About a mile from Centennial Park, Pearland families can get up close and personal with many of Texas’ native reptiles and waterfowl in a safe educational environment.

The Delores Fenwick Nature Center, which is funded through the city of Pearland’s Natural Resources Division, opened in 2017. Bond funds paid for the structure, located at 5750 Magnolia Parkway, and fundraising efforts helped fund the indoor animal habitats and exhibits, Park Naturalist Katie Boughal said.

Boughal and two other full-time staffers manage the center’s programming, exhibits and animal care. Their goal is to connect residents with local wildlife and invest in the sustainability of native populations, Boughal said.

“We are trying to accommodate more animals as we go, but we’re in a good spot,” she said, adding some of the center’s reptiles have decadeslong lifespans. “We’re making an investment in these animals.”

Interactive indoor exhibits teach visitors about bird and reptile species and 2 miles of outdoor walking trails are available for use. New this fall, paddleboarding and kayaking

programs give visitors access to the two ponds, which are not typically open for public use. The water is about 2 feet deep, Boughal said.

Trail and nature center admission is free; programs and workshops are subject to fees. Staff will be hosting several kayaking programs during the January to May session, some at the center and some at offsite locations, Outdoor Recreation Programmer August Vandiver said. Session registration opened Dec. 1.

“It’s a great little gem,” Boughal said of the center and its amenities.

The programming is aimed at various demographics, including underserved ones, such as childless young adults, Boughal said. Vandiver began leading guided nature hikes in June and said they are hugely popular among all ages.

Pearland is urbanized, Vandiver added, so the center aims to bring nature to people where they are. Activities such as birding and cycling have increased significantly in popularity during COVID-19, he said.

The next Birding in the Field event is Dec. 11 at 8 a.m. More birding programs will take place in the spring.

The center also sponsors kayaking excursions around the ponds’ floating wetlands. Kayakers will be able to see bird nesting sites more up close and personal than they could from the shoreline, Vandiver said.

“We have a new group of people who are interested in programs and activities that they weren’t interested in before,” he said. “These [activities] could be a really cool opportunity for people in the area to try something new.” Meet the animals

All wildlife on display at the nature center are native to Texas, and most are native to Pearland and its area waterways. Animals are cared for by the center’s staffers.

Delores Fenwick Nature Center

5750 Magnolia Parkway, Pearland



Hours: Tue.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Sun.-Mon.