Houston Nature Center, built in 2001, was constructed by the City of Houston as an educational and informational center for the trailhead of the Root River Trail. Through the efforts of the City, volunteers, and naturalist Karla Bloem, the center grew into a multi-purpose building with a gift shop, meeting room, hands-on nature displays, showers and restrooms, parking lot, and more.
One of Houston Nature Center’s earliest celebrities was Alice the Great-horned Owl. Together, she and Karla attracted visitors to the center and put on educational nature and wildlife programs and events. In 2015, Bloem moved the owl-based education and programming from the Houston Nature Center to the International Owl Center.
Volunteer Connie Verse became the Nature Center’s manager, and assistant Diana Weinhardt-Treangen was hired. Houston Nature Center continues to offer a variety of educational programming and events through the work of dedicated staff and community and outside support. In addition to the Nature Center building, Trailhead Park is now home to campsites, a community garden, band shell, and natural playground.