The BJNCP was created so that people might experience the Cross Timbers environment in a way that they never had before. In addition to the nature center itself, there are almost 20 miles of trails that wind through the surrounding 700 acres of Cross Timbers ecosystem. Visitors are encouraged to get out and explore the world in search of wildlife in their natural settings and to appreciate the world around them.

John Dolford “Bob” Jones, a former slave and shepherd on his father’s farm, is honored with the naming of what is now Bob Jones Nature Center and Park. Bob, his mother, and his brother were left to cultivate 60 acres after their owner returned to Alabama from the Civil War.

After purchasing the farm in the 1990s, the City of Southlake, TX turned it into a park, with a portion set aside as a Nature Center to protect the Cross Timbers ecology from destruction. The Cross Timbers, a tree-lined habitat stretching from Kansas to Texas not far north of Waco, once served as a dividing line between the Great Plains and the Southeastern woods of the United States. The area’s extensive understory of thorny vines and bushes earned it the appellation “Cast Iron Forest” from the earliest explorers.

Dr. Bob Jones White-tailed deer, coyotes, bobcats, foxes, fox- es, wild turkeys, and countless migratory bird species still call the Cross Timbers home. The Bob Jones Nature Center and Park are not only a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, but also a fantastic outdoor classroom for teaching about the importance of the Cross Timbers ecosystem to the region’s flora and fauna.

The gardens surrounding the Nature Center building were originally planted in 2008 by the Tarrant County Master Gardeners, who have since maintained and expanded the gardens using Texas tough perennial indigenous that complement the center’s educational and conservationist ethos.

With about 758 acres of Cross Timbers habitat and over 20 miles of hiking trails both on and near the Walnut Grove National Recreation Trail, the Bob Jones Nature Institution and Preserve debuted in the spring of 2008 as a fully operating educational center.

The Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of Dallas–Fort Worth and a haven for local wildlife and humans alike. The Preserve is home to over 1,100 different kinds of plant and animal life.

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