Feature Image Photo Credit: Mehgan Murphy/Smithsonian’s National Zoo

When is the last time that you hugged a tree? Each year around the middle of May, we in America celebrate Love A Tree Day. This year it is May 16th, 2016.

Bonus Fun Stuff: 5 Greasy Spoons That Will Make Your Taste Buds Happy.
  • Give a tree a big ol’ hug
  • Make a quaint fence around a tree
  • Organize a tree planting activity in your community
  • Simply water a tree
  • Have a barbecue under a tree and enjoy a nice breeze

Our suggestion is that you love on trees year around. A great way to do that right here in DFW is to visit some of the nature parks and preserves right here in our own backyard.

Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park

This park offers a lot of activities day and night ranging from a Night Hike with a naturalist (Ed. Note: Not to be confused with a naturist) to kayaking. Stop by their website for times and dates of their scheduled events. Also, feel free to visit at any point and see their treehouse overlook.


Photos from Oliver Nature Park Website

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Treehouse Overlook

The ‘Treehouse’ at Oliver Nature Park will let you travel up into the canopy. You’ll get a unique perspective of the meanderings of Walnut Creek. Look for squirrels, birds, and all sorts of life using the nearby oak and elm tree.


1650 Matlock Road

Mansfield, TX  | Route Map



It has a treehouse overlook that you can climb and get a grand view of nature in all of its glory.

Categories: Fun Places

Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge

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The Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge (FWNC&R) grounds are open every day (except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day).

The park consists of over 3,600 acres of ​land and over 20 miles of hiking trails. It is one of the largest city-owned nature centers in the United States. It has been officially designated as a National Natural Landmark. 

A few upcoming events:

Natural Guard on Thursdays and Saturdays

These are days for volunteers to learn about nature and help keep the park beautiful.

Nature Hikes

On Saturdays you can join a naturalist on a hike. Make sure that you bring water and dress for the weather. Each hike is unique and you will learn about what is currently growing and any wildlife that you run across.


9601 Fossil Ridge Rd

Ft Worth, TX  | Route Map



Each year they hold a 5k and 10k called the Buffalo Boogie.

Categories: Fun Places

Trinity River Audubon Center

At the TRAC you have the choice of paying a per-person fee or becoming a member. The price for adults is $6 and $3 for children. There is free admission for anyone who lives in the 75217 zip code. 

Do not let the price dissuade you from visiting this beautiful piece of Texas. Pack a picnic and take their 5 mile hike where you will see 3 different eco-systems: wetland, forest & prairie.


6500 Great Trinity Forest Way

Dallas, TX  | Route Map



If you are bird lover, this is the place for you. They put a tremendous focus on bird habitat.

Categories: Fun Places

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River Legacy

River Legacy ParkRiver Legacy Park

Photo Credit : Matthew Musgrove https://www.flickr.com/people/mrmuskrat/

This is a 1,300 acre park along the Trinity River, located in Arlington.

This is a family friend park that has year around activities for the entire family. They have after school clubs and a calendar full of public programs and events.


703 NW Green Oaks Boulevard

Arlington, TX  | Route Map



This park includes a Living Science Center that has terrariums and interactive exhibits. They are focused on education about our local environment.

Categories: Fun Places

Bob Jones Nature Center

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This is a 758-acre park in the heart of Southlake. Take a hike on one of their distinct trails.

Bluebird Trail

This trail is not quite a mile long, so you can take the little ones and not worry about them getting too worn out. The trail is a mowed grass path and dogs are not allowed on this path.

Walnut Grove National Recreation Trail

This trail is for both equestrians and hikers, winding its way through forest and pocket prairies and to the water’s edge of Lake Grapevine.


355 E. Bob Jones Rd

South Lake, TX  | Route Map



During the fall you can be a part of the Monarch Butterfly Watch.

Categories: Fun Places

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

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This 289 acre wildlife sanctuary has over 6.5 miles of nature trails. Note that no dogs or bikes are allowed. The Heard sanctuary has five habitats including Blackland prairie, wetlands, bottomland forest, upland forest and white rock escarpment. Each habitat is unique and offers a variety of plants and animals that live in the specific environments.

List of trails:

Hoot Owl Trail

A self-guided half-mile easy-to-moderate trail with a nice combination of upland and bottomland terrain.

Bluestem Trail

A 1 mile (round trip) moderate trail with the best view of the Heard’s prairies.


A 1¼ mile easy-to-moderate trail with deep shade and large, old trees.

Cedar Brake Loop

A self-guided 2/3 mile trail with beautiful, seasonal native wildflowers.

Wood Duck Trail​

A 1 mile wetlands boardwalk and overland trail with the best view of the wetlands.


1 Nature Place

McKinney, TX  | Route Map



Any place that has a Hoot Owl Trail is nothing but fun in my book.

Categories: Fun Places

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

Arbor Hills Nature PreserveArbor Hills Nature Preserve

Photo Credit: Emily Cline 

Located on the western border of Plano, Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a 200-acre park featuring vast areas of natural beauty for walking, jogging, hiking, orienteering, and other outdoor activity.

Amenities Include:

Paved recreational trail (approx. 3 miles)

Natural unpaved trails for pedestrians only – open dawn to dusk (approx. 3 miles)

Designated off-road cycling trail (approx. 2.8 miles)

Observation tower


6701 W Parker Rd

Plano, TX  | Route Map



They have natural bike trails and encourage citizens to use it.

Categories: Fun Places

As we hustle and bustle through the city it can be easy to feel as though we live in a concrete jungle. However, we are surrounded by some beautiful slices of nature. We just have to remember to slow down and go see it to refresh your mind, body and spirit. And don’t forget, if pandas can hug trees, so can you. 

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