The Fort Worth Nature Center is a bit off the beaten path and is a jewel of a find!  There are 3,621 acres of awesome wildernes with over 20 miles of hiking trails where buffalo and praire dogs run free!  (Just checking to see if you are paying attention, the buffalo are actually inside a fence.) 

               The cost is $5 for adults, $2 for kids AND they offer a military discount ~ $1 off everyone in the car.

                               As our hiking adventure begins everyone is super stoaked and ready to go!
I had to take a picture of this because as the children read this sign and tried to figure out which way to go they decided to go in the direction of the "POOP".  Seriously, check it out, the poop is the 2nd picture to the bottom.  I mean what else could it be?  (I'm serious, we NEVER figured it out - tell us if you know what it is!)
              This is when the "B" family started questioning why I made Boy 3 the leader of this hiking adventure! 
And then we came upon this bird lookout and all was forgiven.  Granted we didn't see any birds, but we did hear them!
                                       Ahhhh, nature.....
Does anyone know what this is?  It is the only one we found growing on the trees.  I think the 2nd picture is after it opens.  What do you think?
                                                           Yes, that's my girl looking for creatures....
As always, at the end of each hike we show what we found and then vote on the 'coolest' item.  From left to right starting with the big rock.
1. Heart shaped rock
2. Cool shell
3. Groovy green thing from tree
4. Hairy thing that we think might be POOP from an animal
5. Pretty pink rock
6. Spotted black bark
Vote on your favorite now.
                                                   A few of the coolest kids I have ever met! 
               I got so close to him I could have touched him.  The kids opted to stay in the car.  :o)
If you ever find yourself looking for something inexpensive and fun to do, pack a lunch and head out to the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge.  There is so much to do from bird watching, kayaking,  classes at the Hardwicke Interpretive Center (however get there a little early, we arrived at start time and the class was full - boo.), to hiking the multitude of trails!  Just make sure you pack a lunch and take plenty of water as there are no services of this type at the Nature Center!
3/21/2012 11:46:15 pm

The weather was awesome, the kids were great, touching that hairy poop thing....not so great!

3/22/2012 04:51:41 am

The museums are amazing, the zoo is fabulous and so many great places to eat! I LOVE Fort Worth!

3/22/2012 11:18:56 am

Love this!

3/22/2012 10:56:55 pm

Thanks for the lovely post! I work at the Nature Center and can answer your questions.
- The "poop" picture on the trail marker is supposed to be a fossil oyster shell. Fossilized oyster reefs make up the ridge where the Interpretive Center is located.
- The lime green "puff ball" is an insect gall. This type of gall is only found on Texas red oak trees. A tiny wasp lays an egg just under the surface of an emerging leaf and the tree creates the gall like a scab to encase the wasp larva. When the larva is mature it chews its way out of the gall and flies away.
- The middle photo between the two gall photos is a different tree - a Texas ash. The structure in the photo is the tree's female flower with seed-bearing strands.

I hope you'll come visit us again!

3/22/2012 11:08:39 pm

Thank you SO MUCH for the answers!!
However, I now feel bad that I opened the gall to check out the insides. Next time I promise to leave it in tact on the tree.
We had a GREAT time at the Nature Center!

OK, one more question: as we were walking along the river we kept hearing things splashing around on near the banks. We tried to watch for them and at one time thought we saw some time of fish jump out of the water. Do you know what was making all the splashing sounds as we walked along the bank?

3/23/2012 09:48:31 am

The splashing was most likely carp which are spawning right now. They prefer to swim into shallower water for this kind of activity and they do a lot of jumping around.

7/20/2012 06:53:39 am

When I am reading your blog I feel like I am a reborn baby


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