Wells, Texas
Cleburne State Park
This 528-acre park encompasses a lively 116-acre, spring-fed lake. It offers 5.5 miles of mountain bike trails amid beautiful scenery with a variety of challenges for all experience levels. The terrain on the trail is as diverse as the hills. Its also a great location for camping, picnicking, fishing and boating on the historic Chisholm Trail.
5800 Park Road 21
Cleburne, Texas 76031
Spring Creek Nature Area
51 acres of natural areas & hardwood forest with trails throughout.
Plano Rd & Hwy 75
Tyler Municipal Rose Garden & Museum
Largest in the nation covering 14 acres and containing 400 varieties of roses. The Texas Rose Museum, (903) 597-3130, showcases the history of the Texas Rose Festival, rose industry and hand-sewn jeweled gowns dating to 1935.
420 Rose Park Dr.,
Tyler, Texas 75072
Museum of Nature & Science
A wonderful place for the child in all of us to explore the inspiring and engaging world of nature and science. From dinosaurs to DNA, you and your family can experience hands-on activities and innovative programs that bring learning to life. Exciting IMAX theatre and Planetarium shows too. Come and explore.
3535 Grand Avenue and 1318 S. 2nd Avenue in Fair Park
Dallas, Texas 75315
- Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge
- River Legacy Parks & Living Science Center
- The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
- Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
- Texas Discovery Gardens
- Fort Worth Botanic Garden & Japanese Garden
- Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge
- Cedar Hill State Park
- Paul Mathews Nature Preserve
- Boudreau Gardens Herb Farm
- Cleburne State Park
- Spring Creek Nature Area
- Tyler Municipal Rose Garden & Museum
- Museum of Nature & Science