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Spring Creek Greenway Nature Center

Spring Creek Greenway Nature Center

Many of us seek out state parks when we want a large nature experience, a place where we can experience nature in its nearly untouched state. Nature centers operate on the same premise, albeit on a much smaller scale. Whereas state parks tend to be somewhat removed from areas with a large population, nature centers are much easier for city dwellers to access, and they’re quite capable of giving us a few hours of visual and auditory relaxation.

The Spring Creek Greenway Nature Center is housed in a new facility situated in the north Houston area, near the southeastern corner of the intersection of the Hardy Toll Road and the Grand Parkway (State Highway 99). The facility has a number of informative displays and several live animals that make it well worth your time to step inside the visitor center, either before or after walking the trails of Peckinpaugh Preserve. 

Directly east of the nature center lies Bluegill Pond, which sits in the center of a large green lawn lined by trees. I was tempted to refer to the pond as a lake, due to its large size. Sticking with my predilection for factual information, I did a quick search on the difference between a pond and a lake. Interestingly, size is not a determining factor in whether a body of water is considered a pond or a lake. 

If a body of water is deep, and light cannot reach the deepest part of it, it’s referred to as a lake. A body of water capable of forming waves higher than 12 inches is a lake. A large variation of temperature within a body of water is indicative of a lake. It seems Bluegill Pond has been accurately named. If you have an interest in science, I found this information, and more, at the Lake Scientist website.

Bluegill Pond sits within the 25-acre Peckinpaugh Preserve. If you aren’t in the mood to go for a walk on the trails, there’s plenty to see if you choose to just go for a wander around the pond. It’s a wonderfully scenic area, with plenty of benches from which to enjoy the views. 

After a satisfying meander around the pond, exploring its insect and plant life, we head over to the closest trail that will take us down to Spring Creek. We haven’t gone far before we have to wade around some water covering the trail. Up until the time of our visit, it’s been a somewhat wet summer. We soon realize that we’ve entered prime mosquito habitat. Not wanting to turn back, we instead choose to speed up. 

The blood suckers seem to let up on their intense scrutiny once we reach Spring Creek. The elevated trail follows the creek for a while, but it never really allows for direct access. I do manage to fight my way closer to the water a couple of times, driven by my interest in gaining a good view of it. 

With plenty of interesting flora and fauna along the way, I make enough photography stops to satisfy mosquito appetites. It does seem that our arrival is not ideally timed. The weeks that follow our visit are marked by clear skies, and the inevitable water restrictions that soon follow. Such a dry period is a good time to drop by Spring Creek Greenway Nature Center. Personally, I’ll be returning in November, hoping for a cold day and warm fall colors reflecting in the pond.

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