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.
John Langheinrich became the Nature Center’s manager, and assistant Michaela Spear was hired. In addition to the Nature Center building, Trailhead Park is now home to campsites, a community garden, band shell, and natural playground.