Armand Bayou combines prairies, forests, bayous on vast 2,500 acres

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Some call the Armand Bayou Nature Center the Bay Area's "best kept secret."

"If you look down here, you'll see the Pasadena petrochemical complex. We also border University of Houston-Clear Lake, as well as NASA and many residential neighborhoods in the area," explained Armand Bayou Executive Director Tim Pylate. "So that makes Armand Bayou the largest urban wilderness in the United States."

The nature center covers 2,500 acres of prairies, forests and bayous.

It's basically what you would have found throughout southeast Texas before concrete smothered the area.

"If we could go back in time and fly over Harris County, it would mostly look like that," said Chief Naturalist and Conservation Director Mark Kramer.

You'll find more than 370 wildlife species here and more than five miles of walking trails.

During the summer, the place is busy with summer eco camps. Participants range from 4 to 13 years old.

Many of them come back when they're older as volunteers and staff members.

"I want to be an environmental engineer to preserve the environment, obviously, and to make sure everything is beautiful and stays that way," said 13-year-old Ava Zegarelli.

For more information, you can visit the Armand Bayou Nature Center website.

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