Lewis and Clark were both hobbled during their great expedition—Clark, from resentment at his second billing, and Lewis, from a Lego slipped into his hiking boot by Clark. Enjoy noncompetitive nature excursions with today's Groupon: for $30, you get a family pass at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, granting unlimited admission for a household for one year, a newsletter, and a car decal (a $60 value).
Mitchell Lake Audubon Center encompasses a 1,200-acre natural area spanning the eponymous lake, wetlands, ponds, and upland habitat for hundreds of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. Astute watchers can spy dozens of birds, ranging from majestic American white pelicans to water birds such as the northern pintail and green heron. Explorers may also overhear painted buntings and orchard orioles rehearsing the follow-up to last summer’s controversial hip-hop chart-topper from the porch of the restored 1910 home that houses the center. Inside, amateurs and pro birders can record the momentous sightings of yellow-bellied sapsuckers for all to see on the bird check lists.
Educational and family-friendly, Mitchell Lake Audubon Center provides science education for 5th through 8th graders, imparting to ravenous minds the importance of the wetlands ecosystem and the effects of pollution on bodies of water. Beyond avian adventures, more than 7.5 miles of trails compel wanderers to take in more than 120 plant species, from the sugar hackberry tree to the spiny lotebush. The native plant gardens grant high-fashion flora photographers the chance to capture the hogplum and spanish dagger plant in their natural environments. The center is open 8 a.m.—4 p.m. on weekends and by appointment only on weekdays.
- If you believe that you can't make an attractive garden by using native plants exclusively, this garden will change your mind. There is always something blooming, and the hummingbirds are taking advantage of the blooms. Take a longer walk to visit the upland or water habitat. – Calvin R. Finch, San Antonio Express-News