Trinity River Audubon Center is an educational center located within the Great Trinity Forest in Dallas, Texas. The center is associated with the Trinity River Project, a public works redevelopment project. The architect who designed the center is Antoine Predock. The center began construction in 2002 and finished in 2008.
The center, which is built on the site of an old landfill area has been constructed with a green planted roof, energy efficient systems, recycled materials and rainwater collection system. The center’s 120 acres are situated within the vast 6,000 acres of Great Trinity Forest. Whilst the center serves as an environmental education center with tactile exhibits and academic programs, the surrounding area is also filled with attractions. The land associated to the center has five miles worth of nature viewing trails, a nature store and a butterfly garden.
The center itself is an attraction for visitors in terms of its architectural design and environmentally sustainable features. Famous for daylighting, views, the use of rainwater harvesting for irrigation and water efficient landscaping as well as being constructed with low environmental impact construction materials, the facility applies water use reduction, high efficiency air conditioning, electrical systems, ventilation, air conditioning and heating during its use.
The center is hired for private parties and events such as weddings and corporate events. The 21,000 square foot space is easily accessible for wheelchairs and has nearby parking for 140 self park spaces. Inside the Visitor Center is a Ranger station, gift shop, restrooms and many exhibits both on the history and nature of the area. The top level of the center features the Great Hall with infinity windows and textured wood grain ceilings. Outside is the Deck level which gives panoramic views of the trails and nature around.
The Trinity River Exhibit Hall features a modern and spacious hall with exhibits about local wildlife and the various ecosystems that can be found in the area. The hall is filled with interpretive displays, environmental and nature exhibits and interactive activities. The exhibits involve Texas’ fauna and flora as well as a large water table displaying erosion and explaining the importance of the wetlands. The video bird board is an audio exhibition which allows for visitors to press the buttons in order to hear each bird call.
The trails that weave around the center contain the Overlook Trail and Forest Trail amongst others. Visitors will walk through wetlands, areas of flora and forest whether self guided or guided in a group by a Ranger. Species of bird that have been spotted of Climate Threatened or Climate Endangered status and/or Species of Greatest Conservation Need for Texas are the painted bunting, American kestrel, pileated woodpecker, Harris’s Sparrow, northern harrier, little blue heron and scissor-tailed flycatcher. Prairie trails are also present on the site showing an intersection of environments in Northern Texas. Outside of the center is a fish exhibit with a selection of local fish in a large water enclosure covered by canvasses and surrounded by nature. Further activities which take place outside are canoeing, birdwatching and hiking.
The Nature Store is a large shop selling artisan and local products such as bird referencing guides, drinks and snacks as well as art and framed photographs. A discount for members is available. Nearby is the indoor cafe as well as an outdoor picnic area for meal times.
Ongoing programs and education
The center has a lively environmental educational program throughout the year. One of the programs is for school groups and is called Eco-Investigations. The aim of this program is for students to explore and learn about the three ecosystems of river, prairie and forest which are unique to the Trinity River Audubon Center. The program is adapted per age group and is available to pre Kindergarten to 12th Grade. A further program is the Schoolyard Investigation program where the centers educators supply age group appropriate lessons in a curriculum designed by the center. If the school undertakes the curriculum they become a Schoolyard Investigations Campus. Other educational programs are Trinity River Audubon Center Homeschool Mondays. In terms of treks, the center offers two kinds where 6-12th Graders are taken to areas of natural beauty in Texas for one week. The treks encourage learning and caring about the environment.
Back to: Dallas, Texas
6500 I Wy, Dallas, TX 75217, Phone: 214-398-8722
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