River Legacy Living Science Center serves as the gateway to River Legacy Park. Nestled into a clearing of existing land contours and oak groves, the 12,000-square-foot nature center was designed with minimal impact to the environment. The Center houses the Foundation’s environmental education programs, including Nature School and Summer Classes, and offers public programs and special events.
The Center is open from 9 am to 5 pm Mondays through Saturdays. The Center’s NEW Discovery Room features interactive exhibits and technology that allows you to virtually immerse yourselves in the woodland environments of the adjacent River Legacy Park. The Center’s Atrium with its self-exploration activity tables, terrariums with native wildlife, and surrounding nature trails are free to explore. There is a nominal entry fee for the Discovery Room and annual memberships are also available.
School groups, daycares, and organizations should visit the Group Visits page or call 817.860.6752, ext. 102 to schedule a self-guided tour.
- Interactive environmental exhibits
- 30-foot interactive immersive technology screen
- Aquariums & Terrariums with native animals
- Gift shop
- Nature trails & pond
- Public programs
- Education programs
- Summer Classes
River Legacy Living Science Center is also available for rentals for weddings and receptions.
A simple fortress of fallen leaves and broken tree limbs, crafted by the creative hands of children, served as the inspiration for River Legacy Living Science Center, when it was constructed in 1996. The 12,000-square-foot center was developed with the specific objective of minimizing the impact on the environment. To that end, the Center itself is a fascinating study of architecture, conservation and sustainable design.
- Three enormous red oak trees provide structural support for the roof of the building. The trees were salvaged from a City of Arlington street-widening project.
- The entrance drive was carefully routed to avoid trees and to minimize paving and vegetative disturbance.
- The parking lot is constructed of porous pavers that allow air and water to recharge the soil.
- Walkways are made of decomposed granite with an organic resin that makes them firm, yet pervious to air and water.
- Restroom walls consist of tiles made from recycled crushed windshields.
- A gray water system of plumbing is used. The underground system captures the runoff from drinking fountains and sink materials; then stores, treats and recycles it for use in the landscaped areas complementing the structure.
- Agrosoke, a naturally occurring moisture retention gel, acts as a water reservoir when added to bed and lawn soils.
The Living Science Center serves as an example of sustainable design, but it also serves to educate future generations so they too may sustain and support this natural resource.
Designed by the Jones Studio of Phoenix, Arizona, the Living Science Center has won many awards for its architectural achievements.
- Citation Award, American Institute of Architects/Arizona, 1999
- Merit Award, AmericanInstitute of Architects/Western Mountain Region, 1999
- APS Energy Award, American Institute of Architects/Arizona, 1998
- Eagle Award of Excellence, Associated Builders and Contractors, 1996
- Citation Award, American Institute of Architects/Central Texas Chapter, 1996
- Best New Architectural Achievement, Dallas Observer, 1996
The Science Center and River Legacy Park have also been honored and recognized for their environmental programs:
- Arlington Chamber of Commerce Non-Profit Small Business of the Year – 2018
- Discovery Room Grand Opening – $2.5 million renovation of exhibit hall space in Living Science Center – 2018
- 30th Anniversary of River Legacy Foundation, largest provider of environmental science in North Texas for more than 500,000 students in its history – 2018
- Arlington Today’s Reader’s Choice Favorite Park – 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
- 20th Year of River Legacy Nature School – 2016
- Phase 1 of River Legacy Living Science Center’s exhibit renovations are completed, providing larger, more natural habitats for our native animals on display. The exhibit facade was also designed to replicate the layers of the riverbank along the Trinity River and the plants, animals and fossils that can be found in each layer to extend the educational experience for our guests – 2013