Wildcat Bluff Nature Center
If you’re looking for a place to spend a nice day of hiking and exploring, try out the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center. In the northwestern part of Amarillo, this property is located at 2301 N Soncy Rd, Amarillo, TX 79124. It offers a variety of ways in which residents and visitors can learn about the nature of the Texas Panhandle region.
Wildcat Bluff takes up about a mile of land and allows visitors to hike, bike, and educate themselves on the various features of the panhandle climate and environment. One of the main goals of the nature center is to supply educational pursuits to the community through the stunning landscape. Featured within the facility are hiking trails that span a part of the premises that used to be Frying Pan Ranch. This ranch once belonged to the famed inventor of barbed wire, Joseph Glidden. It was handed down to his son-in-law William Henry Bush who was a main founder of Bushland, TX, an unincorporated community located outside of Amarillo.
Another one of the goals listed on the Wildcat Bluff website is to “promote a sense of personal responsibility for the environment.” In order to accomplish this goal, the facility provides school tours for pre-k programs all the way through the university level. These tours are educational and designed to give hands-on learning experiences to every participant. To book a tour for your class, give the center a call. All chaperones are free, and there must be a ratio of 10 children to one adult. Each student will cost $3 a head.
The Wildcat Bluff Nature Center says on its website that they keep up with TEKS and can help teachers find a program right for their students. The center offers a variety of programs, including guided and self-guided hikes for all ages, Animals of the High Plains, Amphibians and Reptiles, and Texas Insects and Their Relatives for grades kindergarten through sixth, and Geology Rocks!, Talking Bones and Rocks, and Leaving Your Mark for grades third through eighth. You can also call ahead and schedule a naturalist-led hike for your group.
The entire facilities encompass about 640 acres of Texas Panhandle land. Using environmentally correct techniques, the center is operated as a living museum with 5 miles of trails (accompanied by paths accessible to those who require them) and a place for outdoor classes. The area also features a “dig pit” the center uses to teach students about prehistory in the panhandle and the Gilvin Science Education Building to host talks and other educational activities. Wildcat Bluff also has a part of the historic Gregg-Marcy Santa Fe Trail located on their premises which is something you’ll definitely want to check out.
The nature center is completely run and operated by volunteers, so if you feel generous and want to spend some time in nature, take advantage of this opportunity. Opportunities to work and maintain the grounds are presented through volunteering. You can also ask to work in the accounting department or with school programs as your main volunteer department if that sounds like more of something you would enjoy.
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