Photo courtesy Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center

Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center is a chance to become one with nature

The corn snake is watching me.

It opens its mouth as I peer into its habitat inside BREC’s Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center. Its long, orange-brown patterned body is still, but its eyes follow me as I move. We stare calmly at each other, both comforted by the window that safely separates us.

This is one of the more than 20 snakes housed inside the nature center’s exhibit building. One snake sticks its tongue out at me as I watch it. Some stoically slither their wavy, textured bodies across their enclosures as I walk by. Others blend into their environments so well, I can’t even find their camouflaged bodies.

The 9,500-square-foot exhibit building is home to live animals ranging from snakes to salamanders. Turtles sun themselves in window-facing aquariums. In the largest habitat, baby alligators float unblinkingly in the rippling water, their heads about the size of my palm.

During camps and educational programs, kids and families can learn about and even touch some of the center’s creatures.

While the welcome center does house some venomous snakes, most of its 20-plus species are nonvenomous. Printed displays and knowledgeable staff help visitors learn how to tell the difference between the two.

And that is the best part of the job, says Jessica Guthrie, conservation manager of education centers.

Read on for more about how the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center is introducing residents to local wildlife in this story from 225′s June 2021 issue.