When the Willow Waterhole Conservation Reserve (also known as Willow Waterhole Park) became a significant component of Project Brays in 2000, the main plan for its 290 acres was to create infrastructure that allowed for flood damage reduction. In the 17 years since, it’s become so much more than that—it’s truly a haven for the Brays Oaks community and the city of Houston, and these reasons prove it.

Nature In The City

In the bustle of the city, it’s not always easy to get away from traffic, noise pollution, and concrete. Heading to the conservation reserve means finding peace and quiet in a habitat where nature flourishes in the absence of homes and businesses. Inside the park, plants, trees and ponds create homes for various wildlife, including a growing number of rare bird species.

Scenic Trails For Outside Exercise

Why hop on a treadmill to walk or run when you can get scenic overviews instead? The two-mile Westbury Lake south trail inside the park makes a great loop for long-distance runners training for their next marathon, or for leisurely walkers hoping to get some exercise in while they take in native Houston plants and birds.

Environmental Stewardship And Volunteering

Volunteering time and energy to the environment feels good, and there are ample opportunities at Willow Waterhole for volunteers of all ages. There’s no better way to meet like-minded members of the community, and to teach kids about the natural world around us. From planting trees to fishing for invasive species, there are many ways to get out and help on a regular basis.

Festivals To Celebrate Music And Art

If the natural environment alone doesn’t float your boat, music lovers can appreciate the free annual Willow Waterhole MusicFest. Each spring, Houstonians converge on the park for two days of live music from genres ranging from Zydeco to R&B and everything in between. The latest festival also included an Artist Village with over 40 participating artists, in addition to entertainers like aerialists, gymnasts and dancing stilt-walkers.

Urban Fishery

The ponds inside Willow Waterhole aren’t just for show. Last year, Texas Parks and Wildlife began stocking ponds with bluegill, largemouth bass, and catfish as part of an initiative to create an urban fishery. In partnership with Texas Fly Fishers, the goal is to create a habitat to conserve native species and provide education to the public. Plus, there’s a new spot inside the city to fish.