Get Back to Family Time & Experience a Wild Scavenger Hunt
by Susannah Wollman
Get back to family time and experience a wild scavenger hunt at a local park!
Governor Abbott has instituted guidelines for limiting our exposure to Covid-19 until further notice, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay at home behind closed doors. Houston has plenty of parks and wildlife reserves where you and your family can go on a scavenger hunt with a wild things theme. Just be sure to follow these guidelines.
- Face coverings are required inside all state park buildings.
- Some parks are only accepting credit cards. Bring a card just in case.
- Six-foot social distancing is required.
- No groups larger than 10 people are allowed, except for families or people living in the same household.
We’ve put together a wonderful list of wildlife and plants that you’ll find native to south Texas that will make your hike together through your local park a great time to learn about and admire the diversity in our beautiful state. (Fortunately, Texas tends to have mild winter weather!)
At the end of this article, you’ll find a printable sheet that will give you a list of many things you might see, so print one for each family member (or group) and go out and enjoy the fresh air!
Perfect Parks for Nature Scavenger Hunts
The George Mitchell Nature Preserve in The Woodlands has 1,800 acres of hike and bike trails that have plenteous native wildlife and plants for you to see. It connects to the adjacent Spring Creek Greenway forest near The Recreation Center at Rob Fleming Park. You can access a trails map online.
Between the town of Pasadena and Galveston Bay lies the sprawling 2,500-acre preserve called Armand Bayou Nature Center. You can hike miles of trails that will introduce you to three different ecosystems—tall grass prairie, bayou, and forest. Plenty of wildlife include alligators, deer, and waterfowl. Here’s an online map.
For a bit tamer walk, head over to the Mercer Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, located in Harris County, where you can walk the beautiful 14.5 acres that once was the private home of Charles Mercer. There are well-maintained hiking trails, a butterfly house, and picnic areas. Of course, native Dogwood trees are easily recognized, but the birds that flit overhead along with the butterfly house will entrance your little ones, too.
For a complete list of parks with trails, check out the H.P.A.R.D Trails website!
Ideas for Your Scavenger Hunt
- Print a copy of our Walk on the Wild Side Scavenger Hunt list for each person or group.
- Simplify the list for younger members (any bird instead of specific birds, for instance, for the youngest members)
- Put a time limit on your hunt based on the age or ability of your family members.
- Adhere to the rules of the park or trails you are using.
- Wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water, even in the winter!