In the past 20 years, Houston has made great progress when it comes to providing green spaces and park access to Houstonians and inhabitants of surrounding areas. This endeavor has not gone unnoticed nor appreciated, as these parks and open areas provide a wealth of benefits to the city of Houston in a variety of different ways. Incorporating green spaces supports urban environments like Houston by enhancing the physical and psychological health of the city’s residents while also providing inhabitants with a beautiful environment to work and live. Some studies have even shown the social, environmental, economic and health advantages that these green spaces provide. The United States Forest Service has determined that over 50 years, one tree supplies $31,250 worth of oxygen, $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water and prevents $31,250 worth of soil erosion. Additionally, the trees in an urban park will help reduce the rate at which water will flow into a stormwater treatment facility and encourage water absorption into the ground. This can help to prevent and control flooding which has heavily impacted the Houston area over the years. Green spaces can also increase the property value of homeowners. In fact, in Boulder, Colorado, the installation of one greenbelt added $5.4 million to the total property value of a single neighborhood.
With Houston putting such an emphasis on green spaces in recent years, there are now plenty for you and your family to enjoy in this wonderful city. Read below to learn about a few of the parks and green spaces in Houston and how you and your family can delight in the perks of each.
Discovery Green Conservancy
Discovery Green Conservancy is not only a premier green space to bring your family for a day of outdoor fun, but it is also a well though out, environmental display that sets the bar high for any green spaces or Houston area parks to come. From its very beginning stages, Discovery Green Conservancy was intended to be an environmentalist’s dream, with commitment to having a positive impact on the environment and use of the most eco-friendly building and energy technologies available. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is the world’s most recognized green building rating system and has awarded Discovery Green Conservancy with a Gold rating. This means that Discovery Green Conservancy has achieved its goal of providing Houston with a highly eco-friendly and beautiful outdoor recreational space.
There are a variety of reasons why Discovery Green Conservancy sets a great precedent for future green spaces and sustainable outdoor facilities to come. The first factor that contributes to Discovery Green Conservancy’s Gold rating is its location. This green space is located in a heavily populated urban area that is near public transportation. A close proximity to public transport can encourage park goers to use these facilities, helping to decrease the amount of pollution emitted from individual automobiles. Additionally, construction of Discovery Green Conservancy included the use of a brownfield site and also techniques to prevent pollution. The interior of buildings in Discovery Green Conservancy have also been carefully situated to make the best use of natural air flow and to cut down on natural heating from the sun’s rays. These indoor spaces also use open-air verandas and a dozen mature trees to shade certain areas of interiors. These trees were removed from a location that threatened their existence and were replanted in Discovery Green Conservancy to guarantee that they would not be cut down. Discovery Green Conservancy also champions water efficiency and conservation. This green space features a highly efficient irrigation system and also recycles groundwater to fill the onsite Kinder Lake. In addition to recycling water, Discovery Green Conservancy also uses technologically advanced restroom appliances to help decrease the amount of water used in the park.
With large facilities and indoor areas to keep cool in the summer time, the energy use of Discovery Green Conservancy would be very high if it was not for their focus on environmental best practices. This park employs energy saving air conditioning units and advanced refrigerants to reduce their need for energy. Discovery Green Conservancy has also used solar panels since late 2007 to produce electricity on site. In fact, between the years 2007 and 2014, these solar panels have produced over 1117,000 kWH which resulted in an energy savings of $24,000. To put that in perspective, this has the same impact on the environment as planting more than 10,000 trees. Environmental awareness indoors is also a priority for Discovery Green Conservancy. The levels of lighting and air conditioning on building interiors are closely monitored, with all buildings receiving maximum daylight exposure and views for natural light. This provides a healthy and indoor environment for each building and facility at Discovery Green Conservancy. Another example of Discovery Green Conservancy’s commitment to the environment are the materials and resources that were used to build the park. Leftover construction materials were saved and recycled for use in later projects. Furthermore, over 60% of the Ipe wood that was used to build the park was harvested from sustainable forests. This wood is a fantastic and long term option, as it is very sturdy and is naturally immune to rot, insects and fire. Finally, Discovery Green Conservancy is committed to educating the public about the importance of green living, including green landscaping maintenance and cleaning products.
Now that you know how hard Discovery Green Conservancy works to preserve a healthy environment and future for generations to come, you and your family can join them at their many eco-friendly and fun-filled facilities and events! During your trip to Discovery Green Conservancy, you and your loved ones can enjoy lunch at two of Houston’s most delicious restaurants, The Grove and The Lake House, cool off at the Gateway Fountain where water jets spew up from a granite surface, kick back and relax at the Hess Patio Deck, a 4,700-square-foot elevated deck that sits under one-hundred year old live oak trees, soak up some tunes during an outdoor concert at the Anheuser-Busch Stage, play a game of shuffleboard on Trini’s Shuffleboard Court, have a yummy picnic on Sarofim Picnic Lawn and so much more!
Memorial Park Conservancy
As the largest park and green space in Houston and one of the largest in the United States, Memorial Park Conservancy provides Houstonians with over 40 official park activities to enjoy, especially for fitness and sports buffs. This sprawling park features the Memorial Park Golf Course, a 250 acre, 18 hole golf course that serves over 65,000 golfers every year. If golf is not your sport of choice, head to the Memorial Park Tennis Center to brush up on your tennis skills or to play a match with your friends and family. You also have the choice to play rugby, soccer and sand volleyball. The Memorial Park Fitness Center is another facility you can use at Memorial Park to get your blood flowing and heart pumping. This facility is open year round and offers a variety of resistance and free weight workout equipment, trainers, a pool during the summer months, locker rooms and showers. Paid memberships to the Memorial Park Fitness Center are available. If you want to get in touch with nature while you get your steps in for the day, take advantage of Memorial Park Conservancy’s mountain biking and hiking trails. There are over thirty miles of trails throughout the park with many of these trails winding over peaceful creeks.
In addition to its many sporting and fitness facilities, Memorial Park Conservancy is a great place to enjoy quality time outdoors with your family. You will find picnic tables scattered throughout the park, perfect for lunch or an early supper with your little ones. The Vale-Asche Foundation Playground at Memorial Park is another opportunity for your kids to have a fun time during your visit to this fantastic green space here in Houston.
Buffalo Bayou Park
Buffalo Bayou Park offers Houstonians a fantastic escape into the great outdoors right in the middle of the metropolitan hustle and bustle near the Montrose/Washington Corridor. This urban park sprawls across 160 acres and offers a huge variety of activities to serve the interests of all Houstonians. You and your family can take your bikes to ride the beautiful biking trails, or you can choose to get some fresh air while you enjoy a daily run on Buffalo Bayou Park’s running trails. During your visit to Buffalo Bayou Park, you can stand in awe of the picturesque art sculptures, pay your respect to fallen officers of the Houston Police Department at the Houston Police Officers’ Memorial, bring your dog for a day of fun at the Johnny Steele Dog Park or watch over 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from the Waugh Drive Bridge at sunset.
After you have paid a visit to all of these sites, you can make your way to Lost Lake to rent a paddle craft or head to the Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area and Picnic Pavilion where your children will fall in love with nature during activities such as a boulder rock scramble, a rolling lawn, a stream and waterfall, climbing logs and stones, a 33 foot slide and a tri-level tree house with a climbing net. Perhaps one of Buffalo Bayou Park’s most attractive features is Eleanor Tinsley Park. This park is situated inside of Buffalo Bayou Park and is one of Houston’s most popular green areas for leisure activities or for pure outdoor relaxation. At Eleanor Tinsley Park, you can enjoy the Bud Light Amphitheater which is home to exciting events and concerts, the Nau Family Pavilion, a sand volleyball court and the beautiful Eleanor Tinsley Garden and Jane Gregory Garden. After a full day of sightseeing and relaxing at Buffalo Bayou Park, grab a bite to eat at The Kitchen at The Dunlavy, a stunning restaurant that overlooks the park and features a number of delicious menu options.
Buffalo Bayou Park is located from Shepherd Drive to Sabine Street, between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive. Open daily, you can soak up all that Buffalo Bayou Park has to offer seven days per week from 6 AM – 11 AM in well lit areas and from dawn to dusk in all other areas of the park.
Hermann Park Conservancy
If you are someone who enjoys soaking up the beauty of nature and the outdoors, you will love the stunning views that Hermann Park Conservancy has to offer. Herman Park Conservancy was founded in 1992 as Friends of Hermann Park. This non-profit organization is committed to improving Hermann Park, as well as the conservation, tree care, stewardship and operations of the McGovern Centennial Gardens.
The first point of interest for any nature lover at Hermann Park Conservancy is the Bayou Parkland. This 80 acre parkland features native plants, scenic trails, wetlands, prairie meadows and an urban forest. Bayou Parkland also features a pavilion area for picnics. Another activity for sustainability enthusiasts at Hermann Park Conservancy is the Family Garden. This garden showcases fruit, vegetables, herbs, citrus and berries that can all be grown in the Houston area and allows children of all ages and abilities to help cultivate the beds for these plants. You will also learn about the food that is grown along with the many uses of herbs in food, medicine, fragrance and more. After you check out the Family Garden, you can enjoy a little peace and serenity in the Japanese Garden. This zen green space within Hermann Park Conservancy features waterfalls, bridges and stone paths that exist in harmony with beautiful ornamental plants such as crepe myrtles, azaleas, Japanese maples, dogwoods and cherry trees. You will also find a charming teahouse inside of the garden and winding walking paths that you can use to explore these flourishing gardens.
With all of its charming and functional green spaces, Natran Green Pest Control is proud to call Houston our home. We hope you and your family will enjoy the beauty and nature of each of these parks and green spaces this summer and beyond.