We are Weslaco… and We are serious about Nature!
Nature abounds in Weslaco, Texas. Weslaco is home to three nature centers that share a wealth of wildlife and nature habitats. The Valley Nature Center, Frontera Audubon, and Weslaco’s newest addition, Estero Llano Grande State Park, cater to everyone from the laid back observer to the avid naturalist.
Birding and Butterfly watching attract avid naturists to Weslaco, Texas each year. People come to Weslaco from all over the world to view a wide variety of bird and butterfly species that migrate through the area every year. The region’s tropical climate also lends itself to various native plants and other wildlife.
With Weslaco’s central Rio Grande Valley location, you’ll easily find your way to the most popular nature hotspots in South Texas!
World Birding Center at Estero Llano Grande State Park
3301 S. International Blvd. (FM 1015) – (956) 565-3919
This 230-acre refuge and group camp facility in Weslaco attracts a spectacular array of birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and South Texas wildlife with its varied landscapes of shallow ponds, woodlands and thorn forest. Explore over 5 miles of trails, boardwalks, pavilions and observation decks. Water is the magic ingredient for attracting wildlife and Estero Llano Grande offers the largest wetlands environment in the World Birding Center network. Visitor Center Hours are 8:00 am-5:00 pm Closed Mondays year around and Tuesdays July-October.
Frontera Audubon Center
1101 S. Texas Blvd. – (956) 968-3275
A twelve-acre nature preserve featuring mature native woodlands, wetlands, butterfly gardens, and trails. See migratory ducks, native birds, wild parrots, and colorful warblers. Rarities documented within the preserve include: Blue Mockingbird, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, White-throated Robin, Elegant Trogon and Mangrove Cuckoo. Raucous parrots may also be seen roosting for the evening. The Center is a model of how a city and a forest can coexist. Open Sunday thru Friday, 8 am to 4 pm; and Saturdays, 7 am to 7 pm.
Valley Nature Center
301 S. Border Ave. – (956) 969-2475
Five acres of native habitat in the heart of Weslaco, home to hundreds of birds and butterflies. A trail leads visitors through the lush vegetation, cactus garden, bog ponds, and butterfly garden. Green Jays, Great Kiskadees, and Buff-Bellied Hummingbirds can be seen here, plus migrating birds in the spring and fall. The park is also home to the Texas Tortoise and the Texas Horned Lizard. The Center has weekly programs for all ages, offers guided tours, and hosts a native plant nursery with plants for sale. Visitors are invited to view the Center’s conservation resource library and gift shop for additional services.
Open Tuesday thru Friday, 9 am to 5 pm; Saturdays, 8 am to 5 pm; Sundays, 1 pm to 5 pm; and closed on Mondays. Located in the back of Gibson Park on Border Avenue.
100 Lee Lane Lyford, Tx 956-262-2176
Hilltop Gardens is a 500 acre organic Aloe Vera farm. Facilities include a 20 acre botanical garden, a bed and breakfast and a visitor center. This is one of the prettiest places in the Valley to watch birds, see butterflies and stroll through beautifully designed gardens. A true oasis in the farm land these gardens attract most of the valley specialties and have proven to be a real nature hotspot in the mid valley area. Just 22 miles north of Weslaco on FM491. The gardens are open to the public Tuesday – Saturday 9 – 4:30. Reservations for the B&B can be made on our web site
Duranta Butterfly Hedge
West 6th Street and Clifford. Both sides of the hedge on private property are excellent places to see
butterflies including agunas, flashers, and other skippers, and Polydamas Swallowtails. Please respect private property.
Llano Grande Lake (Arroyo Colorado)
Go South on FM 1015 to Estero Llano Grande. Park on either side of the bridge over the lake. Be careful of heavy traffic! You will see great birding on both sides of the bridge. Roseate Spoonbills and many other waterbirds can be seen.
Golden Raintree Citrus Farms
Located at 1303 S. Texas Blvd. These beautiful landscaped gardens and ponds offer wonderful birding opportunities. Whistling ducks, egrets, herons, ibis, and kingfishers are dependable. Excellent butterflies including the Emerald Aguna and outstanding dragonflies and damselflies including the Orange-bellied Skimmer and Caribbean Yellow-face. Open to the public November thru March. Call for permission to enter at other times, (956) 968-6161.
Rio Rico Bluffs
Go south on FM 1015 to US 281. Turn left and go 3.6 miles east to Rio Rico Road. Turn right on Rio Rico Road and go 1.2 miles; turn left on the paved road following it to the pump station and weir dam on the river. Great views of the Rio Grande and excellent river birding. Check with Border Patrol agents on duty in the area. Watch for Ringed and Green Kingfishers, Gray Hawk, and Northern Jacana.
Weslaco City Cemetery
Corner of 10TH & S. Illinois. Excellent birding all year. Best viewing in the morning. Check the woods along the west edge on the drainage ditch on the east. Open dawn till dusk everyday. Please respect mourners and do not block roads.
Weslaco Pixie Trees
Located across the street east from the Catholic Church parking lot on Oklahoma and 6TH Street. The “pixie” trees are dependable places to see the Red-bordered Pixie. Do not trespass on private property; please observe from the street.
Weslaco Settling Basins
North of the Expressway 83, along Paseo Del Norta. Excellent year-round birding. Do NOT trespass on airport property.
Texas Parks and Wildlife
Texas Parks and Wildlife Tracts Baird, Taormina, & Chapote Wildlife Management Areas. Bird on the edges at any time. A limited public use permit ($12), which is valid from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31, is required; this can be purchased wherever licenses are sold. There are public roads that go through parts of the properties, so no permit would be required to bird along the edges of these properties from these roads. Call TPW at (956) 565-1223 for special arrangements to take groups into the properties.