31 January 2011

Eco Monday: Trinity River Audubon Center

I have loved birds since I was a child. My grandparents bought each grandchild their own birdhouse that hung in the back yard. Mine was red with a pitched roof and it hung in the big pine tree by the patio. I was excited each year to see what bird family had moved in and waited anxiously to see the new baby birds learn to fly.

Now you know where my fascination with birds started. Let me tell you about my latest Dallas discovery. It was a happy coincidence that learned about this place, the Trinity River Audubon Center. It's tucked away about ten minutes South of downtown Dallas and seems like it may be Dallas' best kept secret -- but not for long!

The location? Longitude and latitude coordinates: 32.712636, -96.70879 and here's a link to the map. If you have wings, it's easy to find because from the air the building is shaped like a bird. Very cool!

The first time I visited I felt like someone had let me in on a great secret escape. I had discovered an oasis in the city where nature reigns supreme. From the moment I turned into the driveway it was obvious that I was about to have a unique experience. I enjoyed the crunching sound my shoes made on the gravel walkway leading up to the LEED certified building. It is not only earth friendly but intriguing and beautiful. The inside of the building is filled with so many wonderful sights. The feather insulated ceiling is incredible -- be sure to look up! And the hands on education center is great for kids and kids at heart to learn about nature. But the bird delights are along the trails.

The staff are friendly and knowledgeable and will provide you with a map of the trails and explain which one is best for what you'd like to see. The trails are sprinkled with benches in unexpected places that just invite you to have a sit down and a think while listening to nature. It's very peaceful and a great place to extract yourself from the electronic world for a break. I suggest leaving your electronics behind for the full effect and listening to the birds. There are picnic tables in some areas, so consider bringing your lunch and staying for a while.

They have bee hives on the property and produce their own local honey which is available in the gift shop. You really can't get more local than that! And it's delicious. While you're there don't miss out on local artists creations as well.

Be sure to check out Third Thursdays when admission is free to the public, you won't regret it.

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