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      The Nature Report: Valley Nature Center

      In the heart of Weslaco, you'll find a tranquil woodland where young and old come to enjoy nature.

      The Valley Nature Center has grown into a very popular attraction and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this fall.

      It's become a special place for childen and adults with exciting exhibits which lead into a mile of new trails winding through the six acre woodland.

      Children can climb on a realistic creation of a giant turtle shell, handle a live toad, get up close and personal with a beautiful indigo snake or walk the inviting trails.

      Little Mark Escamilla says, "The Nature Center is cool because they let you carry snakes and different kinds of things. They let us do art crafts."

      Or maybe see a chachalaca as Heather Palmer explains.

      "They are really big. They have big feathers. They make very big sounds." Hilda Perez likes to bring her children so they can enjoy nature in a secure setting.

      "It's a different world just coming in here. You don't see all the trees outside or even at your house. You get to see the lizards and the butterflies and the birds. I love to bring them here on a regular basis."

      Executive Director Martin Hagne says they estimate about 6,000 school kids come here every year, and another 9 to 10,000 kids are reached in schools through raptor shows, Last Chance Forever.

      He says, "we reach somewhere in the neighborhood of 65,000 people every year." The anniversary celebration is set for November 7, and if you are interested in helping sponsor the event or attending then contact the Valley Nature Center in Weslaco at 969-2475 for more information.