Bob Jones Nature Center
355 E. Bob Jones Road – Southlake, Texas 76092
Facility and Preserve: 817.491.6333
It’s a bit like salmon swimming upstream, but worth it. To reach the Bob Jones Nature Center in Southlake requires traversing numerous upper mid-cities highways lined with malls, office parks, and franchises. Turning off of Hwy 114 onto Dove Rd takes you through more office parks, yet right as you exit is a granite memorial for two lawmen shot decades ago by Bonnie and Clyde. So there is some actual history here!
But mostly one passes through the scrubbed bourgeois of Southlake, which must be the whitest city on the planet. Once onto White Chapel Rd, you pass by faux mansion after faux mansion, including one that looks like a castle, and past numerous manicured parks. At one point you encounter a deer crossing sign, which seems like wishful thinking. Yet there in the low wash is an obvious greenbelt, part of the Grapevine Lake watershed protection, with a trailhead that indicates considerable hiking acreage.
Then a genuine hill appears in the distance and manicured parks give way to an equestrian center and parks for the monied horsey set. Do not give up! Keep going until the road almost ends, then turn on Bob Jones Ln and go until it almost ends. Turn at the rustic gate covered in wild grapes and instantly you are into a classic post oak savannah, with large trees dotting an open plain.
Bob Jones Nature Center has a countryish charm with a vine covered red barn and vegetable garden complex. The modern visitor center, closed on the Sunday I visited, is modern but blends right in with native plant landscaping. Well marked trails radiate into the savannah.
As someone experienced in wildlife habitat rehabilitation, I can tell great care that is taken to maintain the savannah by controlling brush and invasive species, and installing native grasses and seed-bearing forbs. It’s paid off! As I was leaving, a wild turkey sauntered by and the post oaks reveled in songbird music.
MY PHOTOS (such as they are)