Some people like to hunker down and hibernate indoors when the weather turns cold this time of year.
My kids and I find the brisk weather invigorating and can’t wait to get outdoors and enjoy it so I’m really excited to learn about some of the great outdoor activities coming up at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge.
We’ve been to the FWNCR several times during the spring and summer months and it is a nature lover’s dream. It is an escape from the busy city life to the tranquility of nature complete with forests, prairies, and wetlands full of native flora and fauna. We’ve gone hiking along the 20 miles of trails, watched bison, studied different plants and animals, studied the prairie dogs as they scurried about, explored a duck blind, and so much more.
She Is Dallas Info:The Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge is located at 9601 Fossil Ridge Road in Fort Worth. 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. The Refuge is open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The Hardwicke Interpretive Center is open daily 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Admission is $5 Adults (13-64), $2 Children (3-12;under 3 FREE), $3 Seniors (65+), $1 Discount per person (with Military ID). For more information, please call 817-392-7410 or visit the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge website. You can also follow FWNC Facebook and FWNC Twitter for up to date information.
Check out the FWNCR map to see just how big this hidden jewel is. They are open every day so you can go explore on your own anytime but here are some special upcoming events for December that you might want to mark on your calendar:
Every Thursday & Saturday, 9 a.m. – Noon
Natural Guard: Individuals can help keep the Nature Center beautiful by volunteering for Natural Guard. Volunteers assist Refuge staff in trail maintenance, brush clearing, bridge building and much more. Please call 817-392-7410 for information on projects and meeting places. FREE.
Every Saturday, 10 a.m. – Noon
Naturalist-led Nature Hikes: Join a naturalist for a leisurely hike on the trails of the FWNC&R. Hikes feature current natural history events such as blooming wildflowers, commonly seen insects, birds, other animals and current projects on the Refuge. Bring water and dress for the weather. FREE (with paid admission).
Friday, December 9 5:30 – 8 p.m.
Full Moon Paddle: Come and join us for a different type of Canoe Tour in the evening hours. This program will present new opportunities like hearing beavers slap the water with their tails and seeing other wildlife, like deer and raccoons. Canoes, paddles and lifejackets are provided. Children must be 5 years or older. Parents must sign a liability waiver for minor children. Some previous experience recommended. Registration ends Tuesday preceding or when filled. Maximum – 12 participants. Meet at Back Gate. Preregistration required. $20 (includes admission)/MEMBERS $15.
Saturday, December 10 1 – 3 p.m.
Naturaleza en EspaÃ±ol: Join a bilingual naturalist on a hike on the Refuge trails in search of interesting fauna and flora. Whether Spanish is your first or second language, these hikes provide a new opportunity at the FWNC&R. $5 (with paid admission)/ MEMBERS FREE.
Sunday, December 11 1 – 3 p.m.
Tree-cycle: The Nature Center is fortunate to be surrounded with many trees. In the spring and summer, we can take in the beauty of the dark greens. In the fall, we can enjoy the reds, oranges and yellows leaves. In winter, the silhouettes of branches is great for exposing birds. Join us as we discuss the importance of trees in the ecosystem throughout their life cycle. $5 (with paid admission)/
Saturday, December 17 8:30 a.m. – Noon
Kayak Tour: Tour a stretch of the West Fork of the Trinity River with kayaks and view ducks, herons, beaver and other critters. Sunscreen, water and weather appropriate clothing (including shoes that can get wet) are recommended. Kayaks, paddles and lifejackets are provided. Kayakers must be at least 18 years old. Some previous experience recommended. Registration ends Thursday preceding or when filled. Maximum – 8 participants. Meet at Big River Parking Lot. Pre-registration required. $20 (includes admission fee)/MEMBERS $15.
Saturday, December 17 1 – 3 p.m. (every :30)
Winter Constellations: Winter is a great time for stargazing. The skies are clearer and you do not have to stay up too late to see the stars. For those that are not familiar with some of the constellations that are above you, stop by and learn some of the common constellations we have in our night sky. Programs are :30 and begin on the hour and half hour. FREE (with paid admission).
Sunday, December 18 Noon – 4 p.m.
Canoe Fest: Enjoy a bit of canoeing/kayaking on your own on the quiet waters around Greer Island. Canoes/kayaks, paddles and lifejackets provided. Children in canoes must be 5 years or older and accompanied by a parent or guardian. Kayakers must be at least 18 years old. Parents must sign a liability waiver for minor children. NO REGISTRATION NEEDED. FIRST COME-FIRST SERVED. Greer Island gate will open at 11 a.m. Meet at Greer Island. $5 (with paid admission)/MEMBERS $3.
Friday, December 23 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Preschool Discovery Club: We invite preschoolers, ages 3 – 5 and their adult companions to join us in discovering the exciting world of nature. In December, we will be learning about bison and their adaptations for colder temperatures. Pre-registration required. $10 PER CHILD (includes admission fee)/MEMBERS $5.
Saturday, December 24 1 – 3 p.m.
Waterfowl Watch: Winter is a wonderful time to visit your local rivers and lakes to see our winter waterfowl. Bring your binoculars and spotting scopes and join us as we hike along the West Fork of the Trinity River in search of wintering ducks and other birds that have come into our area. $5(with paid admission)/MEMBERS FREE.
Tuesday & Thursday, December 27 & 29, 10 – 11:30 a.m. and 1 – 2:30 p.m.
Bison Feeding Hayride: Enjoy an old-fashioned hayride to the bison range where you will get to see the bison up close as you assist staff with feeding the bison range cubes. We will also share our bison management practices and see the equipment necessary to care for these large animals. During the hayride, we will discuss the habitats represented at the Nature Center. Preregistration required. $16 (includes admission)/MEMBERS $8.
Thursday, December 29, 5 – 6:30 p.m.
Evening Stroll With a Naturalist: Come and enjoy an evening stroll on the Nature Center's trails as we explore nature before nightfall. Evening provides a unique opportunity to view animals that make the Nature Center home. Bring water and wear weather appropriate clothing. Pre-registration required. $10 (includes admission fee)/MEMBERS $5.
Saturday, December 31, 8:30 a.m. – Noon
Canoe Tour: Tour a stretch of the West Fork of the Trinity River to view ducks, herons, beaver and other critters. Sunscreen, water and weather appropriate clothing (including shoes that can get wet) are recommended. Canoes, paddles and lifejackets are provided. Children must be 5 years or older. Parents must sign a liability waiver for minor children. Some previous experience recommended. Registration ends Thursday preceding or when filled. Maximum – 12 participants. Meet at Big River Parking Lot. Pre-registration required. $20 (includes admission fee)/MEMBERS $15.
Saturday, December 31, 1 – 3 p.m.
Resolution Hike: It is New Year's Eve and you know that that means: resolutions. Make a resolution of getting outdoors and enjoying our wonderful natural world. Visit with us and get into the habit of hiking and learning about our local flora and fauna. $5 (with admission)/MEMBERS FREE.
Want to know more? Check out this previous post about FWNCR: