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Opening Up the Trinity

by Jerome Weeks 17 Oct 2008 6:00 AM

The stunning new Trinity River Audubon Center contains classrooms, a cafe and interactive exhibits, including a sizable model of the Trinity flood plain.

Trinity River Audubon Center Photo: Sean Fitzgerald / TRAC

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  • Today’s expanded online story:

The official ribbon-cutting is this Friday morning, but it’s tomorrow and Sunday, Oct. 18 and 19, when the public will be permitted a free preview of the $14 million dollar Trinity River Audubon Center. The new state headquarters for the National Audubon Society is located south of downtown Dallas. It features wetland ponds, hiking trails and a nature center.

The building was designed by prize-winning architect Antoine Predock. It contains classrooms, a café and interactive exhibits, including a sizable model of the Trinity flood plain. Visitors can activate a water flow to simulate the effects of different kinds of floods on the Dallas area.

Trinity River Audubon Center was designed by architect Antoine Predock. Photo:

Anne Brown is executive director of the Trinity River Audubon Center.

BROWN: “This has been a six-year project with the city of Dallas and the National Audubon Society. This is part of our national network of Audubon centers across the country.”

For the Audubon Society, the center will re-connect urban dwellers with nature. To that end, there will be classes on backpacking, birdwatching, even beekeeping. For the city, the center is a small piece of its ambitious plans to reclaim the Trinity River Forest as a natural habitat and tourist attraction.

But as much as it’s a location for picnicks and field trips, the center will be a site for research. The Trinity is a prime migration path. The center has partnered with Cornell University to study bird migration, even rigging webcams near nesting sites.


BROWN: “During migration season, you’re going to see amazing birds. We’ll have our ducks, our egrets – actually, egrets are here year-round but during migration we’ll be having them coming through — our pelicans. In our spring migration, we’ll have warblers, other songbird species.”

Eventually, the center will be linked to the Katy Trail, so hikers and bikers can reach it. But for now, visitors will have to drive there – just off Loop 12 near I-45.