Armand Bayou Nature Center is an urban preserve located in Pasadena and southeast Houston between the Johnson Space Center and the Bayport Industrial District. The 2,500-acre (10 km2) nature center is the largest urban wilderness preserve in the United States.
Founded in 1974, the center consists of a boardwalk through forest and marshes, live animal displays, bison and prairie platforms and butterfly gardens. The center also includes the "Martyn", "Karankawa", "Marsh", "Lady Bird" (named after Lady Bird Johnson) and "Prairie" nature trails that allow visitors to see forest, prairie, marsh and natural bayou habitats once common in the Houston and Galveston region.
The nature center is home to more than 370 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Over 220 species of birds reside or rely on the center as a safe resting-place on their migratory journeys. Armand Bayou Nature Center lies along the Central Flyway, the largest migratory bird route in North America. The center is part of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail and one the coastal preserves designated under the Texas Coastal Preserve Program of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The center was named in honor of Armand Yramategui, a Houston environmental visionary who died in 1970. Yramategui foresaw the increasing urban growth around Armand Bayou and pursued to have the land remain a wilderness. Following Yramategui's death, fellow environmentalist and friend Hana Ginzbarg became the bayou's advocate for the Bayou Preservation Association. Her activism and work through the Bayou Preservation Association, Outdoor Nature Club, and other organizations was instrumental in creating the Nature Center.