Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge

We wanted to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather we’ve had lately so we visited the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge. It is one of the largest city-owned nature centers in the United States at 3,600 acres! Check out the awesome trail map. A true urban wilderness…

We started off visiting Prairie Dog Town, a big field with scattered trees that is home to a large family of prairie dogs.

I can see why Prairie Dog Town is fenced in. If my children has their way, they would have been chasing those poor little prairie dogs all over the field in an attempt to pet one of them!

Next we headed to Greer Island, an island out in Lake Worth connected by a man-made levee.

Nicholas argued that this couldn’t be an island because technically it was connected to the land and an island should stand alone in the body of water. Hmmm, maybe he’s got a point.

The trails were well worn and easy to walk through with a stroller. We like to let Rachel walk on her own as much as possible. However, she had to spend some time in the stroller or we never would have made it out of the woods for stopping every foot to explore the ground for 10 minutes at a time.

But Rachel still had a great time. I showed her interesting things we found along the way and she had fun laughing at us when we got silly.

I love a lonely trail in the woods. It’s so peaceful looking and seems to call to me to explore it.

Nicholas enjoyed playing at the water’s edge. Anytime a trail would wind past an opening to the water, he would have to go check it out. He watched the water hit the shore line, watched fish, listened to what we think were beavers, and he threw in a few sticks of his own to help them in their dam building efforts. He spent a lot of time at the water.

When he wasn’t stopped at the water, he was exploring or running along the trails. What great exercise while enjoying the fresh air outside. It’s so exhilarating!

We found this cool tree with 4 main trunk sections that Nicholas just had to sit between. While he was there we studied some giant ants running along the bark.

Nicholas also found this small tree that had died and fallen over. Looking at the roots system from this angle, Nicholas decided to name it the Tarantula Tree because it looked like a giant spider.

As we completed our tour of Greer Island and were heading back to the van, our tour guide stopped to announce, “Attention! You are approaching the levee. You are approaching the levee.”

I am a big time believer in teaching children to appreciate nature by spending time outdoors regularly.   The Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge is a great place to spend some time with your family outdoors.   There are so many trails to explore that we will have to come back several more times to see it all.   Their address is 9601 Fossil Ridge Road, Fort Worth, TX 76135.   From Loop I-820, exit Hwy 199 (Jacksboro Highway) and go west 4 miles. Exit Confederate Park Rd. to the right and stay on service road. At the stop sign, turn right into the Nature Center entrance. Stop by the gate house to pay entrance fee and obtain a day pass and a trail map.     You can go online at or call them at 817.392.7410 for more information about directions, admission prices, and upcoming events.

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