Arlington Citizen-Journal

Bright idea: River Legacy Science Center expanding with new lighted parking lot

The River Legacy Living Science Center in Arlington will soon have a new 48-space parking lot, complete with lights.
The River Legacy Living Science Center in Arlington will soon have a new 48-space parking lot, complete with lights. Courtesy

River Legacy Living Science Center is a popular place to visit in Arlington. Soon, there will be more room to accommodate visitors.

The city of Arlington has teamed with Tarrant County and the River Legacy Foundation to build a new 48-space parking lot for patrons of the center.

The new parking lot, which will include lighting, is expected to be finished by the fall. It will be on city land just inside River Legacy Park’s Northwest Green Oaks Boulevard entrance.

Tarrant County will provide labor, equipment and asphalt for the project. Arlington will take care of permitting and inspections.

“We are very excited to be able to offer our Nature Center parents and visitors, as well as River Legacy Park patrons, a safe and convenient parking lot to be able to access the amenities of River Legacy Park as well as the educational offerings of the Science Center,” River Legacy Living Science Center Executive Director Jill Hill said.

“We love to be able to connect more families to nature with engaging educational opportunities and festivals that increase their awareness of the natural world and their place in it. This new parking lot will allow us to do that with a safe place for guests to park and explore both amenities.”

Hill said that while they are sad to see the loss of trees, they have worked extensively with the contractors, the city and the county to take extreme measures in the design to preserve as many legacy trees as possible. They are also making a concerted effort to maintain the woodland nature trails used for field investigations, family nature hikes and educational programs.

With two new bridges installed in Arlington this week, another gap in series of bike trails between Fort Worth and Dallas has been closed.

“Providing families, children and park patrons a chance to safely discover nature and to fall in love with it remains our ultimate goal and mission,” she said. “The new lighted parking lot is definitely a safety enhancement toward that goal.”

The River Legacy Living Science Center opened to the public in 1996. It features interactive exhibits, aquariums and terrariums with native animals, environmental education programs, a gift shop and nature trails.

River Legacy Parks, which covers 1,300 acres that follows the curves of the Trinity River, is considered the crown jewel of Arlington’s park system. It include miles of hike and bike trails, picnic areas, pavilions, playgrounds, river overlooks as well as a canoe launch.

River Legacy Foundation is celebrating more than 30 years of environmental excellence and stewardship, and it was named the Greater Arlington Chamber Nonprofit of the Year in 2018.

The City of Arlington received complaints from some residents saying the 2,300-acre Virdian development led to more flooding than normal in one section of neighboring River Legacy Park.

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