Disclaimer :: River Legacy Foundation sponsored this post and provided information on classes and programs that foster a love of nature in kids and adults alike.
Discovery, exploration, and inspiration await families and students at River Legacy Living Science Center, a nature center in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, located next to the 1,300-acre River Legacy Park in Arlington.
A new Discovery Room features interactive exhibits and technology that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the plants, animals, and environments of River Legacy Park before venturing outdoors to explore the park’s trails, woodlands, and playgrounds. A variety of educational programs provide students ages three to 93 with an opportunity to connect with nature and learn about the north Texas riparian woodland ecosystem in which they live, work, and play.
Families, students, and preschoolers in the center’s programs discover that an understanding of nature breeds an appreciation for it. Learning the names and characteristics of the plants and animals in River Legacy Park and in their own backyards encourages participants to take the time to notice the beauty of the box turtle along the path or the snake slithering across a log. They know that by leaving these creatures undisturbed, they take an active role in allowing nature to prosper.
More than 14,000 school students visit the center each year for hands-on lessons that go beyond the classroom and into authentic woodland investigations. More than 50,000 yearly visitors experience first-hand explorations in nature through engaging, hands-on public programs, exhibits, workshops, and events. River Legacy Living Science Center is grooming the next generation of environmental stewards through these fun and exciting nature connections.
The center now features the amazing interactive Discovery Room, as well as aquariums and terrariums with native wildlife, learning labs, nature trails, pond overlooks, a gift shop, and a variety of public programs and classes.
- Nature School. Preschoolers observe classroom lessons come to life when they explore the natural world through nature walks, art, dramatic play, songs, and stories.
- Summer Classes. Students ages three years through eighth grade engage in hands-on learning lessons about wildlife, science, and the environment in weeklong classes in June and July.
- Home School. Students enhance their science studies by investigating the specimens and collections of River Legacy Living Science Center and River Legacy Park for indoor and outdoor lessons.
- After-School Clubs. Students in kindergarten through sixth grade study the plants, animals, and habitats of River Legacy Park in fun and engaging monthly clubs.
- Scout Program. Participants in the Boy Scout Program and Girl Scout Program earn a variety of badges through exciting hands-on individual troop lessons or at an annual scout badge day in December.
- Nature Adventurers. This mommy-and-me program provides a special hands-on learning opportunity for children ages two-and-a-half to five years old — and an adult partner — to explore a nature theme together through both indoor and outdoor activities.
In addition to these regular programs, free Saturday events (check the calendar for availability) and annual festivals offer a deeper, personal connection to nature for children and families through animal explorations, story times, themed nature walks, unique crafts, games, activities, and more!
By providing fun, interactive, and life-shaping nature experiences, the River Legacy team is laying the foundations of lifelong stewardship.
River Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization, was formed in 1988 as a unique public/private partnership with the City of Arlington to preserve and develop donated parkland with the charge of balancing amenities with conservation and environmental integrity. Thus, the now 1,300-acre River Legacy Park became a reality with linear paved trails, a mountain bike trail, river overlooks, playgrounds, and picnic pavilions — while still preserving the park’s ecological diversity of bottomland forest, wetlands, and prairie to provide abundant habitat for countless birds, fish, mammals, and native plants. River Legacy Park is a City of Arlington public park, but the River Legacy Foundation still partners closely with the Arlington Parks and Recreation Department to support recreational amenities and preservation efforts.
Recognizing the need for a place of learning and discovery, the River Legacy Foundation began a fundraising campaign in 1995 to build a one-of-a-kind nature center. The 12,000-square-foot River Legacy Living Science Center opened in 1996 to serve as the educational and stewardship gateway to River Legacy Park.