Houston Arboretum gets into fall spirit with activities for everyone

Discover what the Houston Arboretum has to offer this fall

Celebrate the return of cooler fall weather by exploring the 155-acre nature sanctuary at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. With five miles of walking trails accessible free of charge, observation decks, and an indoor Discovery Room, this urban oasis is the perfect place to relax and recharge.

Bird-lovers can take a 20 minute hike to the Charlotte Couch Birding Platform overlooking Buffalo Bayou for a scenic view. With towering Sycamores, Oaks, and Pines the secluded spot is an ideal place to see birds and other wild creatures.   If you’re looking for a shorter walk to watch wildlife, take a stroll to the Meadow, Pond & Observation Decks where the landscape transitions between East Texas Pineywoods and the Gulf Coast Prairie. For families with strollers or visitors in wheelchairs, the Biomimicry Trail is a short trail that is easily accessible to all. Encircling the Nature Center, the trail passes a small pond and features five interpretive signs that showcase local species.

The Houston Arboretum offers these free trails in addition to fun nature events and classes for people of all ages. This fall go trick-or-treating at ArBOOretum, go on a birdwatching hike and learn about common fall migrants with Beginner Birdwatching, or celebrate the winter night sky with the Houston Astronomical Society at the Trees & Stars Winter Celebration.

Special Events

Trees & Stars Winter Celebration on Saturday, December 9

6:30 – 9:30 pm

$30 member / $45 nonmember / $15 children ages 5-12

Instructor: Houston Astronomical Society

Ages 5 and up

Join the Arboretum and the Houston Astronomical Society for a winter celebration! Enjoy festive food, Saint Arnold beer, Katz Coffee, and a hot chocolate bar inside. Outside, hike through the winter woods and look through telescopes to see the moon and stars.

Adult Programs

A Taste of Honey on Saturday, November 11

6:00 – 8:00 pm

$40 member / $65 nonmember

Instructor: Nicole Buergers

Ages 16 and up

Celebrate the fall harvest with the sweet taste of honey. Join local beekeeper Nicole Buergers for a guided honey tasting while she answers your questions about bees and honey. You’ll enjoy a sample of mead – also called honey wine – and a selection of fruits and cheeses, along with Saint Arnold beer and Katz Coffee. It’s the most delicious way to support local honey producers and pollinator conservation!

The Secret Life of Squirrels on Saturday, November 4

9:30 – 11:30 am

Instructor: Kelsey Low

Ages 13 and up

Squirrels are so common that we take them for granted, but they really live fascinating lives. For example, did you know that Eastern Gray Squirrels are one of the few animal species known to lie to deceive others? These adaptable creatures can be found worldwide in many habitats, from rainforests to deserts. In this class we’ll focus on the anatomy, ecology, and behavior of our three Houston species. We’ll also send you home with a squirrel feeder so you can study these amazing creatures up close.

Bones on Saturday, December 2

9:30 – 11:30 am

Instructor: Kelsey Low

Ages 13 and up

An animal’s bones can tell you a lot about how it lives. From teeth and jaws to shells, plates, and claws – bones reflect how animals eat, hunt, and defend themselves. In this class, you’ll learn about what bones are, the major groups of bones, and their most important functions. We’ll use local examples to discuss how to determine an animal’s lifestyle by looking at their bones. Finally, we’ll put our knowledge into practice by identifying and assembling animal bones from owl pellets.

Series: Birds

Second Saturday Bird Walks on 2nd Saturday of the month

8:00 – 10:00 am


Instructor: Kelsey Low

Work on your bird watching skills while helping the Arboretum monitor bird populations on a fun, relaxed morning walk. Join us on the second Saturday of each month at the front door of the building for a two-hour bird walk led by Kelsey Low, resident bird enthusiast. We welcome all levels of bird watching skill and all ages (as long as you’re quiet) – but no dogs, please! If you have binoculars of your own, please bring them. We do have some binoculars available to borrow.

Winter Birdwatching Workshop on Saturday, December 16

8:00 – 11:00 am

$30 member / $45 nonmember

Instructor: Kelsey Low

Ages 12 and up

Want to take your birdwatching skills to the next level? In this workshop, you’ll work on refining your bird ID skills by sight and sound. Enjoy bird-friendly Katz Coffee while we talk about how a more “holistic” approach to field marks (GISS) can help speed identification, and how to break down bird sounds into simpler parts. We’ll also discuss binoculars and their care. Finally, weather permitting, we’ll go on a bird walk to practice these new skills.

Art & Photography

DIY Paper on Saturday, November 18

1:00 – 3:00 pm

$20 member / $35 nonmember

Instructor: Kelsey Low

Ages 16 and up

Add a personal touch to your holiday gifts with beautiful, homemade paper. Learn how easy it is to make your own recycled paper for cards, ornaments, and more. You can even make special seed paper to plant in the garden! We’ll provide everything you need to make paper, including the option to make special paper shapes for cards, gift tags, or ornaments.

Edible Arboretum

Pecan Celebration on Saturday, November 18

10:00 am – 12:00 pm

$20 member / $35 nonmember

Instructor: Kelsey Low

Ages 13 and up

We don’t need to tell Texans that pecans are the best nuts around! The rich, buttery flavor is perfect in a multitude of recipes. Learn three easy pecan recipes in this fun class: pecan persimmon cookies, quick pecan pralines, and maple-apple-pecan salad. While we’re cooking, we’ll also talk about the benefits of pecan trees for wildlife.

Family Programs

Series: Naturally Wild Families

Canepole Fishing on Saturday, November 4

1 pm, 2 pm, or 3 pm

$25 member / $50 nonmember (per adult/child pair)

Enjoy this rare opportunity for catch-and-release fishing at the Arboretum! First you’ll learn the basics of baiting a hook and using a traditional cane pole. We’ll have fun trying to catch one of our many freshwater fish species, identifying turtles, and learning how much fun it is to be an angler. Come enjoy an afternoon at the pond with us!

Homemade Holidays on Saturday, December 2

1:00 – 3:00 pm

$25 member / $50 nonmember (per family)

Notes: Price includes up to 4 family members; $5 per additional family member.

Natural elements can really spruce up your holiday decorations and gifts! With hands-on guidance and materials like grapevine, branches, berries, and pinecones, you will create a wreath, ornaments, and handmade gifts. There’s something so special and fun about creating something with your own two hands and making memories with your friends and family. 


For a complete list of classes, happenings, and prices this season, visit www.houstonarboretum.org. Pictures can be shared on social media by tagging @HoustonArboretum on Facebook and Instagram or @HoustonArboretu on Twitter.


photos courtesy of Houston Arboretum