About the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

About the Arboretum

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is a 155-acre non-profit urban nature sanctuary located just miles from Downtown Houston on the western edge of Memorial Park. Established in 1967, the Arboretum was one of the first nature education facilities for children in the state of Texas, and it continues to provide nature education for more than 10,000 children annually and reach over 600,000 visitors each year.

Visitors can enjoy 5 miles of nature trails, winding through native prairie, savanna, wetland, woodland, and riparian habitats. Six educational Field Stations throughout the site offer information about local plants and wildlife as well as places to sit and take in the views. The Arboretum’s eight ponds and wetland areas, along with Buffalo Bayou along its southern border, provide ample opportunities for exciting wildlife sightings.

The Nature Center building is open to the public and includes a Nature Shop filled with items for nature lovers of all ages as well as an interactive Discovery Room. Educational exhibits, hands-on activities, live ambassador animals, biofacts, and a weekly botany display make the Discovery Room the perfect place for visitors young and old to explore.

This 155-acre site serves as an outdoor classroom and backdrop for year-round educational opportunities. Schools, children, families, adults, and educators are all invited to learn and explore during one of the Arboretum’s many classes and events. The natural setting also provides a unique space for special events such as meetings, weddings, birthday parties, and more.

The Arboretum is a private non-profit educational space whose Board of Directors and staff operate City of Houston land under an agreement with the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department. Funding for the Arboretum’s operations is provided primarily through grants, earned income, and generous donations from both corporations and individuals.


The mission of the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is to provide education about the natural environment to people of all ages and to protect and enhance the Arboretum as a haven and as a sanctuary for native plants and animals.


1917 to 1923

The land on which the Nature Center sits is part of Memorial Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country. The land was the site of Camp Logan, a World War I Army training camp.


Land acquired by Mike and Will Hogg and sold to City at cost to establish Memorial Park.

Photo credit: Fitzgerald 1938 Ecological Study in Memorial Park


City Council set aside acreage in Memorial Park as an arboretum and botanical garden.


Houston Botanical Society formed; ground broken on Aline McAshan Botanical Hall for children funded the previous year by McAshan Education & Charitable Trust.


Aline McAshan Interpretive Guide Organization (AMIGO) volunteer group formed.

1979 to 1980

Pine trees removed to stop pine bark beetle infestation, Meadow and Meadow Pond developed.


Name changed to Houston Arboretum & Nature Center.


Grand opening of remodeled and expanded building, including the Discovery Room.


Prescribed fire in the Meadow is the first ever managed prairie burn within Houston city limits.


Created Charlotte Couch Memorial Birding Walkway overlooking Buffalo Bayou.


Opened new handicapped accessible outdoor classroom at Meadow Pond.

Photo credit: Christine Mansfield


The Arboretum lost over 50% of its mature tree canopy due to Hurricane Ike in 2008 and the 2011 drought. In response, the board embarked on a large-scale master plan to restore the entire 155-acre landscape and upgrade the building and maintenance facility to meet growing needs.

2013 to 2016

With a renowned team of experts, the Arboretum completed an award-winning Master Plan.

2017 to 2021

Implementation of the Master Plan, including landscape restoration and trail updates, Nature Center renovation, creation of two parking areas with a new entrance off 610, installation of 6 educational field stations, and construction of the Conservation Center, Administration Building, Nature Playscape, and new ponds and gathering spaces. More than $26 million was raised.

Photo credit: Jason Burt

2020 to 2023

Prescribed fires and grazers return as important land management tools.

Photo credit: Anthony Rathbun

Support the Houston Arboretum

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization which depends on donations to support nature education and conservation programs for Houstonians of all ages.

Donate today
Fall Children's Program registration will open Tuesday, August 6 for Arboretum Members. Nonmember registration will open Tuesday, August 13.Become a Family Tree Member or above for access to early registration and discounts.