What a night at the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center! This was my first time attending their Wings over the Wetland Harvest Hootenanny and I could not have had a better time. Located about twenty-four miles southeast of downtown Dallas, the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center is breathtaking beautiful.
The John Bunker Sands Wetland Center was created in partnership with the Caroline Rose Hunt Family, The Rosewood Corporation and the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD). Ninety million gallons over water is cleaned here every day! Dedicated to water conservation and wildlife management, the center provides thousands of students with water conservation education programs and nature adventures and serves as a habitat for birds, reptiles, fish, and mammals.
For ten years now, JBS Wetlands Center has hosted an annual Wings over the Wetlands fundraising event featuring a bird show by Window to the Wild. This year’s theme was Harvest Hootenanny (an adorable name considering there were live owls in attendance!) and I really could not have enjoyed myself more.
The event began at 5 pm, when we were greeted by an eagle on stage. You heard me! An actual bald eagle was just a few feet away from me. Too cool! Window to the Wild brought out all sorts of rescued birds and owls for guests to see and learn about while we sipped on wine and cocktails.
There were lawn games like corn hole and horseshoe courts set out in front of the bird pavilion (y’all know how much I love lawn games!) as well as archery. We got a quick archery lesson and I’m proud to say that I *almost* shot a bullseye. (Though my archery skills are admittedly rusty; I was quite the shot in college!)
There was an open bar set up at several convenient locations. The signature cocktail was an old fashioned, which of course I ordered because I adore bourbon. There was also an adorable red truck photo op complete with pumpkins and hay bales to get guests in the Harvest Hootenanny spirit.
It was such a friendly set up to have so many activities available to guests upon arrival. Enjoying a cocktail outside while playing lawn games is basically what I want to do every weekend so I was in hog heaven. Before dinner, my friends Ron, Mark, Irene, and I took a sunset stroll on the boardwalk. This is not to be missed if you attend this year. Wow. The sunset looked so serene reflected in the wetlands. The cattails swayed gently in the wind as we made our way through the half-mile walk and I swore I could hear Sebastian’s voice singing, “Percussion, strings winds, words.”
Just as the sun was setting, dinner was served: a fabulous dinner buffet by famous Dallas BBQ spot, Pecan Lodge. There was brisket, pork sausage, smoked chicken, delicious BBQ sauce, mac ‘n’ cheese with crumbled bacon, cornbead salad, rolls, and peach cobbler.
I’m embarrassed to admit this having lived in DFW for my entire 32 years, but this was my first time eating Pecan Lodge! I will be dreaming about that brisket for weeks. It just melts in your mouth! And the mac ‘n’ cheese? To die for.
As the sun set on the Wetlands, the event lighting came to life and local bluegrass band Acoustic Sound Hounds took the stage. My friends were first in line for the Two Old Cranks ice cream truck as soon as it opened its doors so that we could try every flavor. (I can always count on Irene to keep me well fed!) Chocolate was of course my favorite – no surprise there!
I was surprised at how few mosquitos I saw all night. I’d never been to the Wetlands before and came prepared with bug spray but I only saw a single mosquito all night. The silos and pavilion where the bird show, I’m told, is brand new this year. The grounds are just gorgeous and I’m delighted to tell you that the JBS Wetland Center is now available as a wedding and event venue! Can you imagine how stunning wedding photos would look out on the boardwalk? It’s such an exotic backdrop; I’ve never seen another place like it in north Texas. Plus, they’re doing eco-friendly weddings/events.
Huge thank you to JBS Wetland Center for hosting me and my friends. We had the most wonderful time! Let’s do it again next year, shall we? You can learn more about the Wetland Center here and donate to their cause here.
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