Best Urban Nature Spot - 2009
Terry Hershey Park
Way out west amid the tract developments, strip malls and freeways of Houston's upper-middle-class suburbia is this hidden sliver of primordial bayou land, where you can wind back the geologic clock to the Cenozoic Era. On a typical hike or bike trip through the park's 12 miles of Buffalo Bayou-hugging trails, you'll see startled turtles sliding down sandy banks and water snakes lazing through slowly flowing, surprisingly pristine waters; you'll also hear the occasional splash as the bayou ripples when a hungry garfish surfaces to chomp an unlucky bug. The 500 acres of lush undergrowth are interspersed with occasional clearings; in one, you'll find a sundial where your own shadow will tell you the time. Even that primitive mode of timekeeping seems positively high-tech after an hour or two deep in the jungles of the park.