DALLAS, Texas, October 14, 2008 (ENS) - The Trinity River Audubon Center holds its grand opening this coming weekend with a host of free activities such as bird watching and guided trail tours, kayak basics, orienteering, and organic gardening.
The newly completed center, near a prominent bend in the Trinity River, is located eight minutes south of downtown Dallas. When visitors arrive, they will explore hands-on exhibits, miles of nature viewing trails, and the Children’s Discovery Garden.
Owned by the City of Dallas and operated by the National Audubon Society, the center was designed by award-winning architect Antoine Predock. It is the first LEED-certified building to be constructed by the City of Dallas Parks and Recreation Department.
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The Trinity River Audubon Center occupies land that was formerly an illegal dump site but has been reclaimed by the City of Dallas. The sustainable building features a vegetated roof, rainwater collection system for irrigation, a living machine wastewater treatment plant, energy efficient systems, and recycled materials.
The center features an exhibit hall, video center, gift shop, café and a conference and meeting room along with two wet labs and three classrooms.
As many as 100,000 visitors are expected to visit the center annually, including 25,000 school children. Exhibits and activities at the center will be designed to inspire students' understanding of science, nature and mathematics. It will serve as the flagship center for the Audubon Society’s education and conservation initiatives in Texas.
The center is dedicated to birds and habitat preservation and the Audubon staff has counted more than 100 different resident and migrant species of birds. Recently 80 wood storks were sighted in the ponds around the center along with 20 roseate spoonbills. A greater roadrunner with typical colorful plumage and a black top knot was seen crossing the road within the center.
With four miles of hiking and birding trails, the center provides direct access to nature viewing, hiking, picnicking, and canoeing in the Great Trinity Forest.
At 6,000 acres, the Great Trinity Forest is the largest urban hardwood forest in the United States. With its unique mixture of bottomland hardwoods, aquatic and wetland systems and grasslands, the forest supports a diverse community of plant and animal species.
In the Dallas Trails Master Plan, the numerous citywide trail systems are designed to connect to the Trinity River Audubon Center, providing a premier trail destination location. Individuals and families from across the region may ride, blade, run, or walk to the center.
The center is a focus for educational and environmental interests as part of the Trinity River Corridor Project, the largest public works project in the city's history. Dallas voters approved the $246 million project during a May 1998 bond election.
When completed, the 20 mile long Trinity River Corridor Project will provide recreational amenities and environmental benefits, flood damage reduction, improve traffic congestion in the downtown area, as well as encourage development of the lands along the river.
Starting October 21, 2008 the price of admission to the Trinity River Audubon Center is $6.00 for Adults (ages 13-59), $3.00 for Children (ages 3-12), $4.00 for Seniors (60+); children two and under are admitted free. The center is free to all guests the third Thursday of each month, and it is closed on Mondays. For annual memberships, group rates and other information visit www.trinityriveraudubon.org or call 214-370-TRAC.
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.