Colleyville, Texas, is a suburb centrally located within the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. You may not have thought that a city half an hour from the urban area of Dallas would be a place to see wildlife, but there’s a lot you can find in various settings, including nature preserves, nature centers, parks, and lakes. Our Crème de la Crème Colleyville staff invites you to explore the best places to see the local wildlife in the area.

Colleyville Nature Center

The 46-acre Colleyville Nature Center at 100 Mill Wood Drive is a natural refuge with nine ponds, woods, multi-use trails, and more. As for wildlife, the nature center has over 180 types of birds. You can stroll around birdwatching or stop and fish in one of the stocked ponds. If visiting with children, there’s a playground they can enjoy as well.

One of the center’s most remarkable gems is the barred owls. You can see adult and juvenile owls coming in for a landing or perched in trees, a real treat. The owls fiercely protect their families, especially their young, so it’s a good idea to bring some binoculars to get a great view without them feeling threatened that you’re too close. Owls are often depicted as wise, cuddly, and cute, but barred owls are considered fearsome hunters, so respecting their space is best. The Colleyville Nature Center is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Grapevine Lake

Grapevine Lake is a nature area managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It’s home to abundant bird species and all kinds of wildlife. When you enter the trail, you’ll see low shrubs blanketed by vines and some dead tree limbs where red-bellied woodpeckers and indigo bunting birds like to perch. Listen for the songs of the Carolina wren, tufted titmouse, and northern cardinal along the banks of the lake.

You may also hear the songs of the Kentucky warbler, common yellowthroat, yellow-breasted chat, black-and-white warbler, blue-gray gnatcatcher, red-eyed vireo, and warbling vireo. If you get lucky, you may see some snowy egrets, as they sometimes fly up the stream channel. The nature area is also home to armadillos, snakes, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, and rabbits. You may spot them or their tracks in the mud after rainfall.

You’ll get prime insect viewing at Grapevine Lake, as some butterflies and dragonflies love to flutter among the wildflowers along the trail. Some butterflies along the route include gulf fritillaries, giant swallowtails, and painted ladies. Truly off the beaten path, this nature area has no street address, but directions from State Highway 114 and North White Chapel Boulevard in Southlake are to head north on North White Chapel Boulevard for 1.7 miles to the entrance. Enter the parking area, where the trailhead is marked with a sign. The trail is open daily during daylight hours.

Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve

The Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve is located at 355 East Bob Jones Road in Southlake and is dedicated to providing a place for people to explore the Cross Timbers Ecosystem. You’ll find a Cross Timbers habitat that spans 758 acres, including 20 miles of trails, with paved and unpaved trails for hiking and horseback riding. The preserve is home to 1,100 species of flora and fauna, lush with wildflowers, which attract insects, including a bounty of butterfly varieties, such as eastern tiger swallowtails, giant swallowtails, and a diverse assortment of fritillaries, yellows, hairstreaks, and sulphurs.

The Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve offer open woodlands that provide a natural habitat for many resident birds, such as the tufted titmouse, American robin, Carolina chickadee, yellow-throated warbler, western and eastern kingbirds, indigo and painted buntings, red-bellied and downy woodpeckers, scissor-tailed and Acadian flycatchers, and many more.

The Nature Center also runs outstanding nature programs for youths, including the Cross Timbers Nature Club, which meets monthly after school. In the club, outdoor enthusiasts and young naturalists can study local wildlife, explore the trails, and learn how to become better stewards of local land and the environment while making friends. The Summer Cross Timbers Nature Camp lets kids ages 5 to 11 conduct experiments, create arts and crafts, hike, practice outdoor skills, and learn about the local ecosystem and how to help it thrive.

The Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve trails are open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., except in winter when it closes at 5 p.m.

The Molly Hollar Wildscape

Located in Veteran’s Park, The Molly Hollar Wildscape, at 2866 Spanish Trail in Arlington, is a volunteer-run project that seeks to educate the community on conserving resources, using native plants, connecting with nature, and attracting wildlife. They take their motto from the great naturalist Henry David Thoreau: “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” The Wildscape is home to abundant mammalian wildlife, including the gray fox, nine-banded armadillo, coyote, bobcat, Mexican free-tailed bat, eastern cottontail rabbit, Virginia opossum, and eastern gray squirrel.

Watch your step because you may also spot an arachnid called Argiope aurantia, which is better known by its common name: the garden spider. Don’t worry; They may look scary, with their patterned yellow and black armored body and all eight yellow legs tipped in black, but they’re pretty harmless. You might see them spinning their web or hanging out in it.

You can encounter various fascinating insects in The Wildscape. A flurry of colorful butterflies makes their home amid the flowers. You’ll likely spot many beautiful butterfly types, including bordered patch, neon skimmer, polyphemus moth, queen, monarch, red admiral, hackberry emperor, eastern black swallowtail, buckeye, and more. These colorful beauties are Instagram-worthy, so plan to take many pictures.

Since The Wildscape is also home to many gorgeous bird species, you should bring a pair of binoculars. Watch out for the following species:

  • Black-capped chickadee.
  • Eastern bluebird.
  • Eastern screech owl.
  • Northern mockingbird.
  • Mallard duck.
  • Greater roadrunner.
  • Ruby-throated hummingbird.
  • Bewick’s wren.

Molly Hollar Wildscape is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Ready To Go Spot Some Wildlife?

Our Crème de la Crème of Colleyville team hopes this guide has given you some new ideas for local wildlife spotting. Anything outdoors can be a great activity to share with kids, as they’re fascinated with animals and insects.

Double-crested Cormorant by Steve Harbula is licensed with CC BY 2.0